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Dental Hygienist Salary

Dental Hygienist Salary

You don’t need to be a movie star or a pro ball player to make a lucrative salary. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the highest paying non-scandal laden professions are in the medical and healthcare industry. See, your mother is right, you should be a doctor.

Dental Hygienist SalaryThe dental hygienist salary ranks among the top 10 healthcare professional salaries in the U.S., and the demand for specialists as well as general practitioners in dental hygienics is staggering. And better yet, that demand grows year by year as new fields and subdivisions of clinical research pull professionals out of practice and into R&D.

The salaries themselves vary depending on the region in which you practice, what kind of dental hygienics you’re practicing, and your level of experience.
But don’t take our word for it. Trust the numbers – numbers the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been so good as to furnish us with (accurate as of May 2009):

National Averages

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics an average (annual) dental hygienist salary for a practitioner in the U.S. is approximately $68,250. The median hourly rate for the same professional(s) is estimated at $32.81 – ranging from $21.64 to $45.11.

And even the bottom rung isn’t a bad place to start in this industry since the bottom 10% of dental hygienists earn about $45,000 a year. Conversely, the top 10% earn up to an average of $93,820 per year.

Experience is a factor in the level of compensation you can expect for your duties. Those top 10% earners have been working in the field a long time. But even those who are fresh out of school can expect a competitive salary. The average salary for an accredited dental hygienist with less than 1 year of experience is approximately $51,722 a year, whereas those who have been working in the field for 5 to 9 years make an estimated $59,675.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also monitors dental hygienist salary by industry. Not surprisingly, the highest averaged salary attained by practicing physicians (the salary rates of dental hygienists involved in pharmaceutical research and other specialized branches of government and corporate R&D are not covered for the purposes of this discussion) were attained by working in a dental office.

The top tier dental hygienist salary earnings by industry are listed below:
· Dental Offices – $68,980
· Physicians’ Offices – $63,190
· Employment Services – $65,690
· Outpatient Care Centers – $68,390
· General Medical and/or Surgical Hospitals – $56,950

Work Settings

As can be clearly seen from the above, dental hygienists work in a fairly large variety of industries. Though most work on the front lines in dental offices, which is good for you since that’s where the highest average earnings can be made. It’s also the practice among many private U.S. dentists to offer bonuses or incentives to their employees to motivate them and improve performance. Bonus structures are specific to industry and individual, but it’s a good way to make sure that work done well and time invested is well recompensed.

There are also opportunities to prepare for, and other positions to move into, outside of general practice once you’ve attained enough experience. Your dental hygienist salary gets the opportunity for an upgrade as well once you move into more specialized areas of the field. And it’s standard practice to take additional courses to brush up on newer procedures or innovations in the industry – both to prepare for more advanced work or just to keep current. There’s an opportunity to gain additional academic experience even while you’re building up practical experience.
All the above factors and options are region specific, and some states present better earnings opportunities than others. Which leads us to …


The old real estate axiom holds true: it’s all about location.
The highest dental hygienist salary paid for general practice in the U.S. was registered in California. Dental hygienists working in the Golden State can earn up to $90,220 per year. Well above the national average. No time like the present to move to the West Coast.

The next highest dental hygienist salary by State was earned in the state of New York, where dental hygienists have earned up to $68,600 annually. Is taking a bite out of the Big Apple in your future?
Next up in annual earnings for practicing dental hygienics professionals is the Lone Star State. In Texas the annual dental hygienist salary can reach up to $67,530. Come for the beef, stay for the salary.

Michigan ($59,200) and Florida ($58,340), respectively, round out the top 5 highest paying dental hygienist salary states.
For more information about dental hygienist salary expectations and recorded averages visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website at

The high earnings that go with a dental hygienist salary is just one of the many reasons the life of a dental hygienist may be right for you. To find out more about this highly lucrative, personally and professionally rewarding career visit our other Category and Article pages. Your future belongs to you so plan for it carefully and pick the right life’s path that suits you.

Starting Salary for Dental Hygienists 

How much money can you make straight out of a dental hygienist school? As a beginner you may be curious to know what the average starting salary for dental hygienists is. The amount of money dental hygienists make varies greatly depending on the industry and work settings.

What is the starting salary for dental hygienists? This article will give you an answer you’re looking for. The information on the dental hygienist salary comes from the reputable statistics sources – the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale.

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