Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Hawaii

Those in Hawaii who are looking for career ideas may want to explore the field of dental hygiene. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicting a 20 percent increase in dental hygiene employment across the country by 2026, now is a good time to begin a career in the field.

Dental hygienists perform teeth cleaning procedures, examine general oral health and advise patients on oral hygiene, among other services. Dental hygienists must be good with their hands, since they work with a variety of tools, ranging from electric cleaning tools to x-ray machines and lasers.

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Requirements

Hawaii has strict regulations on the practice of dental hygiene, so anyone who wishes to become a dental hygienist must complete a training program accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The licensure process includes education, pre-certification in certain skills and passing multiple exams. Once dental hygienists in Hawaii are licensed, they must take continued education (CE) courses.

Training and Educational Programs in Hawaii

A few of Hawaii’s ADA – CODA-accredited dental hygiene training schools include:

  • University of Hawaii – Manoa. Being the only school in Hawaii to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene, University of Hawaii – Manoa goes above and beyond preparing students for national, regional and state exams. Prerequisites for this dental hygiene program include minimum SAT or ACT test scores, a 3.0 cumulative GPA, being in the top 40 percent of one’s graduating class and an interview process.
  • University of Hawaii – Maui College. Students at this school can obtain a two-year Associate of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene. Applicants to University of Hawaii – Maui College must have completed prerequisite classes including Psychology, Sociology and Humanities courses in order to be considered for the school. Students in this dental hygiene program are offered real-world experience as their services are offered to the public while they fine-tune their skills and complete their training.

Licensure

Hawaii dental hygiene licensure is regulated by Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), which is based in Honolulu. Licensure to practice dental hygiene in Hawaii requires that the applicant be at least 18 years of age and have graduated from a training program accredited by CODA. The applicant must also have certification in intra-oral block anesthesia and infiltration local anesthesia, as earned from an accredited school. Then, the future dental hygienist must complete the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as one of four regional dental hygiene exams. Once a Hawaii dental hygiene license is granted by the DCCA, it must be renewed with continued education every two years.

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Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

Hawaiian dental hygienists are paid higher than their peers across the country. In 2017, the BLS reported that dental hygienists in Hawaii had a mean income of $36.99 per hour or $76,930 annually—higher than the national median income of $35.61 per hour or $74,070 annually that year. The employment outlook for Hawaiian dental hygienists looks good in the future, with a predicted increase of 16.7 percent in dental hygienist employment by 2026.

AreaTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI90$37.12$77,200
Urban Honolulu, HI690$36.24$75,380

Working as a Dental Hygienist in Hawaii

According to BLS statistics, urban Honolulu employs the most dental hygienists in the state of Hawaii, but they are paid higher in the Hawaii/Kauai Nonmetropolitan and Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina areas. With excellent pay and optimistic employment growth, dental hygiene is a smart career path to take no matter where you live in the state. Hawaii’s strict licensure requirements make it challenging to become a dental hygienist, but the career’s benefits are worth it.

College Listings

Urban Honolulu, HI

University of Hawaii at Manoa

2500 Campus Road, Hawaii Hall, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822-2217
(808) 956-8975
http://www.nursing.hawaii.edu/dentalhygiene

The University of Hawaii at Manoa at Honolulu offers a Bachelor program in Dental Hygiene. This program of study is accredited by the ADA. This is a full, 4-year private college with 20,426 students, of which 72% are undergraduates. Typical in-state tuition fees are approximately $9,904 per year. The fees for students from outside the state of Hawaii are $27,472.

Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI

University of Hawaii Maui College

310 Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului, Hawaii 96732-1643
(808) 984-3500
http://maui.hawaii.edu/dental/dental-hygiene/

The University of Hawaii Maui College at Kahului offers a Dental Assistant Associate’s program. This program of study is accredited by the ADA. The college has around 4,382 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. In-state tuition is approximately $2,670 per year. The fees for students from outside Hawaii are $7,422.

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