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Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Dental Lab Products. He is also the author of 18 technology books, including the award-winning Green IT: Reduce Your Information System's Environmental Impact While Adding to the Bottom Line. As such, he’s particularly interested in the technological side of dentistry.
We looked at each city and picked out the 10 best for hygienists this year. The great thing about being an American is that you don’t have to live or work anywhere you don’t want to. If you decide that you don’t like where you are, you can pack up your family and move somewhere new. But what would cause somebody to want to relocate? Maybe he or she isn’t thrilled with his or her job. Perhaps the economy where he or she is living isn’t so great.
The great thing about being an American is that you don’t have to live or work anywhere you don’t want to. If you decide that you don’t like where you are, you can pack up your family and move somewhere new. But what would cause somebody to want to relocate? Maybe he or she isn’t thrilled with his or her job. Perhaps the economy where he or she is living isn’t so great. Maybe a different community would be safer.
We wanted to know the 10 best cities for dental hygienist in 2019, so we compiled a list based on a number of factors. We started by looking at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data (which reported findings from 572 cities), and that gave us the top-earning cities in America. However, there’s more to life than just making money (the average dental hygienist, by the way, earned $74,070 in 2017). That’s where we started adding such factors as overall economy, public safety and so forth. Our complete list of metrics is:
Included, where available, is information about the total number in that profession for the community (there were a total of 207,900 hygienists nationwide in 2017). We couldn’t, however, include that as a metric by which to compare because complete data for all the cities wasn’t available.
In addition to BLS data, we culled our rankings from personal finance website Wallethub.com, U.S. News & World Report’s Healthiest Communities study and the Journal of the American Medical Association’s longest life expectancy by state.
We ranked each metric on a scale of one to 10, compiled them, and then honed the list from there. Whoever got the lowest score earned the highest position on the list.
You may also notice, however, that many of the communities in this list rank either first or second in terms of stress, oral health and life expectancy. That’s because those metrics were compared at a state level, and since all 10 entries on this list were from either California or Alaska, there are only two options.
Click through the slides to find out the 10 best cities to be a dental hygienist.
1. San Francisco-Redwood City, California
The San Francisco-Redwood City, California, region encompasses an area of the San Francisco peninsula stretching south from San Francisco down to Redwood City. Dental hygienists in that area seem to have it all. They rank at the top for education, economy, public safety, stress, oral health and life expectancy. Those factors, coupled with earning the second highest salary on our list ($111,020 per year), earns this area top honors.
2. San Rafael, California
The San Francisco area seems to be an especially attractive place for dental hygienists on this list, with half of the entries being from that area. San Rafael, California, is located just north of San Francisco and is our No. 2 entry. While dental hygienists in San Rafael earn toward the bottom of the pack in terms of salary-earning an average of $107,620 per year-most of the other factors help to elevate the city to the No. 2 position. Overall community health was ranked at No. 1, and California enjoys low stress levels, high life expectancy and a great level of oral health, which seems to indicate that dental hygienists are doing a great job.
3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
Like many of the other entrants on our list, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, area is also located in the Bay Area. The 1,420 dental hygienists who live and work in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara region may earn the lowest annual salary on our list ($105,970 per year), but the community is ranked high in terms of community health, education, economy and public safety, which goes to show that money isn’t everything.
4. San Francisco-Oakland, California
Dental hygienists in the San Francisco-Oakland, California, area earn the fourth-place position for community health, education and economy. Their overall salary ($109,100 per year) puts them in the middle of the pack for pay, but other factors, including the state’s low stress levels, high oral health levels and long life expectancy, helps to solidify its place at No. 4.
5. Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, California
The 1,660 dental hygienists in the Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, California, area earn the No. 5 position. While their community’s salaries are somewhat low (they came in eighth with $107,380 per year), the region’s community health, education and economy levels were all ranked No. 4. Public safety was a little lower in the No. 6 position, but the state’s high overall stress, oral health and life expectancy levels help to elevate its overall ranking.
6. Southeast Alaska – nonmetropolitan
It isn’t until the sixth entry in our list that we leave the Golden State and head up to The Last Frontier. Alaska’s boroughs of Juneau, Haines and Hoonah-Angoon may not seem like much of a “city,” and there are only 60 dental hygienists covering the residents in more than 105,000 square miles. Given the seemingly scarce dental hygiene resources, professionals working in that area earn the fourth highest wage in the nation ($109,430). They get bumped down the list a little bit because of the region’s economy, community health and education levels.
7. Santa Barbara, California
We’re back in California for the No. 7 entry on our list. Dental hygienists in Santa Barbara, California, earn an average of $109,430 per year. While the state’s stress, oral health and life expectancy rankings help to elevate it somewhat, it earns its No. 7 position with fairly low rankings in education, economy and community health.
8. North coast, California – nonmetropolitan
Underscoring the reason why money isn’t everything for our rankings, the 150 dental hygienists who live and work in the north coast region of California (specifically, Mendocino County) have the highest salary ($117,630 per year), but the area comes in last place for community health, education and economy. Happily, the state’s low levels of stress, high level of oral health and long life expectancy kept it from sinking even lower in the rankings.
9. Fairbanks, Alaska
Like other dental hygienists in Alaska, those in Fairbanks earned fairly high wages, averaging $110,730 per year. Unfortunately, the community’s position in other rankings-most notably education and economy-help to secure its place in the No. 9 position. And having the lowest public safety score on the list only helped add to that low ranking.
10. Anchorage, Alaska
While, technically, Anchorage, Alaska, comes in 10th place, landing at the end of a list of the 10 best cities for dental hygienists isn’t too shabby. The overall score for the 330 dental hygienists in Anchorage was a contribution of factors, including low community health, education and public safety scores. The community also came in No. 9 in terms of wages, where hygienists earn $106,360 per year.