Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dental hygienists was $76,220 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $53,130 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $103,340.
The top paying industry was the office of dentists, where the median annual salary was $76,510. This is followed by offices of physicians ($72,690) and then the government ($60,390).
Autonomy and Flexibility
The level of autonomy a dental hygienist is likely to be reasonably high as they have control over how they treat patients. However, their decisions may be slightly dictated by the dentist, and by the patient. This autonomy will also increase as dental hygienists gain more experience and knowledge. Flexibility is likely to be slightly higher, as dental hygienists can often decide between full time and part time hours, giving them some control over their schedule.
Locations and commute
According to Zippia, the best states to be a dental hygienist, based on salary and total number of jobs available, were:
- Oregon, where the average annual salary is $71,976
- Washington, where the average annual salary is $69,227
- Arizona, where the average annual salary is $68,685
- Nevada, where the average annual salary is $70,277
- Louisiana, where the average annual salary is $63,336
The worst states for dental assistants are Georgia, Vermont, Maine, Illinois and North Carolina.
93% of dental hygienists in the United States were employed by offices of dentists. 1% were employed by offices of physicians and 1% by the government.
Dental hygienists will wear gear to protect them from infectious diseases and radiation, if taking x rays. Often, dental hygienists will wear safety glasses, surgical masks and gloves to protect themselves.