The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between verbal ability, age, extent of education and professional experience (separately and in combination), and level of cognitive development of dental hygiene students and practitioners. Forty-five dental hygiene students and graduates (15 associate degree subjects without professional experience; 15 associate degree subjects with professional experience; and 15 baccalaureate degree subjects with professional experience) participated in this cross-sectional study. The Measure of Intellectual Development (MID), a semi-structured, generation cognitive task, was used to assess cognitive development (position/stage of intellectual development). MID protocols were scored separately and blindly by two raters resulting in high interrater reliability and agreement estimates. In general, subjects were functioning at a relatively low level (position 3 multiplicity) of cognitive development. Baccalaureate degree subjects tended to function at a higher position than subjects in the other two groups. There was a significant, positive correlation between extent of education and level of cognitive development.