Dental Hygienist Starting Salary - How Much do They Make?

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Dental Hygienist Starting Salary: How Much do They Make?

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We can tell that you’re considering to make a career path in the field of dental hygienist, but still unsure about the starting salary of dental hygienist. According to, dental hygienist is one of the few jobs that have a good job outlook until 2020. Therefore, it is understandable that many people start to seriously consider this career option.

What do Dental Hygienists do?

The job description of a dental hygienist typically includes helping the dentist with treatments, educate the patient about the importance of dental hygiene, and most importantly, cleaning the patient’s teeth from plaque, tartar, stains, etc. The actual job may vary depends on which dental office that the dental hygiene is working with.

What Affect Fresh Graduate Dental Hygienist Salary?

There are three main components of determining one’s salary. This is true for almost all occupation, including dental hygienists. These important factors include:

  1. Education

In most states, their Dental Hygienists Association often requires people who want to become a dental hygienist to attend training in dental school for two years. During that time, those with excellent grades and good trainings will certainly get a better salary than those who don’t. Therefore, make sure to pick a dental school that has been accredited by the Federal Government. Another benefit of going to an accredited dental school is that it allows you to receive federal grants such as the Federal Pell Grant and the FSEOG grant. These two grants will open your opportunity on getting more money to cover for your tuition from other sources of funding.

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This also includes certifications and registration in the respective state you’re living in. Dental hygienists who have been certified are called Certified Dental Hygienist (CDH), and those who have been registered are called Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH). Being a CDH or RDH will definitely increase your bargaining position during your job interview (P.S. we have some insider’s secret on how to answer dental hygienist job interview questions!)

  1. Location

Another important factor is the location of your office. It is obvious that those who work in metropolitan area earn more than those in rural areas. What’s more, there seem to be deviation in salary in the states in the U.S. Some states have higher dental hygienist salary average than others.

  1. Experience

As you gain more and more experience, you’re bound to be better at what you do. Dental hygienist with good amount of experience and reputation will certainly earn more than those who have just started their career in the industry.

Dental Hygienist Starting Salary

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With all of those factors mentioned above considered, it is obvious that location would be the foremost factor in determining how much do dental hygienists make as their starting salary.

In United States, the average hourly wage of a dental hygienist is at $32.50, with the highest hourly wage recorded is at $42.21 and the lowest hourly wage of $24.23. There are additional income in the form of tips, overtime work, commission and profit sharing. Annually, an average dental hygienist can earn around $55,000 to $65,000.

That said, if you are a fresh graduate typically you will receive less than that average salary number. As your point of reference, the lowest annual salary of a dental hygienist is at $45,000. It is safe to say that the number would be the starting salary for many dental hygienists in United States.

If you want to know about your state’s average dental hygienist starting salary, drop some comments under and we’ll do the research for you!

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