Purpose: The primary objectives of this study were to assess career and degree satisfaction as well as job characteristics of individuals graduating from programs awarding the master of science in dental hygiene or dental hygiene education degree.
Methods: A pilot-tested questionnaire was mailed to all 252 individuals who graduated between 1980 and 1995 from eight dental hygiene master's degree programs (MSDH). The questionnaire included both closed- and open-ended items regarding career history/career path, career satisfaction, professional involvement, and opinions/perceptions about the graduate program the participant attended. Responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics and two-way tables.
Results: After three complete mailings, the response rate was 69% (n = 174). The majority of respondents reported currently working approximately five days per week (54%), with 62% having annual salaries over $40,000. Eighty-six percent were satisfied overall with their career choices, although 30% stated that they would not pursue the same degree again.
Conclusion: Overall, graduates from MSDH programs are satisfied with their degree choice as well as the opportunities it has afforded them. These findings serve to expand the knowledge base of graduate dental hygiene education and of the graduates from these programs as well as provide suggestions for improvement to graduate dental hygiene programs.