A healthy personal appearance can be enhanced by a nice smile with healthy teeth. Research has also shown that there is a connection between good oral and dental hygiene and overall health.
If you are considering a career in dental hygiene and are wondering “how much does a dental hygienist make?”, these are some stats taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The expected outlook for growth in this field in the next several years is very good! In fact they estimate it to be grow around 38% from 2010 to 2020!
In 2011 there were 184,110 dental hygienists in the US with an overall mean annual wage of $69,760 or $33.54 hourly. The annual salary of a Dental Hygienist ranged from $46,020 ($22.12 hourly) to $94,850 ($45.60 hourly). The lowest 25% of dental hygienists made $56,950 annually or less and the highest 25% made $83,310 annually or higher. There are many factors which influence wages including years of employment, experience, education, industry and geographical locations.
One factor which can influence wages is the industry in which a dental hygienist works. The highest paying industry in the United States is Facilities Support Services with a mean annual salary of $74,650 or $35.89 hourly. The next 4 highest paying industries are Other Ambulatory Health Care Services at $70,790, Offices of Dentists at $70,070, Outpatient Care Centers at $69,220 and Offices of Other Health Practitioners at $66,710 mean annual wages.
The state in which a dental hygienist works also affects the rate of pay. The top 5 highest paying states in the US are California, District of Columbia, Washington, Nevada and Alaska ranging respectfully from $91,010 down to $86,310 mean annual salary.
Within each state, locations also play a role in how much salary a dental hygienist can make and they are metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. California holds 6 of the top 10 positions for highest mean annual wages in metropolitan areas, the highest held by San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City at $106,120 mean annually or $51.02 hourly. Other metropolitan areas with high mean annual wages from highest to lowest respectfully are New Haven Connecticut, Vallejo Fairfield CA, Santa Rosa-Petaluma CA, Bremerton-Silverdale WA, Modesto CA, Oakland-Fremont-Hayward CA, Kennewick-Pasco-Richland WA, Napa CA and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett WA ranging from $105,420 down to $94,000 mean annually. These averages are all way above the mean annual wage of $69,760 for the whole of the United States.
Non-metropolitan areas can also influence the dental hygienist salary. At the top of the list of these 5 highest paying areas is Western Central Nevada far exceeding all other areas at $111, 350 mean annual wage. Following this are Railbelt/Southwest Alaska at $97,200, Southwestern Washington at $96,920, Central Washington at $94,790, and the Northern Mountain Region of California at $93,660 mean annual salary.
Experience, education and numbers of years on a job can greatly influence wages and so when you first graduate, you will not be expected to be among the top wage earners. Also generally some of the highest figures mentioned here are positions that are limited in numbers and are only achieved with years of experience and added education. But once you have graduated, there are so many options that you may want to work for awhile before you decide where and in what area you wish to specialize in. You might want to consult this blog for information on other dentistry jobs