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4. Dental Hygienist

2012 pay: $68,109
2011 pay: $67,107
Change in pay: +1.5%

Dental hygienists clean teeth and examine patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis. They are increasingly doing more of the dentist’s work. To be a dental hygienist typically requires an associate’s degree in dental hygiene.

Perhaps a reflection of our declining dental hygiene as a society or the fact that fewer people are pursuing work as a dental hygienist – or both – employment in this field is expected to grow by 38 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

“It’s a lot like computer programmers – there’s demand and not enough supply,” Lee said.

Photo: John Moore | Getty Images