How Much Do Dental Hygienists Make?

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Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienists play a crucial role in maintaining oral health, providing preventive care, and educating patients on proper dental hygiene. If you’re considering a career in dental hygiene or are simply curious about the profession, understanding the salary landscape is essential. This article delves into the average salaries of dental hygienists across the United States, factors influencing their earnings, and the job outlook for this profession.

Average Salary of Dental Hygienists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for dental hygienists was $87,530 in May 2023. However, salaries can vary significantly based on location, experience, and the type of practice.

State-by-State Salary Breakdown

The salary of dental hygienists can differ widely from state to state. Here are some examples:

  • California: $111,580 annually, $53.65 hourly
  • Alaska: $113,770 annually, $54.70 hourly
  • New York: $84,860 annually, $40.80 hourly
  • Florida: $76,100 annually, $36.59 hourly
  • Texas: $79,690 annually, $38.31 hourly

Top Paying States

The highest paying states for dental hygienists include:

  • Alaska: $113,770 annually
  • California: $111,580 annually
  • Washington: $111,430 annually
  • Oregon: $95,360 annually
  • New Jersey: $94,610 annually

Factors Influencing Dental Hygienist Salaries

Several factors can influence the salary of a dental hygienist:

Experience

Experience plays a significant role in determining salary. According to Coursera, dental hygienists with more experience tend to earn higher salaries:

  • 1-3 years: $88,242
  • 4-6 years: $94,241
  • 7-9 years: $99,597
  • 10-14 years: $110,797
  • 15+ years: $126,585

Location

The cost of living and demand for dental services in a particular area can impact salaries. For instance, dental hygienists in metropolitan areas with a high cost of living, such as New York City or Los Angeles, tend to earn more than those in rural areas.

Type of Practice

The type of dental practice can also affect earnings. Dental hygienists working in private practices may earn differently compared to those in corporate practices or public health settings. For example, the average salary for dental hygienists in dentist offices was $77,540 annually as of May 2019.

Education and Specialization

While a two-year degree is sufficient to become a dental hygienist, those with advanced degrees or specializations may command higher salaries. Specializations in areas such as pediatric dentistry or periodontics can lead to increased earnings.

Job Outlook for Dental Hygienists

The job outlook for dental hygienists is positive, with employment projected to grow 9 percent from 2021 to 2031, according to the BLS. This growth is driven by an increasing emphasis on preventive dental care and an aging population requiring more dental services.

Conclusion

Dental hygienists enjoy competitive salaries that can vary based on experience, location, and the type of practice. With a positive job outlook and opportunities for advancement, dental hygiene is a promising career choice for those interested in the dental field. Whether you’re just starting or looking to advance your career, understanding the factors that influence dental hygienist salaries can help you make informed decisions about your professional path.

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