Dental Hygienist Salary and Career Resource

Welcome to Dental Hygienist Salary Jobs! Our goal is to become your number one informational resource for your aspiring career as a Dental Hygienist. Here you'll find the latest salary information, jobs listing, requirements, and career info you need to know about dental hygiene. We are a group of Dental Hygienist Educators and we want to help you succeed. Enjoy your stay!

Dental Hygienist Salary

Congratulations on your decision to become a Dental Hygienist!

Dental Hygiene is a field in high demand (38% growth rate) and is also one of the top paying jobs in the health care profession.

The national average salary of dental hygienists is $70,700. However, Dental Hygienist Salary vary from state to state due to the cost of living and the supply and demand in the field.

Please select your state below to find out the salary ranges you should be expecting.

Dental Hygienist

nursing-jobs-registered-nurse-positions-300x199A dental hygienist is a health care professional that specializes in preventive care. Their job revolves around cleaning teeth, examining patients for oral diseases, and most importantly they educate patients on the importance of maintaing good oral health. Dental Hygienist is the first line of defense in oral care, which make their jobs an extremely important one. Because of that, they work hand in hand with the dentist as part of the Dental Team to ensure that proper care is given to patients.

Most hygienists are employed through private dental offices, but can also find opportunity in an education setting (250 hygiene program in US), federal jobs, sales, and public health. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012), dental hygienists remain one of the top growing occupation in the US, growing at a rate of 38% a year to 2020.

Dental Hygienist Job Description

The job description for a Dental Hygienist is not described as just someone that cleans teeth.

Typically, the job entails:

  • Patient Screening: initial diagnosistic of oral health
  • Dental Charting
  • Taking & Developing X-Rays
  • Removing Plague (Tooth Cleaning)
  • Educating and Promoting Oral Care to Patients
    • patient screening procedures; such as assessment of oral health conditions, review of the health history, oral cancer screening, head and neck inspection, dental charting and taking blood pressure and pulse
    • taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays)
    • removing calculus and plaque (hard and soft deposits) from all surfaces of the teeth
    • applying preventive materials to the teeth (e.g., sealants and fluorides)
    • teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health;
      (e.g., toothbrushing, flossing and nutritional counseling)
    • counseling patients about good nutrition and its impact on oral health
    • making impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth used by dentists to evaluate patient treatment needs)
    • performing documentation and office management activities
  • Assisting people during emergency situations when they arise.

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Dental Hygienist Salary

A career in Dental Hygiene is one of the most stable and highly paid professions in health care. A Dental Hygienist Salary rank among as one of the top in health care! According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is expected to grow 38% and ranks as one of the top fastest growing occupations.
An hygienist’s career is also recognized as Forbe’s #4 best job of 2012. The organic population growth of earth is rising which is causing unprecedented demand for the industry. The elderly are now retaining more teeth and there is more focus on preventative hygienist salary 2012 
There are currently around 190,290 dental hygiene jobs in the US, and is one of the top 10 jobs of 2012.The average national salary according to US Labor statistics for a dental hygienist is around $33.99 an hour (or $70,700 a year).
The lowest 10% earned around $46,540 and the top 10% around $96,280.Entry level starting salaries for this profession starts of at around $20 dollars an hour, which is about $40,000 a year. Bear in mind things like bigger hospitals or dental offices pay higher salaries then their smaller counterparts. Salaries can vary state by state too.
However, one must also take a look at “total compensation”; this accounts for such thing as health care, vision, education assistance, and bonuses, which accounts for an increase of up to 30% of your income.The main factors that will determine your salary are:
  1. Location
  2. Education/Level of Training
  3. Specializations
  4. Experience
  5. Workplace Industry

Here is a chart that shows you the range of salaries you can expect based on your experience:

Dental Hygienist Salary by Years Experience

Years of ExperienceHourly SalaryAnnual Salary
0-1 Year$12.38 – 32.31$25,760 – $67,218
1-5 Years$24.24 – 32.68$29,620 – $67,989
5+ Years$14.58 – 41.79$30,334 – $86,936

To make sure you are getting the most out of your salary, make sure to be confident and sell your strength during the interview process and negotiation. Try to have as many options as possible and interview at differing places such as dental offices, physician offices, university hospitals, private clinics, or government agencies. Below is a chart of differing industries.

Dental Hygienist Salary by Industry

IndustryEmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Wage
Office of Dentists182,140$34.13$71,000
Office of Physicians1,990$31.40$65,310
Employment Services1,890$33.50$69,680
Outpatient Care Centers740$32.83$68,280
Federal Exec Branch630$26.27$54,640

Dental Hygienist Requirements & Licensure

Each state requires dental hygienists to be licensed, and requirements vary by state. . Almost all states require candidates are required to graduate from an accredited dental hygiene school and pass both a clinical and written examination. All states, including the District of Columbia accept the written examination offered by the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations. After getting your license, dental hygienist can become “Registered Dental Hygienists” or RDH.

As you gain experience in this profession, you’ll find several opportunities to grow and advance your career: advancement opportunities include working in public health, teaching at a Dental Hygiene Program,or corporate work.

Steps you can take while you work to advance in your career or increase your dental hygiene salary:

  1. Obtain certifications
  2. Obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in the field from an accredited program
  3. Complete additional training and obtain additional skills

What is a Dental Hygienist? What do they do? In a dental office, the dentist and dental hygienist work hand in hand to meet the oral health needs of their patients. However, each state has its own set regulation regarding their responsibilities, the range of services that can be performed by a hygienist.

More information on Wikipedia.