Alaska is the largest state in the US, but it is also the third least populous, making it a wonderful destination for those who enjoy seclusion. The state is famous for its vast wilderness, characterized by majestic peaks, many of which are active volcanoes. The climate is of course quite harsh and unforgiving, but many of Alaska’s residents feel it is well worth it to be surrounded by the grandeur of nature.
Why else should you consider moving to Alaska to work as a dental hygienist? If you are into outdoor activities, you will find Alaska is great not just for hiking but also for fishing and hunting. You will also be able to see remarkable wildlife in Alaska—everything from salmon leaping upstream to whales spouting offshore.
And guess what? There is no state income tax! Alaskans also receive annual checks ranging up to $1,000 as part of the Alaska Permanent Fund for the state’s oil industry. That payment goes out per-person, so the more family members you have, the more money you get.
Career Outlook and Salary
If you are thinking about dental hygiene as a career, here is what you can expect in general. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the mean annual income for dental hygienists is $73,440, and the field is growing at a rate of 19%. That is faster than average, so demand is good and the pay is also excellent regardless of where you work.
So what can you expect specifically if you move to Alaska to do this job? There are currently only around 480 dental hygienists working in Alaska. Considering the low population density, however, this is not unexpected. The really awesome news is that the mean annual wage is $102,890! That means you will be making significantly more than dental hygienists in most other states—on the order of almost 50% more than the mean salary for the occupation.
So working in Alaska as a dental hygienist really is an awesome opportunity. You will be making a great income, and you may also receive benefits in addition to your salary. Further, you will not have to pay state taxes (though the cost of living may be high), and you will receive your payments from the Alaska Permanent Fund. So even with the high cost of rent, food and utilities in Alaska, you should do quite well for yourself.
How can you become a dental hygienist in Alaska? Here are the requirements:
- You must take and pass the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination.
- Provide a copy of a certificate of examination which meets the requirements of AS 08.32.014(a)(1)(B) & (C).
- Document at least 2,500 hours of clinical practice over a period of five years. You will need three affidavits from licensed dentists or dental hygienists attesting to this.
- If you have been employed by a federal agency, you must verify your status there.
- You will also need proof of current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- Pay the applicable fees for applying, review and licensing.
Where can you study to become a dental hygienist in Alaska? Check out the list below to find Alaska colleges offering accredited programs in dental hygiene.
University of Alaska Anchorage
College of Health
Dental Hygiene Program
AHS Building #148, 3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508-8371