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.
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
A 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.
For more information on Dental Hygienist Job Description, click here.
Dental Hygienist Salary
- Education/Level of Training
- 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 Experience||Hourly Salary||Annual 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
|Industry||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Office of Dentists||182,140||$34.13||$71,000|
|Office of Physicians||1,990||$31.40||$65,310|
|Outpatient Care Centers||740||$32.83||$68,280|
|Federal Exec Branch||630||$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:
- Obtain certifications
- Obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in the field from an accredited program
- 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.