If your dream is to live and work in the Deep South, it is hard to beat Louisiana. The Bayou State showcases incredible ethnic diversity, cultural variety, and natural beauty. The capital is Baton Rouge, while the largest city is New Orleans. The weather is hot and humid (which may be a plus or a minus, depending on what you like), and the southern hospitality is always inviting.
One of the most exciting aspects of Louisiana is the melding of cultures which has typified the state since colonial times. Here, African, Creole, Acadian, and Isleño cultures have merged together into a rich tapestry, resulting in arts, music, cuisine, and festivals which are wholly unique.
In terms of things to do, in New Orleans, you can enjoy a visit to the French Quarter or the New Orleans City Park. Other popular activities in the surrounding areas include plantation tours, wildlife tours in the bayou, and visits to parks like Lake Martin or the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve.
Still, before you pack your bags and move to Louisiana, it is smart to investigate your career options. If you are thinking of working as a dental hygienist in the state, how much money will you make, and what kinds of opportunities will you have?
Career Outlook and Salary
We can start by taking a look at the nationwide data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on dental hygienist salaries and job openings. The mean annual wage earned by dental hygienists working across the country is $73,440, and the rate of growth for the profession is 19%.
Louisiana employs around 2,000 dental hygienists. Here, the annual mean wage is a bit lower, around $55,110. Louisiana’s cost of living does appear to be slightly lower than the national average, so this may account for the lower salary. So living and working in Louisiana as a dental hygienist is an affordable option.
If it is your dream to become a dental hygienist in Louisiana, you will need to be prepared to meet the following set of licensing requirements:
- Graduate from a program in dental hygiene accredited by the Commission in Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (ADA). You will need to have an official transcript sent directly to the board.
- Complete the clinical licensing examination by the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry, and have done so within the past 3 years.
- Complete the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. The ADA must send an original score card to the board office; your candidate’s copy is not sufficient.
- Obtain a CPR certificate.
- Prove your identity as a United States citizen or permanent resident or demonstrate your eligibility under NAFTA.
- Pass the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry Jurisprudence Examination.
- Pass the fingerprint background check.
- Complete and submit your application along with the $280 fee. Note that there is also a biennial license renewal fee of $230.
Ready to apply for school and study to become a dental hygienist? Below, you will find a list of accredited dental hygiene programs in the state of Louisiana.
Louisiana State University
Dept. of Comprehensive Dentistry & Biomaterials
Dental Hygiene Program
1100 Florida Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70119-0000
Southern University at Shreveport
Allied Health/Health Sciences Division
Dental Hygiene Program
3050 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Shreveport, LA 71107-0000
University of Louisiana at Monroe
College of Health and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Department of Dental Hygiene
700 University Ave.
Monroe, LA 71209-0420