2016 RDH eVillage salary survey, part 3: State-by-state comparison of hourly rates

Ten percent of American dental hygienists earn $40 an hour, according to the 2016 RDH eVillage salary survey.

Oct 13th, 2016
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Ten percent of American dental hygienists earn $40 an hour, according to the 2016 RDH eVillage salary survey. The $40-an-hour rate was the common hourly rate in 2015 too.

Most common hourly rates for dental hygienists in the United States

201620152014
$40 (10%)$35 (8%)$35 (10%)
$35 (8%)$40 (8%)$30 (8%)
$30 (7%)$32 (7%)$40 (8%)
$36 (7%)$36 (7%)$36 (7%)
$32 (6%)$38 (7%)$32 (6%)
$34 (5%)$34 (6%)$34 (6%)
$38 (5%)$33 (5%)$37 (5%)
$42 (5%)$37 (5%)$38 (5%)

Overall, 2,538 dental hygienists participated in the survey. The links at the end of this article provide specific information about hourly rates in every state as well as selected cities.

Also, in 2015, 27% of dental hygienists reported receiving a pay raise. Other responses to a question about pay raises included:

  • 23% last received a raise one to two years ago.
  • 18% last received a raise three to five years ago.
  • 20% last received a raise more than five years ago.

A California dental hygienist commented, “Dentists want to pay the salaries from 10 years ago, but add more job duties.”

A Virginia dental hygienist added, “I believe salaries have not improved much, especially when some dentists have actually increased the number of patients on the daily schedule. There are also more dentists hiring temporarily through employment agencies, hence temporary hygienists are more likely to be short changed while still carrying the same work load as regular hygienists, if not more.”

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The salary survey did ask dental hygienists about their perceptions regarding employment opportunities in their areas. Hygienists were asked if it was “easy” or “difficult” to find jobs. While 25% were unsure, 63% said it was “difficult” and 12% said it was “easy” to find a job.

A Michigan hygienist commented, “It’s virtually impossible to find work in this area, within 75 miles of my home. It took me three years to find a job in one office that offered more than two days a week.”

The hygienist, who indicated she was between 40 and 51 years old, added, “Sixteen years ago, I was making $6 more per hour, plus commission. Now, I am responsible for my job duties and scheduling/filling any cancellations for the next day. I rarely get to leave within two hours of dismissing my last patient. Boss says there are plenty of people who want my job, so take it or leave it.”

Please note that the list of states below includes some with a reference to a metropolitan area. If you’re curious about a metropolis that straddles two or more states, check the statistics for an adjacent state that may include hourly rates for the specific city. The statistics for a city incorporate hourly rates for all hygienists within a metropolitan area regardless of the state.

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