Located in the South Central region, Oklahoma is known as the “Sooner State,” and is a major producer of oil, natural gas and food. Interestingly, even in 2007 during the recession, it was among the fastest-growing states in the US measured economically. Most of this economic activity is focused in Oklahoma and Tulsa, where around two thirds of the population is likewise centered.
Geographically, Oklahoma is comprised of prairie, forests, and even some smaller mountain ranges. Most of the state falls within the Great Plains, U.S. Interior Highlands, and Cross Timbers.
What can you see and do in Oklahoma? Popular attractions include the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and Philbrook Museum of Art. There are also a number of state parks, including the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Beavers Bend Resort Park, Robbers Cave State Park and the Natural Falls State Park.
So there are plenty of reasons to consider making Oklahoma your home as a dental hygienist. But will the decision pay off? Let’s take a look at the salary information.
Career Outlook and Salary
Before we begin to discuss the average salary of dental hygienists in Oklahoma, it is helpful to look at the national salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dental hygienists make an average of $73,440 across the 50 states. The rate of growth for this field is 19%, which is significantly faster than the average for all other professions.
So how much can you expect to earn if you are going to live and work in Oklahoma? Right now, there are around 2,020 dental hygienists working in the state, according to the BLS. Those dental hygienists on average are pulling in an annual wage of $70,390.
This is significantly more money than you would make in some of the surrounding states, like Arkansas, where you would make only $65,450, or Kansas, where you would make only $65,730. The difference however may reflect a slightly higher cost of living in Oklahoma. In any case, the mean annual salary is more or less comparable throughout the area, so you can make good money working as a dental hygienist in Oklahoma.
How can you earn your license to become a dental hygienist in Oklahoma? Following are the requirements:
- Pay your non-refundable fee when you submit your application. The fee for a dental hygiene application is $100.
- Pass the National Board Exam and provide access to your scores through the ADA’s website.
- Take and pass the WREB exam. If you have done so within the last five years, the board can print the scores; otherwise, you can contact WREB and ask them to send the scores.
- Complete an accredited program in dental hygiene and have your school send over your official transcripts in a sealed envelope.
- Provide a copy of your diploma.
- Perform a self-query at the National Practitioner Databank and provide the results in the original sealed envelope.
- If you have been licensed in another state, provide verification of such.
- Provide three letters of recommendation.
- Provide proof of citizenship or qualified alien documentation. If your name has changed, provide relevant documentation.
- If the board requests an interview, you must comply.
- Take and pass the Jurisprudence Exam.
If you are ready to forge a path to a bright future as a dental hygienist in Oklahoma, then you will need to enrol in an accredited program. Below, you can view a list of accredited Oklahoma dental hygiene programs.
Rose State College
Health Sciences Division
Dental Hygiene Program
6420 Southeast 15th Street
Midwest City, OK 73110-2704
Tulsa Community College
Allied Health SVCS
Dental Hygiene Program
909 S. Boston Avenue MP458
Tulsa, OK 74119-2094
University of Oklahoma Health Science Center
College of Dentistry
Dental Hygiene Department
1201 N. Stonewall
Oklahoma City, OK 73117-0000