Dental hygienist: salary and education facts
Dental hygiene is a rapidly growing career field: The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs to grow by 33 percent between 2012 and 2022, making it one of the fastest-growing careers in the United States. Projected employment for 2022 is about 64,200 dental hygienists nationwide.
The minimum requirement to practice dental hygiene is graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program, which typically results in an associate degree, but may also result in certification, a bachelor's degree or a master's degree. An associate degree and certification are usually minimum requirements to work in a private practice. All dental hygienists must have state licensure, which in most states includes graduating from an accredited dental hygiene program, passing a written exam, and passing a clinical exam.
Dental hygienist salary information
The BLS reports that in 2012 the average wage for dental hygienists nationwide was $70,210 per year and $33.75 per hour. Pay for hygienists may be on an hourly, daily, salary or commission basis. The top-paying states for dental hygienists in 2012 were as follows:
- California ($94,370)
- Texas ($71,980)
- Florida ($63,400)
- New York ($69,120)
- Michigan ($59,520)
The BLS shows that dental hygienists earned a mean annual salary of more than $71,970 in these states in 2014. A dental hygienist salary can also vary depending on location, type of practice and years of experience. In 2014, the average wage for the 10th percentile was $49,190 per year or $23.65 per hour, compared to $97,390 per year or $46.82 per hour for the 90th percentile.