2013 Dental Hygiene Income: States with 15 to 25 responses

2013 dental hygiene income statistics for Missouri, New Hampshire and Oklahoma.

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Missouri

Responses: 20

Experience levels: 45% of respondents graduated after 2000 (four of eight earn either $33 or $36 an hour), and 20% graduated during the 1970s (the three hourly rates reported were $28, $33, and $41).

Location: 75% of the respondents practice in metropolitan areas, where the most common hourly rates were $33-$35. The most common hourly rates for hygienists in small town/rural settings was $38 or $41.

Annual income trends: 45% work 30 to 35 hours a week. Of this group, 33% projected a 2013 income in the $66,000 to $70,000 range.

Comments about Missouri

  • There are few dental hygiene positions in St. Louis, and when there is an opening you have to compete with over 50 or more hygienists for that position. I always say it's not what you know it's who you know. I'm grateful to have a full-time five days a week position.
  • The area I live in has three hygiene schools within an hour’s drive. I would consider that over saturating the dental hygiene market. Dentist keep wanting to open more schools so they can lower the demand, thus lowering the salary they pay their hygienists.
  • There are no jobs; graduates from a couple of years ago are still looking. There are no full-time positions, maybe one or two part-time jobs a month. I am not happy where I work but I will stay because I do get medical benefits, which I need.
  • Doctors are increasingly relying on dental assistants and asking them to "bend the rules," rather than investing in an educated and licensed dental hygienist.
  • Jobs are very hard to find. There are five dental hygiene school within two hours of St. Louis.
  • In St. Louis, there are two dental hygiene programs graduating 60 hygienists a year and two more programs in the area. I consider myself fortunate to have 13 hours a week employment. I would like to work more hours. My doctor will be retiring soon and I only hope that someone will purchase the practice that the practice will grow and I can increase my hours. I drive a 13-year-old car and live very frugally.
  • A lot of discussion is going around about saturation. What the public and legislators need to realize is that the supervision laws regarding how and when a RDH practices is critically impairing access to care due to a micromanaged profession. Dentists want to be in the populated areas, thus forcing the RDH to only be employed in those areas. Access to care will never go forward until the "thumb" is off this highly educated position. State supervision laws and more level of dental providers is the key to getting our nation out of dental crisis!
  • RDH's articles regarding the economy and the number of dental hygiene programs impact on available hygiene jobs and salaries is on target. I am deeply concerned about the quality of applicants being admitted to hygiene programs. Is the profession gaining individuals who are well educated, innovative change agents, with leadership skills that will contribute to advancing dental hygiene's position in health care? Or, is the profession going backwards with too many programs admitting individuals who meet mimimum qualifications to fill program slots simply to keep their doors open. Until state laws change, to allow more practice settings for dental hygienists, there are only so many available private practice opportunities.

New Hampshire

Responses: 17

Experience levels: 12% of respondents graduated after 2000 (the most common hourly rates are $36-$37), and 29% graduated during the 1990s (the most common hourly rates are $36-$37).

Location: 24% of the respondents practice in metropolitan areas, where the most common hourly rates were $36-$37. The most common hourly rates for hygienists in small town/rural settings was $36-$40 (75%).

Annual income trends: 59% work 30 to 35 hours a week. Of this group, 60% projected a 2013 income in the $56,000 to $60,000 range.

Comments about New Hampshire

  • Too many dentists do not pay sick leave or vacation pay even after many years of working for the same dentist. I believe they keep hiring part time employees to avoid paying for insurance and other benefits.
  • I only work half or less of the hours that I used to. The doctor does most of the prophys himself. Therefore, due to no other hygiene opportunities I am forced to work nights and weekends at other jobs.
  • On average, pay rates have gone down; pay raises are not happening; there are no full time opportunities; and, if there are any part-time openings, there are 100-plus applicants for the job. Some of my colleagues are even expected to leave the office without pay when there are openings in their schedule. Since 2006, when schools started doubling their enrollment, many hygienist have never had the opportunity to practice hygiene due to the market being saturated.
  • Less pay. I was told I am over paid, so I will no longer get any raises, and my pay may be reduced. We no longer have any medical insurance. I see most office's now hiring all part time hygienists. And our work load has increased with less time for each patient. Sadly, I am trying to figure out my next career, as this one has become so stressful.

Oklahoma

Responses: 17

Experience levels: 47% of respondents graduated after 2000 (two earn $38 an hour; four earn a daily rate ranging from $300 to $325 a day), and 29% graduated during the 1980s (the three hourly rates reported were $31 and $34 (twice); both daily rates were under $300).

Location: 64% of the respondents practice in metropolitan areas, where the most common hourly rates were $37-$38. The most common hourly rates for hygienists in small town/rural settings was $31.

Annual income trends: 53% work 30 to 35 hours a week. Of this group, 44% projected a 2013 income in the $66,000 to $70,000 range.

Comments about Oklahoma

  • Not enough jobs in my area for Hygienists. Doctors more concerned about making money than actual patient care or treatment quality. Ethics issues due to insurance coding to increase what a hygienist produces for the office. Unrealistic time allowances for patients in efforts to create more income for office.
  • It appears that the trend is a flat to lower pay scale for clinical hygiene. There is also a trend that after 3-4 years of experience, there is little difference in pay scale for hygienists with more experience or seniority.
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