The in-Demand Job Paying More Than $70,000 Per Year

There's one job in high demand expected to have more than 100,000 job openings and pay more than $70,000 a year that doesn't require a four-year college degree.

Feb 23, 2014 at 12:45PM

Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Occupational Outlook Handbook, which, at last count, provided guidance on more than 580 different job types in the U.S., and one job stood out above the rest when it came to providing the best return on investment.

In this occupation, the average worker made more than $70,000, it's expected to add 33% more jobs over the next 10 years, which is three times more than the estimated 11% job growth in the U.S., and perhaps best of all, the entry level educational requirement is an associate's degree. Sound too good to be true? It isn't. And that job is a dental hygienist. 

By Army Medicine
Source: Army Medicine on Flickr.

The demands of the job
Dental hygienists work in dentist offices cleaning the teeth of patients while also examining for diseases like gingivitis and educating patients on the proper ways to maintain good oral health between visits to the dentist. The demands can move beyond cleaning the patient's teeth to taking dental x-rays, applying sealants and fluoride required to protect teeth, and also the more cosmetic polishing and whitening of teeth. In addition, in 2012, more than half of the dental hygienists worked part time.

The requirements
In order to become a registered dental hygienist (RDH), one must first get a degree in dental hygiene from an accredited program, with an associate's degree being the most common. With the degree in hand, individuals are then required to become licensed based on the requirements of the state in which they will practice.

By Meddygarnet

Source: meddygarnet on Flickr.

Yet beyond the educational requirements, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also notes some of the important qualities of dental hygienists include compassion as a result of some of the immense fears some people bring into the dental office, interpersonal skills as a result of the close contact with patients, dentists, and dental assistants, a detail oriented focus as a result of the routine procedures, as well as physical stamina and dexterity.

The benefits
As of the most recent information, dental hygienists had an average annual wage of $70,210 in 2012, more than double that of the $34,750 average wage of all occupations in the United States, and significantly higher than the broader category the jobs rolls into of health technologists and technicians, where the pay was $40,380. In addition, the top 10 percent of hygienists earned almost six figures, tipping the scales at $96,280.


Source: 401(K) 2013 on Flickr.

Not only is the pay great, but so too are the expected job openings. As a result of greater focus on dental health, an aging population, and Federal health legislation will expand individuals with dental insurance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects more than 114,000 jobs will be added from 2012 to 2022, and 64,000 of those will be new jobs and not simply filling existing jobs of people retiring or leaving the workforce.  

Being a dental hygienist may not be for everyone, but there is no denying it is a great career with relatively low barriers to entry that provides great pay, and also a great service to millions of Americans.

Moving from careers to investing
Anyone can retire rich, no matter where they work or what they do. The key is learning how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even give you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers