How Much Does a Dental Hygienist Make
So, how much does a Dental Hygienist make? Due to the strong demand for these professionals, employment for Dental Hygienists is projected to grow 20 percent over the next decade. This 20 percent increase will equate to approximately 40,000 new dental hygiene positions becoming available. With this growth, Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH) can expect to earn a competitive salary. Let’s take a deeper look to learn more about Dental Hygienist salaries.
In the field of oral healthcare, Dental Hygienists are widely sought out for their ability to perform preventative care and minor treatments. They are also tasked with educating patients on best practices to help ensure they are able to complete their oral care independently. Ultimately, Dental Hygienists will always be in demand because people will always need their teeth cleaned!
Dental Hygienist Pay
Dental Hygienists can earn very comfortable salaries! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a Dental Hygienist is approximately $72,910. This translates to about $35.31 per hour. However, the lowest earning 10 percent of Dental Hygienists are recorded to earn around $5,870 per year, with the highest earning 10 percent making closer to $100,000. Ultimately, these salaries are dependent on a number of factors such as education, experience, location and ultimately one’s employer.
Do these numbers sound like an appealing salary? In some states the median annual wage for Dental Hygienists is even higher! For example, states with the highest median annual salary are Alaska ($102,890), California ($94,640), New Mexico ($91,080), Washington ($90,150) and Nevada ($86,550). This demonstrates how much Dental Hygienist salaries can vary from state to state.
Furthermore, Dental Hygienists must recognize that, despite more positions projected to open in the years to come, competition in this field is also growing. Thus, employment opportunities tend to be greatest in rural areas (where competition is lesser).
Becoming a Dental Hygienist involves completing an associate’s degree or certificate in dental hygiene and obtaining a license in an intended state of practice. They may alternatively choose to complete a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene, and this advanced education may yield higher annual earnings. However, a bachelor’s degree is not a requirement to enter this career!
Other ways to increase pay for RDH’s include choosing to work for more than one Dentist, or simply by gaining more experience through promotion to a managerial role. Normally those with less than five years experience do not qualify to supervise others, and they tend to earn around $50,000 to $60,000 annually. At this point in a Dental Hygienist’s career, their salary can be comparable to that of a Certified Nursing Assistants or Home Health Aides.
Between five and 10 years of experience, Dental Hygienist wages jump to approximately $60,000 to $70,000 per year. Lastly, those with over 20 years experience normally earn $70,000 to $100,000 each year especially with advanced certifications and management of entire teams. In this field, $100,000 is often considered the ceiling for wages, and many professionals will earn a considerable amount less during the span of their careers. However, with over two decades of experience, RDHs will undoubtedly possess the experience necessary to help secure a managerial role.
For example, after working at a single practice for so many years, a Dental Hygienist may be asked to manage other Dental Hygienists or Dental Assistants. With greater responsibility typically comes increased pay, and possibly a switch from pay by the hour to a salaried position. Base hourly pay with commission or hourly pay with a bonus system are other payment possibilities. Dental Hygienists bonuses (10 to 20 percent of total services billed for) are also known to be commonplace, as many Dentists and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons use them as incentives to push for more efficient production.
Salaries and benefits are major concerns for Dental Hygienists and their respective employers. In the case of most employers, salary is a completely separate entity from benefits, although benefits can also be a predictor for career satisfaction. Before accepting a dental hygiene position at a practice, facility or clinic, Dental Hygienists should negotiate their benefits packages, including their 401K contributions, sick time and vacation packages.
Note: Whereas employees who work more than 30 hours a week qualify for full benefits, Dental Hygienists who work part-time schedules are typically not eligible for benefits. However, the flexibility associated with part-time is often more ideal than the proposed benefits.
Interested in a Dental Hygienist career? Look more about this career in healthcare today!
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