Dental Hygienist Job Outlook in 2023
Dental hygienists play an important role in maintaining the oral health of patients and preventing oral diseases. With the increasing focus on preventative care and the aging population, demand for dental hygienists is expected to remain strong in the coming years. In this article, we will explore the job outlook for dental hygienists in 2023 and beyond.
Job Growth Projections
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 9% from 2021 to 2031, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth can be attributed to several factors, including an increasing emphasis on preventative care, the growing aging population, and an increasing demand for dental services. As people live longer and place a greater emphasis on oral health, they will require more frequent dental check-ups and cleanings, which will drive demand for dental hygienists.
Additionally, advances in dental technology and the use of more sophisticated equipment are also expected to increase the demand for dental hygienists. For example, digital x-rays, which are faster and produce less radiation than traditional x-rays, are becoming more common in dental practices. Dental hygienists who are trained in using these new technologies will be in high demand.
The job outlook for dental hygienists can vary depending on the region. Some states, such as California, Texas, and Florida, are projected to have a higher demand for dental hygienists than others. This is due to a variety of factors, including population growth, economic conditions, and the availability of dental care in a given region.
However, it is important to note that even in regions with lower demand, there will still be a need for dental hygienists. Many rural areas, for example, may have a shortage of dental professionals, creating opportunities for dental hygienists to work in underserved communities.
Education and Certification Requirements
To become a dental hygienist, you must complete a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and pass a national board exam. Most dental hygiene programs take two to three years to complete and include both classroom instruction and clinical experience. In addition to education and certification, dental hygienists must also be licensed to practice in their state.
Many dental hygienists also choose to pursue advanced degrees or specialty certifications in areas such as public health, geriatrics, or periodontics. These advanced degrees and certifications can increase job opportunities and earning potential for dental hygienists.
Salary and Benefits
The median annual salary for dental hygienists was $77,810 in May 2021, according to the BLS. However, this can vary depending on several factors, including location, experience, and education. Dental hygienists working in metropolitan areas typically earn more than those working in rural areas. Additionally, those with advanced degrees or certifications may earn higher salaries than those with only a basic degree or certification.
Dental hygienists typically enjoy a variety of benefits, including flexible scheduling, paid time off, and medical insurance. They also often receive paid continuing education opportunities, which can help them stay up-to-date on the latest developments in their field and enhance their skills.
In conclusion, the field of dental hygiene is expected to remain strong in 2023 and beyond. With the increasing demand for preventative care, the growing aging population, and advances in dental technology, there will be a continued need for dental hygienists. If you're considering a career in dental hygiene, now is a great time to explore your options and start on the path to a fulfilling and lucrative career.