What Is the Average Annual Salary for a Dental Hygienist?

Are you interested in helping others achieve and maintain proper oral health? If so, a career as a dental hygienist may be right for you. Your salary may be impacted by your location, experience and where you choose to work. Schools offering Dental Hygiene degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

As a dental hygienist, you are responsible for cleaning teeth and inspecting the oral areas of patients. It is also your job to work with them to promote positive oral health by demonstrating proper brushing and flossing techniques. There is a long list of equipment that you will need to become adept at using, such as various cleaning and polishing tools and x-ray machines. You will perform diagnostic tests and prepare charts for the dentist to analyze, and you may work closely with the dentist and aid them during delicate procedures.

Important Facts About Dental Hygienists

Job Outlook (2016-2026) 20% growth
On-the-Job Training Not provided
Key Skills Physical stamina, attention to detail, social awareness, coordination, steady hands
Similar Occupations Dental assistants, medical assistants, registered nurses, radiation therapists, physicians assistants, occupational therapy assistants and aides

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Overview

According to figures reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2018, you could earn an average yearly salary of $75,500 working as a dental hygienist (www.bls.gov). The lowest paid 10 percent of workers received a median salary of $51,930 or less, and the top paid 10 percent earned $101,820 or more annually. There were 215,150 people employed as dental hygienists as of May 2018.

Salary by Industry

According to May 2018 figures from the BLS, the highest level of employment was in the offices of dentists with earnings of $75,780 per year on average. The earnings for those working in the offices of physicians earned an average annual wage of $71,880 at that time. Those working in home health care services earned a mean salary of $89,790 annually.

Salary by Location

Your location can also play an important role in your salary. The BLS reported that if you work in the highest paying states, which included the Alaska, California, Washington, Arizona and New Jersey in May 2018, you can make between $85,860 and $114,320 annually. These average wages were much more per year than the national average. Conversely, dental hygienists may earn less than the national average in some states, which included Michigan and Florida; coincidentally, Michigan is one of the states with the highest concentration and location quotients for this career.

Salary by Experience

PayScale.com reported the earnings for dental hygienists by experience in May 2019. The following shows the reported median salary ranges for each experience level:

  • Less than one year: $32,000-$72,000
  • 4-9 years: $36,000-$74,000
  • 10-19 years: $40,000-$82,000
  • More than 20 years: $41,000-$87,000

Education Requirements

An associate's degree is typically the highest form of education required for this job. Bachelor's degrees, master's degree and certificate programs also exist, though. These degree programs provide you with training in human anatomy, chemistry, pharmacology, radiography and periodontology (the study of gum disease). You also need to obtain state licensure, which involves passing a written test administered by the American Dental Association and a clinical examination administered by a state testing agency.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster

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    • Certificates

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Regent University

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • University of Louisville

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    • Kentucky: Louisville
  • New York University

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    • New York: New York
  • University of Iowa

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    • Iowa: Iowa City
  • Howard University

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    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
  • The University of Tennessee

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    • Tennessee: Knoxville