Most people have a closer relationship with the dental hygienist than the dentist, since this is the professional who spends the most time with patients. Hygienists go far beyond simple teeth cleaning, including assisting dentists with some surgical procedures, taking x-rays and educating patients on proper dental care. According to U.S. News and World Report, dental hygienists can expect to make an annual average salary of $68,200 and enjoy a projected job growth in their industry of around 38 percent.
Why Community College for Health Care?
Many interested in the field of health care make the mistake of thinking a four-year degree is necessary to land a well-paying job in the industry. However, a number of graduates who come into their jobs with two-year associate degrees can make excellent salaries with minimal training time. Some of the top jobs in health care requiring an associate degree can earn an average salary of $50,000 or more, and opportunities for advancement and salary increases are always possible. When you offset this salary change with education costs that are a fraction of what they would be at a four-year school, you can see why many are choosing the community college route to launch their health care careers.
A Downward Trend
Recent data suggests that the number of women pursuing fields of study in STEM subjects appears to be waning rather than gaining speed. According to a report at the Community College Times, women earned 34 percent of two-year STEM degrees in 1997. By 2007, that number had dropped to just 28 percent. In addition, even though women make up at least half of the total workforce today, only one in four STEM jobs are currently held by a woman.