Dental hygiene is among the fastest growing professions in the country, which means that the job prospects for dental hygienists are higher than average. Today, around 200,000 dental hygienists are employed in the country, and they are earning an average of more than $32 per hour, and an average annual salary of more than $67,000. Other attributes of their salary are as follows:
*The lowest paid 10% of dental hygienists earn an average hourly wage of more than $21, or $45,000 annually.
*The highest paid 10% earn an average hourly wage of more than $44, or $92,000 annually.
There are 2 main factors that determine the average salary of a dental hygienist. These are described in the following paragraphs.
A dental hygienist can be working in a wide range of organizations, with more than 95% being employed with dental offices. Other places of employment include
*Outpatient healthcare centers
*Administrative office setups
Hygienists working in physician’s offices and hospitals earn an average hourly wage of more than $29 and $27 respectively. The highest paid hygienists work in administrative office setups where they can earn an average hourly wage of around $33. Similarly, dental hygienists employed in dental offices can be earning almost equivalent but not higher hourly wages.
The average salary of a dental hygienist also varies from one state to another. The states with the highest density of dental hygienists offer lesser salary. It can be said that the increase in job availability seems to be having an effect on bringing down the average salary of a dental hygienist. For example, the density of dental hygienists to the population in Michigan is 2.3 to 1000, and the average hourly wage here is just over $28.
Alaska, California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada are among the states that offer the highest average hourly wage to dental hygienists with the average rate ranging from $46 to $37. The hygienist to population density in some of these states is 1.2 while in others it is 1.6. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, California is among the highest paying metropolitan areas, where a hygienist can expect to earn as much as $54 an hour.
The salaries mentioned here are the ones earned by dental hygienists who are employed. Fresh graduates who have recently achieved their license can expect to earn lower salaries until they are able to gain sufficient experience.