Dental Hygienists

The occupation code you requested, 29-2021.00 (Dental Hygienists), is no longer in use. In the future, please use 29-1292.00 (Dental Hygienists) instead.

Administer oral hygiene care to patients. Assess patient oral hygiene problems or needs and maintain health records. Advise patients on oral health maintenance and disease prevention. May provide advanced care such as providing fluoride treatment or administering topical anesthesia.

Sample of reported job titles: Dental Hygienist, Hygienist, Licensed Dental Hygienist, Pediatric Dental Hygienist, Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH)

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

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Technology Skills

Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 100% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 100% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 97% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections — 97% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 97% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity — 84% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 59% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 68% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 55% responded “Very important results.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 64% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 53% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Exposed to Radiation — 72% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 44% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 64% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 37% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 54% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 68% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Time Pressure — 59% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 37% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Consequence of Error — 39% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 49% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 43% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Level of Competition — 57% responded “Moderately competitive.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education
Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, desktop publishers, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters and simultaneous captioners, and medical assistants.
SVP Range
1-2 years of preparation (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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Knowledge

  • Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 75%
     
    responded: Associate’s degree required
  • 13%
     
    responded: Professional degree requiredmore info
  • 9%
     
    responded: Post-baccalaureate certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
  • Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

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Interests

Interest code: SRC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Work Styles

  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$37.41 hourly, $77,810 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
214,000 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Faster than average (8% to 10%)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
16,300
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

Related Occupations

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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