The Motley Fool Previous Page

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

Patrick Morris
February 23, 2014

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. 

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.

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 dexterit