• After Graduation

  • Employment

    Employment opportunities are excellent both nationally and locally, with job demand continuing to expand. The average salary for a Dental Hygienist in the Portland-Metro area is $36-$38 per hour.

    Graduates report finding as much work as they want. Due to the flexible nature of dental hygiene employment conditions, there are excellent possibilities for working in the traditional dental practice setting, as well as group and corporate practices. Additionally, most graduates from MHCC hold an Expanded Practice Permit, which allows independent employment in limited access settings such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes, public health clinics, schools, and private homes.

    Word of Mouth

    MHCC’s respected Dental Hygiene program was just what the dentist ordered for Daniel Martinez.

    He would probably be the first to tell you that he wasn’t a completely normal kid. A good kid, a smart kid, but a bit unusual.

    Daniel Martinez grew up in the Columbia River Gorge, between Hood River and The Dalles. He was 11 years old before he made his first visit to the dentist. His parents took him for his birthday, of all things. The glaring light, the whining drills, the sharp instruments, the frightening sounds…Martinez reacted like any little kid. Well, maybe not any little kid.

    He loved it.

    “I really enjoyed going,” Martinez says today. “I was so intrigued by it all. I never found it scary. And I immediately wanted to become a dental hygienist.”

    This was a kid who got totally excited about a new toothbrush.

    Fast forward a few years and Martinez was researching the many dental hygiene programs around the state. Mt. Hood Community College stood out.

    “The MHCC program was a great one, with a strong reputation,” he says, “but what really sold me was how responsive they were. They made the communication so easy, I felt at home right away. And I had some awesome teachers—I will always be thankful to MHCC instructor Teri Tong.”

    Martinez graduated from MHCC in 2012 and found work almost immediately.

    “Good skills are vital,” Martinez points out, “but patient interaction is just as important. You have to be a chameleon to serve all sorts of different people. You build a personal relationship, a connection, with every patient. You need to be a team player and have a high tolerance for stress, because most days in a dental office don’t really follow the appointment book! I really enjoy having to be at my best each day.”

    And all the new toothbrushes he could ever want.