2013 Dental Hygiene Salary Survey, part 2: A peek at 15 urban areas

The survey results below compared statistics from hygienists with the most responses in the top 15 metropolitan areas.

The dental hygiene salaries in the 15 urban areas profiled below have not changed drastically within the last 12 months.

Nothing new there.

The market still has too many dental hygienists searching for too few jobs.

Nothing new there.

Honestly, the most interesting part about this update in the 2013 RDH eVillage salary survey are the comments from baby boomer hygienists who are heading down the final stretch of their careers. Call them disgruntled if you want to, but they generally don’t project a rosy future for their successors. In fact, some are suggesting a decline in the quality of dental hygiene services.

It’s not the job of Generation Xers, Millennials, etc., to prove to baby boomers that they will take oral health care to the next level. More than likely, they will arise to the task of ensuring that oral care services remain at optimal levels. But how long can they pursue careers with diminishing hours, wages, and benefits, in a market where it’s tough to even start a career?

Godspeed to the future of dental hygienists in the United States.

The survey results below compared statistics from hygienists with the most responses in the top 15 metropolitan areas. There are some urban vs. rural comparisons too.

If you are curious, the most common hourly rate reported from all U.S. metropolitan areas (704 responses out of 1,226 total) is $40 an hour. The most common hourly rate from U.S. hygienists working in small town or rural areas (the remaining 488 hygienists) is $30 an hour.

Upcoming reports based on the 2013 RDH eVillage salary survey will include a state-by-state comparison of dental hygiene salaries. To participate in the survey, click here.

Atlanta

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $40, $30, $35
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $36, $28, $32, $41
  • 18% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $41,000 to $45,000 range, and 18% projected the $26,000 to $30,000 range.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Georgia overall: $30, $35, $40 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Georgia: $40
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Georgia: No clear cut figure, but most were in the $28 to $32 range.

Comments about Atlanta

  • Employment opportunities are at an all time low for my area. I have been a hygienist here for 25 years. Daily, I receive emails and resumes from hygienists both new and experienced basically begging for any hours they can get. Sad for all parties.
  • After practicing for so many years (I really enjoy being a hygienist), it is sad to see the turn for the worse it has taken and how dentists now treat us. They seem to be more interested in getting the cheapest help possible.
  • The Atlanta area is flooded with hygienists; the dentists treat us terribly from my experience, and all the friends I have spoken with in this area say the same. They have reduced hygiene pay for a lot of my friends. For example, I have a friend who has the best paying job that I know of, but when she does not see a hygiene patient her pay is now cut in half when she works on the recall system, etc. One of my hygiene friends is owed a huge sum of back pay from her boss. We have definite problems in Atlanta. The one that really bothers me is the lack of respect that we are due.
  • I've worked for several dentists and it seems like African American dentists pay their hygienists less than their white or Asian colleagues. Salary should reflect years of service as well as performance. Many RDHs in this state take what they can get so they at least have a job. So sad that Georgia is not as progressive as other states around the country.

Boston

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $40, $45, $38, $39
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $38, $40, $39, $45
  • 16% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $61,000 to $65,000 range, and 16% projected the $56,000 to $60,000 range.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Massachusetts overall: $40
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Massachusetts: $40
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Massachusetts: $37, $40 (tie)

Comments about Boston

  • The job market is very tight.
  • The market is now thoroughly saturated with hygienists, and the new graduates get a day here and there with no benefits unless they are very lucky. Forsyth disappointed me by opening another hygiene school in Worcester. A small town like Gardner has a school for hygiene, which is ridiculous; they graduate and can't find work. Not only that the wages are low due to supply and demand. Glad I was in the profession at the best time when we were in demand. I found work with a phone call, no resume required, could name my hours, days, and wages.
  • It is so unfair to new hygienists trying to find a job, and it's a shame how our responsibilities as hygienists have increased, not reflected in our paycheck. The dentists now can hire someone who is "so happy" to land a job. Because there are no jobs, the pay that new hygienists will take is so much lower than what seasoned hygienists make. The handwriting is on the wall, we will only last until we retire... and they'll be happy to replace us for less money. I am very unhappy about this.
  • Fortunately I have not had to search for a job but I hear that they are very difficult to find and no one is hiring full time to avoid paying benefits. Also, hourly salaries are very reduced. I cannot provide numbers because I have not been actively seeking work.

Chicago

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $38, $37, $40
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $38, $37, $39
  • 20% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $41,000 to $45,000 range, followed by 11% in the $36,000 to $40,000 range.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Illinois overall: $38, $40 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Illinois: $38, $40 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Illinois: $27

Comments about Chicago

  • Employment in the Chicago area has begun to pick up. I feel that most offices have seen fewer cancellations and a return to acceptance of periodontal treatment.
  • Haven't had a raise in five years. My hours have gradually been cut. I would not encourage anyone to enter into this profession.
  • Over the past few years (maybe three years, tops) the office has slowed down, many more openings in the schedule. My time has been cut from four days to about 2.5 to three days per week. Patients are coming in for cleanings and either don't need work or are postponing treatment; therefore the dentists schedules are extremely light. Scary light. I fear I may be cut from the staff after being with the office for 18 years. After 30 years in dental hygiene I still love it and don't want to do anything else —nervous about looking for a new job and interviewing after such a long time.
  • Illinois is probably one of the worst states for dental. Most dentists are doing hygiene and not a great need for hygienists. Also, too many hygienists in the area.
  • The office that I work in has seen quite a downturn … patients changing appointments, not rescheduling, etc. I am down at least a full day per pay period. Part of this is due to incompetence at the front desk and a boss who is unwilling to make changes to that position. I have worked in this office for 33 years. It is hard to watch it go down the tubes.
  • Too many hygienists, not enough jobs. I feel sorry for new grads!
  • There are too many hygiene schools in the Chicago suburban area. The suburbs are flooded with unemployed hygienists. This abundance is driving down our salaries. Plus many of the new grads are not completing their school requirements or not passing their board exams. We need to close these poor performing schools.
  • I have been looking for a job since August 2013. My job got so bad; I was not getting paid accordingly. Times are rough and I never thought it would be so bad. Too many hygiene schools, not enough jobs!

Cleveland

  • Most common hourly rate for 2013: $29
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: N/A
  • 25% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $51,000 to $55,000 range, followed by 20% in the $46,000 to $50,000 range.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Ohio overall: $29, $30 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Ohio: $29, $32 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Ohio: $30

Comments about Cleveland

  • Job security and raises are hard to come by. The hygiene market is flooded, and dentists take advantage of that fact. Being paid by the hour with no sick leave or health insurance is ridiculous considering the amount of income and goodwill a good hygienist provides. I would never recommend dental hygiene as a career choice.
  • Boss complains about operating costs increasing steadily while insurance company reimbursement fees stay pretty low.
  • I had been working full time in the same office for 13 years. I've had only $3.50 in raises and topped out at two weeks paid vacation. Just recently, my boss cut my hours to part time and revoked all of my benefits — medical insurance and vacation. The trend is to hire the new grads and push the "higher" paid, more experienced employees out of this office. But there aren't any other employment opportunities here in Cleveland due to an over abundance of hygienists in northeast Ohio.
  • Horrible in Ohio to find a hygiene job with a good salary. I would not recommend this profession!

Links to Other 2013 Salary Survey Articles

Dental Hygiene Salary Survey, part 1: Reduced hours? Maybe not

Regardless of generation, dental hygienists agree about job market

Hygienists strongly believe there are too many hygiene schools, too few jobs

Some final thoughts about the fairness of pay raises awarded to dental hygienists

Job benefits survey, part 4: The 'duh' factor

Pay raises in dental hygiene: A national overview

2013 Dental Hygienist Job Benefits Survey - Part 3

Job benefits for dental hygienists: Part 2

Survey: Dental hygienists scramble for health insurance

Dallas-Fort Worth

  • Most common hourly rate for 2013: $38, $30, $35, $36
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $38, $34, $36
  • 35% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $51,000 to $55,000, followed by 18% in the $61,000 to $65,000 range.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Texas overall: $38
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Texas: $38
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Texas: $36

Comments about Dallas-Fort Worth

  • When budgets are cut, hygienist hours and pay rates are the first to be cut, while the front desk staff, who are not doing anything to help increase production, get raises.
  • Many hygienists still have a difficult time finding a full time job.

Denver

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $40, $37, $38
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $40, $42, $37
  • 21% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $56,000 to $60,000 range, followed by 17% in the $66,000 to $70,000 range.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Colorado overall: $37, $40 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Colorado: $40
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Colorado: $37

Comments about Denver

  • My co-worker is making $43 an hour but has been working here for 11 yrs. I also know that there are hygienists making $35 an hour who are just out of hygiene school and, due to the economy, there are hygienists working for about $38 an hour.

Detroit

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $30, $32, $34
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $30, $31
  • 19% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $21,000 to $25,000 range, followed by 15% in the $31,000 to $35,000 range.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Michigan overall: $30
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Michigan: $30
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Michigan: $30

Comments about Detroit

  • Too many hygiene schools. Need more regulation in this area. A hygiene school within a dental school offers a much more complete education!
  • Our private practice was sold to a corporation of dental offices. This is a growing practice. It also forced a $2 per hour reduction in wages in order to retain my job.
  • Very competitive to find jobs in this area. Very saturated!
  • No full-time positions available. 25-plus years experience and still working nights and weekends to keep my position. No raise in over eight years.
  • I believe there are too many dental hygiene (for profit) schools pumping more graduates than the local market can allow. The economic dip since 2001 and 2008 has kept people from retiring.

Los Angeles

  • Most common hourly rate for 2013: $50
  • Most common daily rates for 2013: $401 to $425
  • Most common daily rates for 2012: $350, $400
  • 15% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $66,000 to $70,000 range, followed by 12% in the $61,000 to $65,000 range and 12% in the $51,000 to $55,000 range.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for California overall: $50
  • Most common daily rates for California overall: $376 to $400
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in California: $50
  • Most common daily rates for metropolitan areas in California: $376 to $400
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in California: $40, $41, $43 (tie)
  • Most common daily rates for small town or rural areas in California: $351 to $400

Comments about Los Angeles

  • Two dentists are offering $225 to $275 a day with unlimited patients, 12-plus and 9-plus hours. Dental assistants are doing scaling and root planing as well as DDS license work. Lack of concern for patient health both medically and dentally. So disappointed.
  • Too many hygienists. Lots of dentists do their own cleaning. Dentists mainly want hygienists who can sell.
  • Salaries seem to be going down over the last five years. Insurance is not covering a reasonable amount of dental care, and patients are very insurance driven.
  • It seems that hygienists’ wage increases have been frozen for the past six years. In the hygiene profession, we seem to reach a plateau, while auxiliaries continue to receive cost of living increases. Fees continue to rise; hygienists salaries remain dormant.
  • Having worked for four decades, I am experiencing the trend toward less remuneration per patient. With no health or pension benefits, this trend will impact the quality of candidates for hygiene positions.
  • Small hygiene schools crowding our area. Hygienists not as skilled as university grads. Flood of people looking for work, driving the salaries down.
  • My final income ends up being much lower. Although I do complain, it doesn't get me anywhere since there are plenty of new grads willing to work for less. I am actually earning less than I was 10 years ago!
  • Still have furlough days.
  • There are few hygiene job offerings in the area. The ones that offer a hygiene job would offer lower compensation than it would 10 years ago.
  • Feeling very blessed in an area that is saturated with dental hygienists and no jobs!
  • The recession hit dentistry hard; bonuses and some benefits were removed and have not returned. Tendency to hire part time vs. full time.

Minneapolis

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $36, $35, $39, $40
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $36, $37
  • 21% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $56,000 to $60,000 range, followed by 21% in the $46,000 to $50,000 range.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Minnesota overall: $33, $35, $36 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Minnesota: $36
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Minnesota: $31, $33 (tie)

Comments about Minneapolis

  • Salaries have dropped to the level I was earning 10 years ago. Can't remember the last time I saw a full-time job posted. Most dentists now hire part-time RDHs to avoid paying benefits. One DDS explained to me that many dentists are reluctant to hire additional staff because they are concerned what ObamaCare will cost them. They would consider working with temps or independent contractors instead of hiring. A large dental group in my area has been replacing their "seasoned" RDHs with recent grads.
  • Raises have stalled the past several years — too many RDHs for current marketplace and economy.
  • Have not had a raise in almost seven years, despite fees raising every chance they get. It is very frustrating to know that you are being paid less than you are worth, and about 20% of what you are producing for the doctor (excluding exam fees).
  • Have not asked for a raise in several years; am afraid DDS would reduce my pay. Heard a large dental corporation cut benefits and drastically reduced pay of their hygienists. There are too many hygienists looking for too few jobs here.
  • Although I attend national seminars and meetings to increase my education and knowledge of the most current concepts in oral health and wellness, I find that it seems to not matter to many dentists. There are few that value the education. In Minnesota, it seems that the quality of education has diminished considerably. I find that the educational programs are of less substance, geared more to graduate "scrapers and polishers," and frankly I guess that reflects demand. Dental hygienists are losing their respect and value as a profession.

New York City

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $40, $42, $37, $45
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $40, $45, $42, $43
  • 15% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $51,000 to $55,000, followed by 9% in four annual income ranges: $41,000 to $45,000; $46,000 to $50,000; $71,000 to $75,000; and $76,000 to $80,000.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for New York overall: $28, $29, $30, $33, $42 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in New York: $30, $40, $42 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in New York: $25, $28 (tie)

Comments about New York City

  • I am often told how lucky I am to have a job in this economy. So strange, though, because I have very little downtime and have been very busy, and so have the doctors. There are very few jobs in the area where I live, and an abundance of dental hygienists that are looking for work.
  • I have not received an increase in wages in six years. Yet, my rent, etc., has increased four times in six years. I receive no benefits, vacation, sick days, and definitely no health insurance. I put such energy, passion, and zeal into my work and have nothing to show for it. To make matters worse, the choices of good offices are almost nil. I would never recommend dental hygiene. I love dental hygiene, but the profession is painful.
  • I have not gotten a raise in nine years. I work approximately 10 hours daily — no overtime, of course. My employer has stopped giving bonuses a few years ago. He has cut our sick days, and now we pay 30% of our medical. I have been with him over 30 years. I know this will not change. He is on his third marriage, and everything is for him.
  • I work full time and receive four weeks vacation and one week personal. I have health benefits, and my employer is generous in helping with deductibles. I feel like I am in the minority; most of my hygienist friends in other practices in New Jersey do not necessarily have the same benefits. I am very grateful.
  • The trend in my area is salaries that stay the same yet the fees we charge go up every year.
  • In the area that I work, I find dentists are willing to pay my desired rate for a professional, experienced hygienist. However, I have noted that the same cannot be said if I drive outside the county. Friends of mine are working for $10 per hour less, and they work about 10 minutes away from my office.

Philadelphia

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $33, $36, $38
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $35, $36
  • 23% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $41,000 to $45,000 range, followed by 12% each in three annual income ranges: $46,000 to $50,000; $61,000 to $65,000; and $76,000 to $80,000.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Pennsylvania overall: $28, $30 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Pennsylvania: $33
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Pennsylvania: $28, $29 (tie)

Comments about Philadelphia

  • I am an independent contractor. I work for several different dental agencies doing temporary dental hygiene. My work is inconsistent and hourly rates can vary by $1 or $2. For the last few years, it has been extremely slow throughout the entire dental profession. I think this is due to economy and insurance companies dictating treatment. Every dental professional I come across is in agreement.
  • I've been in the same pediatric office for over 20 years and in the last few years the dentists at our office have begun to allow assistants to do "supra gingival scaling" on some patients.
  • The market is overcrowded for hygienists in our area. If insurance companies would reimburse for more adjunct preventative services, I think we could increase overall production and services. We also need to find a better way to enlighten patients that they truly need these services. Creating a necessary need in the patient's mind is the biggest obstacle overall. Many women will spend lots of time and money on their hair and nails and various beauty products — more than they will on their mouth — and they don't even have insurance for hair, nail, beauty products, etc.!
  • Fee-for-service practices in this area are struggling. I have a few RDH friends who have been laid off or hours cut. Very sad to see!
  • No raise for seven years. My main job with benefits is very unsecure right now. I have been sent home countless days with no recourse. Temp work is extremely slow in Philadelphia area. Cannot recommend dental hygiene as a career at this time.
  • In my area, there are several dental hygiene schools. There are no jobs available. The market is saturated and I hear of salaries dropping sometimes by about $10 an hour. I don't know if this is totally due to saturation or insurance acceptance.
  • I have not received a raise in over three years, but happy to have a job in an office where quality work is done.

Phoenix

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $40, $42, $37
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $40, $42
  • 71% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in one of four annual income ranges (the income groups were evenly divided): $41,000 to $45,000; $56,000 to $60,000; $71,000 to $75,000; and $76,000 to $80,000.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Arizona overall: $40
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Pennsylvania: $40
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Pennsylvania: $38, $41, $42 (tie)

Comments about Phoenix

  • Lately, if the schedule falls apart, the hygienists are being told to come in late or leave early. On a few occasions, the two hygienists’ schedules have been condensed by shortening appointment times to accommodate only one hygienist.
  • I recently read an article that the average hygienist in Arizona is 47 and there will be a large need for hygienists in 10 to 15 years. This is probably a huge statistic that schools are using to open more hygiene programs (trade schools). Hygienists cannot find a job in Phoenix. The profession is flooded. I am 54 and have saved for retirement since I began working and do not see retirement in the near future. Something needs to be done about schools popping up on every corner and the inadequate education, which is prevalent in our profession now.
  • Our market in Phoenix is oversaturated with hygienists. There have been several new tech colleges that have opened and graduated their first RDH classes in the past two years. This has saturated the area with hygienists searching for employment. There are many new hygienists out of work; many dentists prefer a hygienist with experience. On the other hand, new hygienists out of school are taking substantial cuts in pay just to get hired. This further negates the standard low hygiene wage in the Phoenix area. I recently spoke with a hygienist who took a job for $32 an hour just to get the job, without benefits.

San Francisco-Oakland

  • Most common hourly rate for 2013: 38% said they earn more than $56 an hour, the highest option available on the survey. Our apologies for not offering additional options.
  • Most common daily rates for 2013: 50% said they earn more than $450 daily, the highest option available on the survey. Our apologies for not offering additional options.
  • Most common daily rates for 2012: $400, $450, $425
  • 18% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $91,000 to $95,000 range, followed by 14% in the $61,000 to $65,000 range.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for California overall: $50
  • Most common daily rates for California overall: $376 to $400
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in California: $50
  • Most common daily rates for metropolitan areas in California: $376 to $400
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in California: $40, $41, $43 (tie)
  • Most common daily rates for small town or rural areas in California: $351 to $400

Comments about San Francisco-Oakland

  • I used to get a yearly review and salary increase. But since the economy has slowed down, I haven't had a raise in two years, and the previous increase was two years before that.
  • I used to work two full days a week. Now, with a new doctor, the practice is struggling. I have holes in my schedule and the doctor is not paying me if I am not working. She is also doing a lot of the prophys herself. I would look for another job, but there are none.
  • Salaries are going down in our area. Too many hygienists.
  • Too many new grads are taking less pay, which is bringing the pay rate down. I have not received a raise since I started working in 2005.
  • The trend in my area is for dental offices to hire new dentists to do the hygiene for them instead of hygienists. There are very few jobs for hygienists now and yet the two local hygiene schools still graduate about 40 students every year, thereby flooding the market. The employers are offering less money to the new dental school graduates, and there is high unemployment in dental hygiene. The patients, of course, are not aware of this and may be getting a reduced level of care. As much as I love hygiene, I cannot recommend it to anyone looking to enter the field since there is very little chance of getting employment in this area.
  • In the current market, raises are nonexistent, and there is a feeling of "be happy that you have a job." Newly graduated RDHs will work for salaries that I made 10 years ago. A lot of new dentists are taking RDH jobs for a lower salary. Their cleanings tend to be fast and incomplete.

Seattle

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $43, $44
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $42, $44
  • 20% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $61,000 to $65,000 range, followed by 15% who anticipate earning more than $100,000 in 2013.

Compared to the rest of the state

  • Most common hourly rate for Washington overall: $45
  • Most common hourly rate for metropolitan areas in Washington: $43, $44, $45 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for small town or rural areas in Washington: $38, $40, $45 (tie)

Comments about Seattle

  • Tragic times in dental hygiene. It's a part-time job with no benefits and no respect. Patients and dentists only see us as "teeth cleaners." It's all about factory dentistry. Those who are not dental hygienists tell us how to do our jobs. It's disgraceful. I live with the burning passion to educate and practice dental hygiene.
  • In my office, my doctor has opted to do no hygiene. So at this time we perform eight hygiene days to his four days of dentistry. I would say our hygiene schedule is 98% full daily and my doctor’s schedule is 80% to 85% full daily.
  • The dental hygiene job market is flat in our area. As new full-time jobs are scarce, many hygienists are finding the need to work several part-time jobs or add temp hours if they can find them to supplement their incomes. I personally have not had a raise in three years and have suffered a loss of income as my hours have been cut in my primary practice as the number of hygiene patient visits has dwindled.
  • I have lost around 14 hours a week between both jobs, which is a significant amount of income per month, and I find that oversaturation of new graduates, the economy, and dentists feeling hygienists are overpaid have been contributing factors. But it’s almost like they are thrilled to be able to lower wages and take away any benefits, yet the production hasn't suffered significantly. I'm just working harder, faster, longer. The patients are the ones who suffer. There is certainly no personal gratification in that. I've been a hygienist for over 35 years, and up until now have always loved my job. Now retirement looks pretty good.
  • It's hard to find full time here, and WDS decreased their payout, so pay rates for hygienists are not increasing anytime soon. There's way too many hygienists here and there is little demand. The schools here allow way too many students into the program (in my opinion). There are also too many dentists, so few dentists work five days a week.
  • Quality of temps that we hire when I am on vacation — downhill. They don't document, and they can't detect calculus. There seem to be more new grads who can’t find work.

Washington, D.C.

  • Most common hourly rates for 2013: $50
  • Most common hourly rates for 2012: $45, $44, $48, $50
  • 24% projected their 2013 annual income from dental hygiene would fall in the $ $56,000 to $60,000 range, followed by 18% who anticipate earning $61,000 to $65,000 range.

Compared to Maryland and Virginia

  • Most common hourly rate for Maryland overall: $38, $41, $42 (tie)
  • Most common hourly rate for Virginia overall: $50

Comments about Washington, D.C.

  • Can anyone accurately predict what lies ahead for dental hygienists?
  • Due to our government troubles, I may lose my job because dentistry is very slow.
  • Our office hasn't seen a raise in six years even though it is a large practice averaging $150,000 per month in production.
  • We are a highly paid area, though raises have ceased since 2009 because of the economic downturn.
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