A Hygienist/Staffing Specialist in Cleveland/Akron, Ohio posed this question on LinkedIn to the American Dental Education Association: “…why are schools graduating so many Dental Hygienists in a field that is very saturated, with little chance of job opportunities for these new Dental Hygiene grads? “

We also interested in hearing the answer. Here in south Florida there is a plethora of well trained, dedicated Hygienists who are working part-time for Staffing Agencies, as clinical assistants, and in other industries because there are not enough opportunities in dental offices. My colleagues in Philadelphia and southern California tell me the situation is similar there.

Do you find this to be the case in YOUR area?

From The Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Job prospects are expected to be favorable in most areas, but will vary by geographical location. Because graduates are permitted to practice only in the State in which they are licensed, hygienists wishing to practice in areas that have an abundance of dental hygiene programs may experience strong competition for jobs.

Projection data from the National Employment Matrix Occupation:
Dental hygienists

174,100 2008
237,000 2018
36% increase


  1. This is a great topic, and very controversial as well. In my experience here in southern California, there may be many hygiene educational programs, but the supply of hygienists is mitigated by many factors. Many hygienists wish to work a part-time schedule and the majority are female who may take time to raise a family during their career. In addition, during this current economic downturn many dentists have released hygienists back into the workforce. In my opinion, there is not an oversupply of hygienists; it is more of an under-utilization issue. Take a close look at your practice. Your practice should have hygiene capacity to see all you patients at lease twice per year, and more often as needed. Also, ask yourself if it is productive for you, as the dentist, to be performing the procedures that a hygienist is capable of performing. This analysis provides the real answers.

    • No, I’m sorry but I don’t agree. It used to be you could only become a dental hygienist by attending either a 2 year community college, or a 4 year university. I am in Southern California and I have seen quite a few of the “career colleges” open up new dental hygiene programs. They graduate 75 students per class that can range from 18 months to 3 years, depending on the degree. Yes, the economy has played a major role in dentists scaling (no pun intended) back the number of hygienists employed, but either way, the profession is very saturated and it is very hard to find a job. I know first hand, I was downsized and cannot find another job for even 1 day!

      There needs to be a fix to this mess, because I don’t see the situation improving.
      After practicing 20 years as an RDH, I may have to find another profession to find employment.

  2. On Long Island we have one hygiene school so we do not have too many hygienists.We are paying recent grads 40 dollars per hour. My hygiene schedule us shrinking so can I raise my charge of 135 dollars?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s