Comments on career satisfaction, based on decade of graduation from 1970s to present

Feb. 19, 2015
PennWell's career satisfaction survey for dental hygienists examines generational perspectives of how hygienists view the potential for career growth.

Comments by Decades

After 2010

Continue reading main artilce


  • Alternate settings
  • Less microaggressive abuse from management
  • Retirement
  • Other types of jobs. Nurses can do office, hospital, clinical trials, etc.
  • Better equipment
  • Opportunity for advancement
  • Respect from employer!
  • Will be retiring in a couple more years so this does not apply
  • None, on the road to retirement
  • Doctors need to believe in change. After 10 years I just started a new office and lost benefits due to low hours. But I love it because boss is progressive and wants more for her patients and I love doing that also. We are in retirement/assisted living, memory care, etc., and caring and doing has given me a new look on RDH being helpful.
  • Additional expanded duties such as Botox, derm fillers to be used in conjunction with cosmetic dentistry; private practice for hygienists
  • Possibly teaching, supervisory, or consulting position
  • Salary security
  • None, happy
  • Pension or 401k
  • The longer I work, the more the doctor takes away. I have fewer benefits than when I started.
  • Vacation pay, health benefits, profit sharing, and pension plan
  • Non-clinical position
  • Become proficient in recognizing and treating myofacial imbalances
  • Computers and health care or research
  • Vacation time suited to my family's schedule and not his
  • Being more autonomous
  • I am happy with it all for the most part. More money is good but I am not driven by it.
  • Recognition as a professional
  • More reasonable vacation and sick leave. Employer contribution to short-term and long-term disability plans would be appreciated.
  • Personal growth/change
  • Will retire
  • Educational advancements and greater input into the growth process of the practice .... or becoming an independent contractor
  • None, I have all I need!
  • Need less stress and new challenges
  • Retirement
  • All I would desire is a better office manager. Current manager came about a year ago and makes the office no longer a happy place to work.
  • More hours during school day with summers off
  • Happier office. Being appreciated by the boss/dentist
  • I am underemployed. I work one day in academia and one day in private practice. I am a recent widow. The job market is saturated in my state and my experience and education are not working in my favor.
  • At this point in my life, I am very happy where I am …
  • The corporation took everything away
  • My state laws are what limit my ability to practice at peak level
  • Have no benefits
  • Respect for my abilities
  • More hours to work
  • Something totally different such as public education/nursing home
  • I have depth of knowledge, great skills, talent for connecting with patients, but shoulder pain, back pain, neck pain are forcing me to reduce hours …
  • Possible retirement benefits would have been beneficial!

Return to Top


  • Different career
  • Job satisfaction, feel valued
  • Bonuses, retirement, appreciation gifts
  • More vacation time
  • Less stress/time constraints
  • More respect from my employer
  • More variety of skills
  • More hours
  • Need to stop using my hands due to arthritis
  • I would like to see a return to one-hour prophy appointments so the hygienist can do her job more effectively and thoroughly.
  • My current employer does not communicate well with staff; therefore I feel I am not learning as much as I could be. (He has Asperger syndrome.)
  • To feel appreciated
  • Health insurance, personal time off
  • CAMBRA, laser therapy, etc.
  • Further education
  • Tired of same routine; want to do something different-not so physical
  • More growth potential in other fields
  • Better working conditions
  • I'm satisfied with my job as it is.
  • Mentoring
  • Appreciation from supervisors, improvement in self-career satisfaction
  • I would like to be an instructor of dental hygiene.
  • I want to have big chunks of time off to travel and do educational programs
  • Health insurance, retirement fund
  • I sub for other offices. Would like a permanent office. Very difficult
  • Schedule flexibility to allow proper time for special needs patients that I used to have.
  • Independent practice
  • Be treated like a professional instead of a child.
  • More recognition
  • Lack of artificial barriers imposed by the dental monopoly
  • Even a lateral move to be closer to home
  • More hours
  • More than four days sick time after 26 years in the same practice
  • Other opportunities in a different state without taking the National Board examination again
  • Grow with professional advances in techniques, technologies, and community service
  • A permanent position
  • Ability to help patients with lifestyle and nutrition coaching

Return to Top


  • Stop cutting my hours every week!
  • More job openings
  • Having graduated in the 1990s, I tapped out on earning potential.
  • More respect from dentist
  • Health insurance
  • There are no more full time jobs or benefits, retirement packages
  • A employer that appreciates the job you do for them!
  • When I started, a lot of offices were 8-5. Now they want us working 7 to 8. That's a long day to work and to spend less time with your family.
  • Time to go to the bathroom
  • Nicer boss
  • Less strain on my body
  • Education
  • Better income and benefits. We took 4% pay cut over 6 years ago due to economy
  • We are a direct supervision state and there are few opportunities outside either clinical or teaching in this area.
  • As our back office team leader, I would like more time to dedicate to that part of my job.
  • I am pretty content with the way things are.
  • Becoming a treatment plan coordinator
  • Something with more flexibility
  • Less pressure
  • Management, public health
  • To be the best I can be and to make a difference in people's lives
  • Something different
  • To move from the clinical setting into an administrative position. Dental hygiene is no longer patient care - based on production now.
  • Be able to work on our own
  • Less one on one contact with patients
  • High level of learning
  • Health insurance , paid sick days
  • To do something other than clinical dental hygiene
  • I am happy with my income and responsibilities.
  • Different type of job
  • To feel confident and happy in a particular job setting
  • Prefer separate vacation days and sick leave. Currently they are lumped together as paid time off.
  • Respect
  • More autonomy
  • Independent practice and about the better benefits I feel that there is the lack of them with the newer dentist. For me, the 1990s were great for benefits.
  • Teaching
  • Management, teaching, writing
  • Do something in the dental field that is not so hard on my body physically
  • To become office manager too!
  • Supervise, organize, leadership
  • Paid sick days or more vacation days
  • Full time position
  • I just don't want to work so late in the evenings and work Saturdays

Return to Top


  • Vacation pay, paid sick days, bonuses or raises
  • Better/more support staff.
  • Insurance, 401K, paid vacation
  • Change from the business of private practice
  • Less stress, both physical and emotional
  • A lot more benefits!
  • Health insurance
  • Paid continuing education
  • Continuing education, respect, and support
  • Benefits would be nice. Have zero
  • Respect
  • Creating, research
  • Sick day pay, more paid time off when I want to take it, not when the office closes
  • I'm very content
  • A career with personal satisfaction and gentler on my back
  • Consulting
  • Staying a hygienist but getting out of dental office atmosphere
  • Making a move up to becoming an educator
  • More supervisory and/or business planning work, teaching
  • Health insurance
  • Let's bring patient care back to first priority instead of production
  • Sales
  • Currently employers are paying so much less then five years ago and not offering full time to one hygienist. Rather hire two or more with low pay no benefits. New trend. Older doctors still respect hygienists but those positions are always taken.
  • Wider patient outreach
  • Leaving clinical practice
  • I receive no benefits
  • Better work environment
  • To be in a position that would allow me to change policy within the organization I work for.
  • New experience
  • 401k or profit sharing, insurance
  • Administration or teaching - nonclinical hygiene job
  • Being able to leave clinical setting
  • Work from home
  • I already do just about everything in my office. I just work two days a week for now while my kids are still at home.
  • Less stress
  • I would like to get on the education side of things where the stress level may be less.
  • Something different
  • Unfortunately, ethics and integrity in the workforce are at an all time low. People want big bucks for what they do, but have somehow lost the reason why we are doing what we are doing. I have been in several offices where the standard of care is not there.

Return to Top

After 2010

  • A job would be nice ... still looking!
  • More hours. The market is flooded with RDHs looking for jobs
  • Job opportunities
  • Appreciation
  • More hours
  • To be appreciated and rewarded for hard work
  • Managerial
  • More hours, more respect from dentist
  • More time with patients and better equipment/chairs
  • More opportunities to work in public health
  • Professional respect
  • I am adding professional skills as a myofunctional therapist
  • More respect
  • More regular hours
  • Change the way dentistry is done, help steer away from corporate dentistry
  • Less stress
  • Less ethical dilemmas at work
  • Less muscular pain

Return to Top