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    The latest hourly and annual salary numbers for dental hygienists

    Looking at the most recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics – and what it means to you.

    When you look around a dentist’s office, you see more dental hygienists and dental assistants than you do actual dentists.

    And with more than 100,000 dentists in the country, this should tell you something about how prevalent jobs are for hygienists. And when we tell you that job for those 100,000 dentists are expected to increase almost 20 percent by 2024, you can draw some conclusions about what that means for hygienists.

    Related reading: See how the 2014 numbers compare to today's

    By the numbers

    Since the government’s last analysis in 2014, there has been an almost five percent growth in the career – increasing from 200,500 to 204,990. By 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of dental hygienists to increase by 19 percent to 37,4000.

    The average salary for dental hygienists rose about two percent from $71,970 in 2014 to $73,440 in 2016. That is an hourly rate of $35.31. (source: www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292021.htm#st).

    When we look at the entire dental team, hygienists represent a large population (they’re not as numerous as dental assistants, of course, but still a large force). There were a little more than 100,000 dentists, 327,000 dental assistants and 37,000 lab technicians.

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    In terms of pay, when compared to the rest of the dental team, dental hygienists fall somewhere near the middle- to upper-end. At the top, dentists make a little over $76.81 per hour on average (around $159,770 annually), while dental assistants make (on average) $17.76 per hour or $36,940 annually. Dental Lab Techs make $19.59 per hour, or $40,760 per year.

    The term “annual salary” might be somewhat misleading, however, because according to the research, about half of dental hygienists worked part time and dentists often hire hygienists to work only a few days a week, so some hygienists work for more than one dentist. Nearly all dental hygienists worked in dentists’ offices, but a small number of hygienists worked in other settings, including physicians’ offices, outpatient clinics and schools.


    Next: Where are hygienists making the most?

    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...


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