What is the Average Dental Hygienist Salary?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for dental hygienists will increase by 33% by the year 2022, which is much faster than average for all other occupations. This incredible demand also means that dental hygienists can command a very high salary. Just how high is the average dental hygienist salary in the U.S.? Here are some statistics.

Median Salary

In 2012, the median annual salary for dental hygienists was $70,210, which amounted to an hourly wage of approximately $33.75. The median annual salary is the point at which half of all workers made more and the other half earned less. The median annual salary for dental hygienists is more than twice that of the national average, which is $34,750 for all occupations.

Even those in the bottom percentile earn more than the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that dental hygienists in the bottom 10% earnings wise made $49,190 per year, which was equal to $23.65 per hour. Workers in the top 90% were found to make as much as $97,390, which is the equivalent of $46.82 per hour.

Location Affects Salary

The BLS also tracks salary according to the location in which dental hygienists work. In doing so, they found that individuals who were employed in dental offices made the most money, with the annual mean salary being $72,300. Those who work in the offices of other health practitioners earned the least, making on average $64,560 per year. Dental clinics also have the highest demand for workers, accounting for 21.25 percent of all hygienists. Other health care practitioners on the other hand have the lowest demand, with only .06 percent of all workers employed in this industry.

Earnings by State

Dental hygienists in some states earn far more than those in other states. States with the highest annual mean wage for dental hygienists are:

  • District of Columbia, where the average annual salary is $95,570 ($45.95 per hour)
  • California, a state in which dental hygienists may earn $94,370 each year ($45.37 per hour)
  • Washington State, which is noted for paying dental hygienists $91,370 annually ($43.93 per hour)
  • Nevada, $89,320, where the annual mean salary is $89,320 ($42.94 per hour)
  • Arizona,  a state where professionals may earn yearly wages of $82,050 ($39.45 per hour)

What is perhaps most interesting about these statistics is that four of the top five states are located in the Western United States. While the District of Columbia has the highest annual mean wage, it is also estimated to have only 420 professionals working in this field, as compared to the 20,890 dental hygienists in California.

Dental hygienists in the Southern states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Alabama tend to earn lower-than-average salaries.  Workers in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Florida earn slightly more than those in other Southern states, yet still make less than the national average.

Highest Paying Cities

Dental hygienists in certain cities may also make more money. Many of these cities are also located in states where dental hygienist traditionally earn higher wages. Some of the cities where workers can achieve high salaries include:

  • San Francisco, CA, $111,380 ($53.55 per hour)
  • Vallejo/Fairfield, CA, $103,750 ($49.88 per hour)
  • Sacramento, CA, $101,360 ($48.73 per hour)
  • Corvallis, OR, $99,870 ($48.01 per hour)
  • Mount Vernon/Anacortes, WA, $97,310 ($47.36 per hour)
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA, $97,310 ($46.79 per hour)
  • Los Angeles, CA, $97,300 ($46.78 per hour)
  • Bremerton-Silverdale, WA, $97,100 ($46.68 per hour)

Dental Hygienist Training

What is perhaps more surprising than these wage figures is the fact that it takes relatively little time to become a dental hygienist. In just a few short months, you could be on your way to earning a lucrative salary, while also helping people improve their overall oral health. Get started now by allowing us to help you find a training program that will suit your needs and budget. Contact us today to find out more.