Pay raises in dental hygiene: A national overview

Forty percent of dental hygienists have not received a pay raise in more than five years, according to a survey conducted by RDH eVillage, prompting more than 80% to indicate that they do not believe raises are awarded at fair intervals.

Forty percent of dental hygienists have not received a pay raise in more than five years, according to a survey conducted by RDH eVillage, prompting more than 80% to indicate that they do not believe raises are awarded at fair intervals.

The economy is at blame as much as stingy employers, though, according to respondents.

One hygienist said, “When the economy is down, people do not have money for hygiene visits, multiple calls and cards don't bring many of them back. As a hygienist, it impossible for me to even consider asking for a raise when I spend days with less than three patients.”

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

However, the perception that doctors pay hygienists within a specific, often capped salary range remains a very strong belief among dental hygienists.

“I have been working as a dental hygienist since 2009 and have never received a raise, despite production numbers that increase or exceed the dentist's expectations, excellent work ethic, and great patient rapport,” a hygienist wrote. “I believe my wage was fair at the time I was hired. But now in 2013, I believe I am underpaid for my position.”

The survey asked dental hygienists to indicate when they last received a raise within the following time frames:

  • 40% said the last raise was more than five years ago
  • 34% said the last raise was more than a year ago
  • 15% said the last raise was within the last 12 months
  • 9% said they have never received a raise

As mentioned above, 82% said raises do not occur at “fair intervals,” and 57% said the raises received are not for a “fair amount” based on “experience, treatment success, and/or contributions to financial success of the dental practice.”

RDH eVillage also asked readers that “if work ethic is reasonably comparable among staff members,” are pay raises awarded fairly among the staff? Only 26% believe pay raises are fair among staff members. If another staff member enjoys an edge over colleagues in earning a pay raise, the survey asked which staff member:

  • 25% said a dental assistant
  • 24% said front desk personnel
  • 17% said an office manager
  • 11% said another hygienist

Upcoming articles based on the survey will consider other demographic factors. RDH eVillage readers can still participate in the survey by clicking here.

Consider reading the results of the RDH eVillage benefits survey

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