Dental Hygienist Income and Employment Data

Dental Hygienist Salary data – Updated March 2018 to allow for the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics studies released on March 30th, 2018.

How Much Do Dental Hygienists Make?

Average salaries for Dental Hygienists fall within the upper end of all healthcare assistant and entry level healthcare roles. With an average salary of $74,680 per annum Dental Hygienists are among the top 25% (75th Percentile) of all salaries in the United States.

However there can be quite a significant range in salary depending on experience, industry and where you live in the USA.

In the following sections we provide a detailed breakdown of average Hygienist Salary levels according to the most recent BLS studies as well as data on income and employment growth rates.


Average Dental Hygienist Salary

Average Salary (Annual)$74,680
Mean Hourly Wage$35.91
Top 10% of Earners$101,330
Bottom 10% of Earners$51,180
Highest Paying State: Alaska$107,190
Lowest Paying State: Alabama$46,290

According to the most up to date study from the BLS – released in March 2018 and based on data gathered in May 2017 – the average salary for a dental hygienist in the USA is $74,680 per annum.

Average pay for Dental Hygienists varies greatly across the United States, depending on where you live. Even when local cost of living adjustments have been allowed for the range is still substantial. Experience also matters with an obvious variance between entry level or starting salary and salary for those who are well experienced.

  • Average range across all States: From a low of $46,290 in Alabama to a high of $107,190 in Washington DC. This represents a huge variance of over $60,900 in earnings, even taking into consideration cost of living adjustments.
  • Top earners to bottom earners: Overall the bottom 10% (including entry level salaries) of those working as Dental Hygienists earned an average of $51,180, whilst the top 10% earned an average of $101,330.

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How much does a Dental Hygienist make an hour?

The mean hourly wage for Dental Hygienists in the USA is $35.91. The top 10% of earners in the profession earn $48.72 per hour whilst those in the lower 10% earn just $24.61 per hour.

Average Dental Hygienist Salaries by State

The table below illustrates the top paying States for Dental Hygienists – taking into consideration cost of living adjustments for each State.

Alaska and California pay dental hygienists significantly more than average, whilst Washington State, New Mexico and Maryland also fair well.

StateSalaryAbove National Average
Alaska$107,19043.53%
California$97,42030.45%
Washington$91,07021.95%
New Mexico$89,74020.17%
Maryland$85,89015.01%

Find out how much do dental hygienists make in your area by browsing the map below which breaks down the average salary for Dental Hygienists by State;

Top paying Metro / City areas for Dental Hygienists

If you are interested in becoming a Dental Hygienist and are motivated by earning potential you might be interested in which localities will provide you with the highest income opportunity. The table below illustrates the Metro areas and Cities where Dental Hygienists earn the most – taking into consideration cost of living adjustments for each.

Reflecting the data provided above for top paying states the top 5 paying Metro areas are also in California and Alaska – paying upwards of 46% above the national average salary.

The highest paying city for hygienists is San Francisco where you could earn an average annual wage in excess of $110,000 as a dental hygienist.

Metro AreaAverage Salary% Above National
North Coast Region of California$117,63057.51%
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco$111,02048.66%
Fairbanks, AK$110,73048.27%
Southeast Alaska$109,43046.53%
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward,$109,10046.09%

Top Paying Industries for Dental Hygienists

Overall dental hygienists working in the home healthcare services industry earn the highest average salary by industry. This is closely followed by salaries paid to those working in the offices of dentists and those working for other healthcare practitioners. Hygienists working in outpatient care centers and as temporary workers for employment services also fair well.

IndustryAverage SalaryHourly Pay# Employed
Home Health Care Services$88,010$42.31-
Offices of Dentists$74,970$36.04200,710
Offices of Other Health Practitioners$74,700$35.91450
Outpatient Care Centers$73,690$35.431,420
Employment Services$72,250$34.732,580

So if you are considering a career as a Dental Hygienist all the indicators would suggest that this is a good career choice. Salary levels are excellent by comparison to most other healthcare assisting roles and by comparison to other careers in general. There are a high number of people employed in the sector and as demand for the service continues to grow so too will employment with significant jobs growth.

Dental Hygiene Salary Comparisons

The table below compares average salaries for Dental Hygienists with those for similar roles in health care. This data has been updated in 2018 to reflect the most recent BLS data available.

Dental Hygienist $73,440
Dental Assistant $XX,XXX
Physical Therapist Assistant
Occupational Therapist Assistant
Veterinary Technician

Jobs Growth and Employment Projections

There are currently approximately 211,600 persons working as Dental Hygienists in the USA. This represents an almost 40% increase in employment since 2000 and this trend is set to continue. The BLS predicts that demand for Dental Hygienists will continue to grow between 2016 and 2024. In fact it is predicted that a further 30,000 positions could be created in the sector in that time representing a 14.7% increase in employment figures.
Dental Hygienists Employment

Dental Hygienist Career Frequently Asked Questions

Do Dental Hygienists make good money?

Yes. If you are considering a career as a Dental Hygienist all the indicators would suggest that this is a good career choice. Salary levels are excellent by comparison to most other healthcare assisting roles and by comparison to other careers in general.

Are dental hygienist in high demand?

Yes. There are a high number of people employed in the sector and as demand for the service continues to grow so too will employment with significant jobs growth.

Do dental hygienist get paid overtime?
What is the most I can earn as a dental hygienist?