When you hear the name “Hawaii,” what do you think of? For a lot of people, the answer is “vacation.” This Polynesian archipelago is renowned for its sandy beaches, palm trees, balmy climate, and beautiful volcanic scenery. As the 8th smallest state in the US, it is the 11th-least populous, but it also is the 13th-most densely populated state with more than a million residents calling it home.
If you move to Hawaii to work as a dental hygienist, you may feel like you have embarked on a permanent vacation. Hawaiian dental hygienists work hard, but they play hard too, hiking and sightseeing in amazing locations such as Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Diamond Head, Haleakala National Park, and Na Pali Coast State Park.
If you don’t feel like putting on your hiking boots, there is plenty to see and do in Hawaii’s urban areas as well. The capital of the state is also its largest city; in Honolulu, you can shop at the famous four-level Ala Moana Center shopping mall, or you can visit the famous USS Arizona Memorial. You can also explore the exquisite 19th century ?Iolani Palace, which served as a home to the last monarchs of Hawaii.
But can you make a good living working as a Hawaii dental hygienist? Let’s check out the official data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to answer that question!
Career Outlook and Salary
First of all, contextually it is helpful to look at the nationwide data for employment and salary for dental hygienists. Dental hygienists across the country are making a mean annual wage of $73,440. The field is swiftly growing at a rate of 19%. That far outpaces the rate of growth for all occupations averaged together. So more and more jobs are becoming available in this field.
So what can you expect living and working in Hawaii? According to BLS data from May 2016, there are around 910 dental hygienists working in the state. On average, they are making $74,590 per year. That is just a little bit higher than the national average.
Unfortunately, Hawaii does have a higher-than-average cost of living, and that added cost probably is not adequately compensated for by the slightly higher salary. But this should not be overly surprising, considering how coveted a job in Hawaii can be. Hawaii is a very special, unusual place, and there is a price to pay for living in a vacation wonderland. But Hawaii residents can agree that this added cost is more than worth it to enjoy incredible weather all year and some of the most spectacular and distinctive scenery in the US!
To become a dental hygienist in Hawaii, you will have to meet the following license requirements:
- Complete the application, sign it, and submit it.
- You must have a valid SSN.
- Pay the appropriate fee. This varies depending on the year in which you expect to be licensed. If it is an odd-numbered year, the fee is only $164, but if it is an even-numbered year, the fee is $246.
- You will have to pay renewal fees in the future as well. Thankfully these are due on odd-numbered years.
- Graduate from a dental hygiene program which has been accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. Provide a transcript, diploma or certificate of graduation.
- Get certification in local and block anesthesia administration and provide proof. Fill out the additional required application and fee.
- Take and pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, and have your score card sent directly to the Board. Alternately, you can send your score card yourself, but it must be an original, not a copy.
- Take and pass any of the following regional exams: The Western Regional Examining Board (WREB), the Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. (CRDTS), the Southern Regional Testing Agency, Inc. (SRTA),or the North East Regional Board of Dental Examiners (NERB), also referred to as the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA). Provide your original score report yourself or have it sent to the Board directly by the administering testing agency.
- If you have been licensed in another territory or state, you must submit an order for a Self-Query Report from the National Practitioner Data Bank. Submit the report to the Board.
- Provide verification of any previous licenses you have held.
- After you are licensed, be sure to keep up with your continuing education requirements.
Ready to move to balmy, beautiful Hawaii to begin your career as a dental hygienist? Below, you can view a list of accredited dental hygiene programs in Hawaii.
U H Maui College
Allied Health Department, Denal Hygiene
310 Kaahumanu Avenue
Kahului, HI 96732-0000
University of Hawaii at Manoa
School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene
Department of Dental Hygiene
2445 Campus Road, Hemenway Hall – Room 200 B
Honolulu, HI 96822-0000