Tooth Helpers: Best Dental Hygienist Salary and Employment in the USA

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The best dental hygienist salary depends on close work with dentists and their patients. Dental hygienists clean teeth, take x-rays and instruct patient on good oral hygiene. In some states, they can also administer anesthetics, place and shape fillings, remove sutures and make diagnosis. The job requires a degree from an accredited dental hygiene school and a state license.

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

Average Dental Hygienist Salary

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average dental hygienist salary runs $33.02 per hour or $68,680 per year with 177,520 jobs.

  • The lowest earners make $21.64 per hour or $45,000 per year. The highest paid 10 percent receive $45.11 per hour or $93,820 per year.
  • This is more than double the mean wages for dental assistants, which is $16.35 per hour or $34,000 per year.
  • And it is less than half of the salaries for general dentists, which average $76.33 hourly and $158,770 yearly.

Employment

The best employment for dental hygienists varies by workplace:

  1. Over 96 percent work in the offices of dentists, where they make a mean $33.16 per hour or $68,980 per year.
  2. Less than one percent work in the offices of doctors, where average wages are $30.38 per hour or $63,190 per year.
  3. Also under one percent work for employment services, where mean pay is at $31.58 per hour or $65,690 per year.

The best dental hygienist salary is as follows:

  1. Dental offices have the best averages at $33.16 per hour or $68,980 per year.
  2. Outpatient care centers offer a mean $32.88 per hour or $68,390 per year.
  3. Insurance carriers average $31.96 per hour or $66,480 per year.

States

For states, the employment for dental hygienists follows population.

  1. California, the state with the biggest population, has 18,050 positions averaging $43.37 per hour or $90,220 per year.
  2. Texas, the second most populous state, shows 10,860 jobs at a mean $32.47 per hour or $67,530 per year.
  3. New York, ranking third for population, has 9,710 hygienists earning a mean $32.98 per hour or $68,600 per year.

The best dental hygienist salary runs as follows:

  1. Alaska, where a high cost of living raises all salaries in general, has mean wages at $43.62 per hour or $90,740 per year.
  2. California shows means at $43.37 per hour or $90,220 per year.
  3. Washington has mean pay of $42.22 per hour or $87,810 per year.

Cities

Employment for hygienists in cities also follows population, but not in the exact order:

  1. The third most populous city, Chicago, shows the most jobs at 5,040, with mean wages of $29.58 per hour or $61,520 per year.
  2. The city with the biggest population, New York, has 4,190 positions averaging $38.73 per hour or $80,560 per year.
  3. Los Angeles, which ranks second for population, shows 3,300 hygienists earning a mean $41.18 per hour or $85,660 per year.

The best dental hygienist salary for cities ranks as follows:

  1. San Francisco, California, shows mean earnings at $50.12 per hour or $104,250 per year.
  2. Santa Rosa, California, has averages at $48.80 per hour or $101,510 per year.
  3. New Haven, Connecticut, has mean pay at $47.16 per hour or $98,090 per year.

Related to the best dental hygienist salary are the salaries of dentists, which you can find at Tooth Fairies’ Rewards: The Highest Paid Dentists and Dental Specialists in America.

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9 comments

dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 4 years ago from India

My brother is a dentist and I think in every part of the world the dental profession is a good one with pretty nice income. Happy to know the figures as my brother is trying to get a job in USA. thanks.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks dinkan53, but these are the figures for hygienists not dentists. But I'm sure you saw the link at the bottom of the hub to dental salaries, which would be useful to your brother.


JEOrtega profile image

JEOrtega 4 years ago from Southern California

Hi alocsin!

My cousin in a dental hygienist in Washington state and she makes a very good living. Another great hub for finding good jobs in a tough job market. Voting Up and useful!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks for your comments, JEOrtega.


Kris 4 years ago

I am a student dental hygienist. Thank you for this stats. Great to know that the road ahead is not so dark. Hope the jobs are still there when I am done with dental hygiene school.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thank you for stopping by, I'm glad this is helpful to a future member of the profession.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

One nice thing about being a dental hygienist is that if they wish to work part time to work around rearing their kids, this seems to be easily accomplished unlike many other jobs. Mostly women seem to go in for that type of work. There must be some men...but I have only experienced having my teeth cleaned by women so far. Nice job on this hub and informative to many, I am sure. Up votes and SHARED.


jamaica 4 years ago

Will there still be jobs two years from now when im done with schooling? i live in the washington area and im scared of not finding any jobs afterwards.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a job increase of 38 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is excellent. So yes, I think you'll find lots of jobs when you get out of school, jamaica.

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