Dental Hygienists Among the Fastest Growing Occupations in the U.S.

Occupational Outlook: Dental Hygienists Among the Fastest Growing Occupations in the U.S.According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook for 2008-2018, employment among dental assistants is expected to grow by 36 percent during the 10-year period, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the US economy, half are related to healthcare.

Healthcare is experiencing rapid growth, due in large part to the aging of the baby-boom generation, which will require more medical care. As healthcare costs continue to rise, work is increasingly being delegated to lower paid workers in order to cut costs.

For example, tasks that were previously performed by dentists are now beginning to be performed by dental hygienists and dental assistants.

As dentists‘ workloads continue to increase from treating the aging boomer population, it is expected that the demand to hire more hygienists to perform preventive dental care will grow as dentists will want to spend more time working on more complex dental procedures.

There is also the growing situation of not enough dentists to provide adequate care in rural areas where hygienists are needed to fill in the gap. According to the Center for Rural Affairs, in 2007, approximately 15 percent of rural residents were 65 years of age or older, 25 percent greater than in the nation as a whole.

The U.S. population of those 65 or older is predicted to double by 2030, reaching 20 percent of the U.S. total population, and the fastest group age living in rural America are residents 85 and older.

The average median wage for dental hygienists is $32.81 hourly, $68,250 annually with the best employment opportunities following the population size of states. New York, Texas, California, Michigan and Florida employ the most dental hygienists.

See: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition — Dental Hygienists

Dentists and Dental Specialists Make Lots of Money

Editorial
by Jim Du Molin

Forbes Says You’re Rich… Are You?

Forbes magazine recently published their annual list of the 25 top-paying jobs in the US – and apparently, it’s good to be a doctor! Only two non-medical professions (CEOs and airline pilots) made it into the top 15.

Orthodontists made more money, on average, than any other dental specialty. The average orthodontist pulled in $177K last year. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons were next on the list, with a typical oral surgeon netting $165K. Then we have the average prosthodontist, taking home $159K. General dentists might not make quite as much, but with an average income of $141K, they’re not doing so bad themselves.

You won’t be surprised to learn that where a dentist lives and works has a lot to do with how much money he or she takes home. Florida is a profitable place to work, as is the DC metro area; but at the same time, so are Wisconsin and Maine.

Other medical professionals are doing well, too. Anaethesiologists nabbed the #1 spot this year (but who really wants to deal with those insurance rates, anyway?) General and family practitioners beat out dentists slightly with an average salary of $150K.

Want to know more? Check out Forbes’ slide show of the best-paying jobs, or read the original article.

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