Becoming a Dental Hygienist in New Mexico
Dental hygienists are an integral part of the dental healthcare team, who are in high demand across New Mexico. Often working with dentists, these trained professionals perform duties such as removing plaque buildup from teeth, applying fillings and sealants and advising patients on oral healthcare. Dental hygienists work in a variety of settings, from traditional offices to non-profit dental clinics for low-income and high-need populations.
Requirements for Dental Hygienist in New Mexico
Becoming a dental hygienist in New Mexico requires education through a dental hygiene program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), the passing of multiple competency exams and the application for a license through the New Mexico Board of Dental Healthcare and Dental Hygienist Committee.
Dental Hygienist Schools in New Mexico
New Mexico offers options for dental hygiene associate degree programs, bachelor’s degrees and accelerated dental hygiene training programs. Some CODA-accredited school options in this state include:
- University of New Mexico (UNM). In this university’s dental hygiene department, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (B.S.D.H.). To apply for this program, students must first complete one and a half years of pre-professional courses or previously hold an associate degree in dental hygiene. UNM also offers a master’s degree in dental hygiene for those who wish to pursue careers like dental hygiene education or administration.
- Pima Medical Institute. With a location in Albuquerque, this medical career school offers a fast track dental hygiene program, allowing students to earn an associate’s degree in dental hygiene within two years. No prerequisites are required to enroll in this dental hygiene program.
Dental Hygienist Licensure in New Mexico
All dental hygienists must become licensed by the New Mexico Board of Dental Healthcare and Dental Hygienist Committee. In order to receive their dental hygiene license in New Mexico, applicants must:
- Graduate from a CODA accredited training program
- Successfully pass the Dental Hygiene National Board Exam
- Pass a regional clinical dental hygiene exam approved by the state Board
- Pass a criminal background check
- Successfully complete a state jurisprudence exam, which demonstrates understanding of New Mexico dental hygiene law
- Pay associated fees for licensure and renewal
Dental Hygienist Salary in New Mexico
Dental hygienists in New Mexico earned a strong mean income of $39.20 per hour or $81,540 per year in 2020. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 1,060 dental hygienists were employed in the state in 2018. That employment rate is projected to increase 8 percent by the year 2028, which suggests that New Mexico dental hygienists have a favorable career outlook.
|Area||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Las Cruces, NM||190||$39.73||$82,630|
|Santa Fe, NM||200||$38.79||$80,680|
Working as a Dental Hygienist in New Mexico
While the city of Albuquerque presents a wide range of training options for dental hygienists, it also employs the most dental hygienists in the state. Therefore, this might be a good location to pursue a new career in dental hygiene. The highest-paid dental hygienists, however, were located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2020. They made an average income of $46.09 per hour compared to their counterparts in Albuquerque, who earned an average of $39.51 per hour. Those who wish to become dental hygienists in New Mexico can find more information specific to the state by consulting the website of the New Mexico Dental Hygienists’ Association (NMDHA).
How Much Does a Dental Hygienist Make in New Mexico?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists an average annual salary of $78,410 for dental hygienists in New Mexico, while Indeed.com reports an average hourly wage of $37.28.