Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

First Advisor

Lisa Bilich

Second Advisor

Ann O'Kelley Wetmore

Third Advisor

David Bunting


With the increase in the number of dental hygiene schools, and decline in graduating dentists, the potential for an excess supply of dental hygienists could result in increased difficulty for dental hygienists to gain employment. Using a quantitative research design in the form of a cross sectional, Likert style survey, this study targeted desirable employability characteristics of dental hygienists by dental employers. The sample was randomly selected from five regions in the US. Each participant was sent three emails containing an introductory letter, consent form, and survey link with a response rate of 5.70% (N=53). Data was analyzed using frequency statistics. Demographically the majority of respondents were Caucasian, male dentists, with an average age of 56.75. Geographically, all five regions responded to the survey, with the majority (81.13%) from a population greater than 50,000. The average number of dental hygienists employed in a practice was 2.11. Over one third, 33.96%, of respondents state they would prefer a dental hygienist with a baccalaureate degree, 52.83% would consider paying a higher salary for this level of education, and 66.04% would hire a new graduate with limited clinical experience. Interpersonal skills showed the highest frequency for the most important or important ranking. The majority also identified the remaining characteristics of level of education, leadership skills, appearance, critical thinking skills, salary, and clinical experience to be very important to somewhat important. Results are in direct correlation with the American Dental Hygienists’ Association 2011-2015 Strategic Plan, Commission on Dental Accreditation standards for accreditation for dental hygiene programs, and assumptions of the primary investigator.


Typescript. Abstract. Vita.

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