RDH eVillage Salary Survey, Part 2: The national not-The-View view

Sept. 21, 2012
Part 2 notes a decrease in hour rates for dental hygienists.

The first part of the 2012 salary survey focused on the “kids” — dental hygiene graduates who entered the workforce after the Great Recession slowed down the economy starting in December 2007. While we are glad the kids are all right, we have to wonder if they did help deflate dental hygiene salaries, because statistics indicate a decrease of $7.61 an hour among hygienists who earn an hourly rate.

Many hygienists report that a surplus of dental hygiene schools have had a negative effect on earnings, implying that recent graduates accept less pay in a desperate attempt to land a job. The decrease reported above should not serve as a confirmation of a downward trend in hourly rates. Hygienists from areas with traditionally higher earnings (and higher costs of living) were likely “outvoted” in the RDH eVillage survey by hygienists from areas with lower wages and a lower cost of living.

After all, the daily rate in the 2012 survey enjoyed a bump in pay — approximately $16 a day.

READ:Similar data from the 2011 RDH eVillage Salary survey
READ:Similar data from the 2010 RDH eVillage Salary survey

But this national view of dental hygiene incomes does contrast with that of ABC’s daytime talk program, “The View,” which incurred the wrath of dental hygienists last summer by implying a fabulous salary could be earned in dental hygiene without a college education.

The numbers are down. Almost 80% of dental hygienists report their income in terms of an hourly rate that is agreed upon with an employer. In 2012, the average hourly rate for American dental hygienists is $34.40. In 2010, the average rate nationally was $42.01.

• 18% earn between $20 and $29 an hour
• 51% earn between $30 and $39 an hour
• 26% earn between $40 and $49 an hour
• 5% earn more than $50 an hour

As mentioned above, though, hygienists who report earnings in terms of a daily rate enjoyed an increase from $323 in 2011 to $329 a day in 2012.

• 19% earn $250 a day or less
• 51% earn between $255 and $395 a day
• 30% earn more than $400 a day.

Upcoming issues of RDH eVillage will offer a state-by-state breakdown on hourly rates and daily rates.

Dental hygienists can participate in the survey by clicking here.

The charts below provide additional insights about the national view of such job issues as pay raises, benefits, and the economy.

About the Author

Mark Hartley

Mark Hartley is the editor of RDH magazine and collaborates with Kristine Hodsdon on many of the articles for RDH eVillage, which also appear on DentistryIQ.com.