Careers in the Licensed Professions

Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienist Print ProfilePDF

Dental hygienists provide treatments to prevent cavities and gum diseases. They perform these and other services as supervised or delegated by a licensed dentist. Examples of services:  

  • remove tartar and plaque from teeth
  • apply topical medications and other treatments
  • take diagnostic dental X-ray films
  • polish teeth and apply cavity-preventing agents
  • counsel patients about oral health and hygiene
  • take medical histories and maintain dental records


High school diploma, or the equivalent, AND completion of a Department-registered dental hygiene licensure program, or a dental hygiene program accredited by the American Dental Association.


Written: National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, and

Clinical: The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments clinical dental hygiene examination.

Visit the Office of the Professions for a listing of all options and requirements.




Salary and Projected Growth

  • Median salary: $74,820 in the U.S., $78,550 in NY
  • Salary range: $59,170-$86,830
  • Projected growth: much faster than average

Where Could I Work?

  • Private and group practice
  • Military
  • College and universities
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and other health centers
  • Industry

Your Interests and Abilities

  • Preparation in the sciences
  • Analysis and reasoning
  • Hands-on experiences

Professional Skills

  • Concern for others
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Manual and technical dexterity

What Interests You?

Match your interests and personality to career options! Explore a free career tool at

Tip: try searching for mentoring programs—talk to a dental hygienist about what they do and how they got started!

Office of the Professions logo

Last Updated: January 13, 2020