2017 RDH eVillage Annual Salary Survey, part 4: The stats from Florida to Maine

The fourth part of the RDH eVillage salary survey examines employment statistics in eastern states.

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The decision was made to include Alabama with eastern states in a division of the country for the final three parts of the RDH eVillage salary survey for 2017. Alabama, which still utilizes preceptorship training for dental hygienists, ended up with 27% of its dental hygiene work force earning less than $20 an hour. In contrast, about the same percentage of hygienists in Virginia and Maryland earn more than twice what they do in Alabama.

For obvious reasons, though, Alabama hygienists seldom complain about the proliferation of dental hygiene schools, a common concern among other eastern states.

Overall, 2,126 dental hygienists participated in the salary survey. The arbitrary division of the United States for this installment of the salary survey articles basically just followed the Mississippi River up to the Ohio River and turned east.

In an upcoming issue, we will profile the Midwest in this order: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota. Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The final article will feature Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

To view previous articles about the 2017 salary survey, click here.

Click on any of the links below for a shortcut to the data for the eastern state you would like to examine.


Alabama

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Kentucky

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Mississippi

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Tennessee

Virginia

Vermont

West Virginia


Alabama

(data below based on information supplied by 25 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 56%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 12%
  • Master’s degree: 4%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 16%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 16%
  • More than 30 hours: 68%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 24%
  • Difficult: 52%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 32%
  • One to two years ago: 20%
  • Three to five years ago: 12%
  • More than five years ago: 12%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 8%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 32%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 48%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 8%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 4%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 80%
  • Daily rate: 4%
  • Annual salary: 20%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 12%

Most common hourly rates

  • Under $20: 27%
  • $22: 18%
  • $25: 18%

Selected comments from Alabama respondents

  • Very discouraged with having to settle for less income as a dental hygienist due to Alabama having the preceptorship program. I've made the same $20/hr in the last 10 years of working with three different offices. We are told bonuses make up for raises, which isn't true since bonuses vary and aren't enough to depend on as steady income. The first office that hired me only paid $15/hr. Someone with an associate’s degree makes the same as a preceptor although we have more in-depth educational and clinical training. The preceptors I've talked with acknowledge they aren't comfortable treating patients with perio dz & scaling below the gumline in general due to not having the clinical training. AL needs to rethink the preceptor program so hygienists get the training and respect they and their patients need and deserve. Only at that time will we be able to have more independence and be able to work at expecting a higher pay scale. Dental hygiene is flooded in AL due to the ADHP program that is misrepresented as a UAB program of study.
  • Being an out-of-state hygienist in Alabama is very difficult. I plan to leave the field. I am paid on the high end at $26.50 hourly. There are no benefits. When I asked for a raise, the response is, "Well, this is Alabama." I've opted to do temp work only to remain proficient. We can't administer anesthesia or analgesia, or utilize lasers. We're very limited in scope. It really isn't worth it.
  • There are no specific benefits at my office. Uniforms are provided quarterly. Easy to get time off. Frequent lunches and special appreciation occasions. Small older husband and wife owner practice.

Connecticut

(data below based on information supplied by 36 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 58%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 33%
  • Master’s degree: 3%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 22%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 30%
  • More than 30 hours: 47%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 3%
  • Difficult: 80%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 14%
  • One to two years ago: 30%
  • Three to five years ago: 39%
  • More than five years ago: 8%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 6%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 11%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 11%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 8%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 11%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 26%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 17%
  • $81,000 to $90,000: 6%
  • $91,000 to $100,000: 3%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 92%
  • Daily rate: 0%
  • Annual salary: 3%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 8%

Most common hourly rates

  • $36: 12%
  • $37: 9%
  • $38: 12%
  • $40: 18%
  • $41: 15%

Selected comments from Connecticut respondents

  • Much more competition for job openings as more graduate from new hygiene programs.
  • 10 years ago, I made $40 an hour working for the same dentist They want dental hygienists to work challenging hours. They want to see it at seven. Many offices want you to work past 6 o'clock at night plus weekends. Not a flattering schedule when you have children. Many hygienists in our area work two or three offices. Many, many holes in the schedule which we go in late and leave early.
  • I am concerned about what appears to be a generalized disenchantment in the field as well as saturation.
  • I work two days/wk and have been looking for 1-2 more days. The number of hygienists applying for one position reduces the salary potential. I find I am one of, on average, 40 to 60 applicants for any single position. One job I had a working interview with, the doctor hired someone right out of school for $18/hr less than I currently make. The doctor frankly told me he would hire me if I could accept that much less per hour.
  • When I graduated from dental hygiene school, we were told that our earnings should reflect 1/3 of our production. I am now earning slightly less than 1/4 of my hourly production.
  • Most jobs in the area right now are part-time positions without benefits. Getting raises is becoming increasingly difficult for myself and colleagues.

Delaware

(data below based on information supplied by nine respondents)

Most common hourly rates

  • $35: 38%
  • $36: 38%
  • $37: 25%
  • $38: 25%

Selected comments from Delaware respondents

  • Not many jobs available in Delaware.
  • I receive very good benefits which includes 401K and paid vacation days also, as well as some holidays off which is also paid for.

Florida

(data below based on information supplied by 86 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 73%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 20%
  • Master’s degree: 5%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 8%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 29%
  • More than 30 hours: 63%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 13%
  • Difficult: 55%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 29%
  • One to two years ago: 29%
  • Three to five years ago: 14%
  • More than five years ago: 19%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 8%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 7%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 8%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 29%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 26%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 14%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 6%
  • $81,000 to $90,000: 1%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 78%
  • Daily rate: 15%
  • Annual salary: 8%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 9%

Most common hourly rates

  • $28: 7%
  • $30: 14%
  • $31: 9%
  • $32: 9%
  • $33: 6%
  • $34: 17%
  • $35: 11%
  • $38: 7%

70% of those reporting daily rates said the rates range from $200 a day to $275 a day

Selected comments from Florida respondents

  • It is horrible for us in Florida. No benefits unless you work for a big company or hospital
  • Many offices in the area pay hourly and offer few or no benefits. Oftentimes the schedule is manipulated or condensed so that the hygienist must clock out early or come back only if there is a warm body in the chair—a sad representation of our profession here in Florida.
  • I recently called dental staffing which is a temp or perm job placement office. They told me the hourly rate is now only $29-30 for temping and when I used to temp 10 years ago it was average $32. At my job of 20 years we have only had benefits taken away. If I could go back I would have been an RN!
  • Pay vs production is low. I work way more hours than paid for. We are only allowed be paid 32 hrs, when most weeks we work 34-35!
  • I will never work for a corporate dental office ever again. Patients are treated as dollar signs and selling products was a major role that I had to play.
  • Miami is a very saturated market for dental hygiene, and the pay is not great!
  • Looking for other scope of work. The market for a hygienist is horrible, at least in Miami. I have been a hygienist for 14 years and I got a pay raise once for 2 dollars seven years ago. No benefits, no days off, no paid holidays. It is not worth all the effort I give to my job and my patients.
  • Current annual average salary for a full time RDH is the same as it was in 2007, $55,000 per year. 10 years ago, an RDH worked 32 hours and received benefits, and the cost of living was far less than it is today. RDHs now work five days a week, many without benefits, and have a much higher cost of living.

Georgia

(data below based on information supplied by 53 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 53%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 40%
  • Master’s degree: 6%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 21%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 17%
  • More than 30 hours: 60%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 19%
  • Difficult: 57%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 32%
  • One to two years ago: 32%
  • Three to five years ago: 11%
  • More than five years ago: 15%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 8%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 6%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 15%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 15%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 19%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 17%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 12%
  • $81,000 to $90,000: 2%
  • $91,000 to $100,000: 2%
  • More than $100,000: 4%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 72%
  • Daily rate: 13%
  • Annual salary: 6%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 26%

Most common hourly rates

  • $29: 10%
  • $30: 8%
  • $31: 8%
  • $32: 13%
  • $33: 11%
  • $35: 11%
  • $40: 11%

36% of those reporting daily rates said the rates range from $275 a day to $300 a day

Selected comments from Georgia respondents

  • The area I work in is saturated with hygienists due to several schools in the area. Employers are trending on hiring younger hygienists fresh out of school that will work for lower hourly salaries and less benefit requirements over experience.
  • I was told 26 years ago by my boss that I was salaried and would always get paid if patient came or not. When the economy went bad a few years ago he changed his mind and started docking my pay if more than one patient a day doesn't come. When I complained, he basically said hygienists are a dime a dozen and I knew where the door was. I kept my job at the hourly rate only because my office is a mile from my house, so I have no commute. So sad that my boss doesn't respect me more than that even though I had been with his office for 21 years at the time. He also has several family members that are hygienists so he doesn't care how he treats me. I am sadly holding on until I can retire.
  • I wish that hygiene offered more variety. I think it is shameful that hygiene does not offer the benefit packages that other careers do such as retirement and insurance.
  • I hold an AL and GA hygiene license. I have been to dental assisting school and hygiene school with a total of seven years in the field now. My last assisting job paid $19/hr and I have been disappointed to see that hygiene isn't much of an increase in my area. Finding work near Columbus is very difficult due to the market being oversaturated here since we have a hygiene school.
  • There are a lot of jobs available but these offices are offering very low rate of pay and very short appointment times for hygiene.
  • I have been trying to transition from a Correctional Facility job back into private practice for a year. I have over 30 years of experience and I cannot get a dentist to hire me. I am willing to relocate to a metropolitan area and still have had no offers.

Kentucky

(data below based on information supplied by 24 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 63%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 25%
  • Master’s degree: 12%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 8%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 33%
  • More than 30 hours: 54%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 21%
  • Difficult: 58%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 33%
  • One to two years ago: 38%
  • Three to five years ago: 17%
  • More than five years ago: 13%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 4%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 4%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 25%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 33%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 29%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 4%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 92%
  • Daily rate: 8%
  • Annual salary: 4%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 0%

Most common hourly rates

  • $28: 14%
  • $30: 23%
  • $31: 23%
  • $32: 14%

Selected comments from Kentucky respondents

  • I do receive benefits, but I started with this office and have been there 30 years. I hear repeatedly how we are overpaid! I make $26 an hour.
  • I get paid vacation for three weeks because I've been there over three years. My dental work and my family's is paid for, except for lab fees. Paid time off accrues two hours a month for illness. No benefits carry over if unused. Taking into account benefits when soliciting salary info is a game changer. I worked in the same office for 20 years and got no paid time off. Another office paid for half of my CEUs and license.

Maine

(data below based on information supplied by 15 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 73%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 20%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • 20 to 29 hours: 27%
  • More than 30 hours: 73%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 0%
  • Difficult: 67%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 33%
  • One to two years ago: 27%
  • Three to five years ago: 6%
  • More than five years ago: 6%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • $31,000 to $40,000: 20%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 20%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 33%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 13%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 13%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 80%
  • Daily rate: 0%
  • Annual salary: 13%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 7%

Most common hourly rates

  • $29: 23%
  • $32: 23%
  • $38: 15%

Maryland

(data below based on information supplied by 45 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 58%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 38%
  • Master’s degree: 4%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 18%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 29%
  • More than 30 hours: 53%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 13%
  • Difficult: 56%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 36%
  • One to two years ago: 24%
  • Three to five years ago: 18%
  • More than five years ago: 11%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 9%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 2%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 2%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 16%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 20%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 23%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 14%
  • $81,000 to $90,000: 7%
  • $91,000 to $100,000: 5%
  • More than $100,000: 2%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 93%
  • Daily rate: 9%
  • Annual salary: 4%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 4%

Most common hourly rates

  • $40: 12%
  • $41: 17%
  • $42: 10%
  • $43: 12%
  • $45: 14%
  • $47: 10%

Selected comments from Maryland respondents

  • The only reason I received a raise in the last year was due to finding a new job. It took three years to find a new office.
  • We have several dental hygiene programs that have opened over the last few years. This is causing the market to be flooded with new hygienists competing with seasoned hygienists for the few jobs that are available.
  • Only got a raise because I threatened to quit
  • Maryland has added many dental hygiene schools over the last 5-7 years. There were three schools in the state and now there are at least seven. Too many graduates cannot find full-time work so are forced to work multiple offices with no benefits and working part-time.
  • Fewer and fewer full-time job opportunities. More dentists are hiring two hygienists part-time to avoid paying benefits.

Massachusetts

(data below based on information supplied by 50 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 76%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 18%
  • Master’s degree: 4%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 22%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 22%
  • More than 30 hours: 54%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 16%
  • Difficult: 52%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 28%
  • One to two years ago: 30%
  • Three to five years ago: 28%
  • More than five years ago: 8%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 10%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 2%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 12%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 10%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 10%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 22%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 24%
  • $81,000 to $90,000: 10%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 90%
  • Daily rate: 2%
  • Annual salary: 8%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 10%

Most common hourly rates

  • $38: 19%
  • $40: 23%
  • $41: 13#
  • $42: 13%

Selected comments from Massachusetts respondents

  • I don't like unions but due to the lack of benefits such health Insurance, how long it has been since i received a raise, and the balancing act between production and quality of care, at times I think they might be helpful.
  • I think hourly rates are higher if there are no benefits. I am shifting down from full time to part time, but I still have a nice benefit package. (vacation, holidays, sick pay and 401k).
  • Too many hygienists in my area resulting in lower pay and less jobs.

Mississippi

(data below based on information supplied by six respondents)

Most common hourly rates

  • $26: 80%

New Hampshire

(data below based on information supplied by 16 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 56%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 37%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 6%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 19%
  • More than 30 hours: 75%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 7%
  • Difficult: 80%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 25%
  • One to two years ago: 25%
  • Three to five years ago: 6%
  • More than five years ago: 31%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 6%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 6%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 19%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 6%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 37%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 25%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 100%
  • Daily rate: 0%
  • Annual salary: 0%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 0%

Most common hourly rates

  • $36: 19%
  • $38: 19%
  • $39: 13%
  • $40: 25%

Selected comments from New Hampshire respondents

  • We have more hygienists than jobs. The dentists and insurance companies worked together to flood our market with expanding the hygiene programs in our state to saturate the market. Now hygienists who graduate have no jobs to go into. I am lucky to have had my employment for 16 years and have built value in my position. I would find it difficult to find new employment elsewhere in NH.
  • It's been nine years since my last raise. I have been practicing 15 years. It's very frustrating that In the last nine years I have gone back for my bachelor's degree and received my certification for local anesthesia and nitrous oxide and still make the exact same as I did nine years ago. 2003 started at $32 per hour; 2017 currently at $36.50 per hour.
  • The AHCA has really affected the dental industry in the area. People spending money on medical expenses instead of dental.

New Jersey

(data below based on information supplied by 65 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 62%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 35%
  • Master’s degree: 2%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 18%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 34%
  • More than 30 hours: 48%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 19%
  • Difficult: 56%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 26%
  • One to two years ago: 26%
  • Three to five years ago: 15%
  • More than five years ago: 20%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 6%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 11%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 8%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 6%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 21%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 25%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 6%
  • $91,000 to $100,000: 1%
  • More than $100,000: 3%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 92%
  • Daily rate: 0%
  • Annual salary: 5%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 9%

Most common hourly rates

  • $38: 11%
  • $40: 23%
  • $41: 8%
  • $42: 16%
  • $43: 8%
  • $44: 11%
  • $45: 18%

Selected comments from New Jersey respondents

  • Too many practices are demanding more production at the expense of patient care. It is disheartening. Attention to detail with FM probing, OCS, hands-on OHI, and offering important information to patients is not always valued. As an educator in a hygiene program and as a clinical RDH in various settings, I have had the opportunity to see the “good, the bad & the ugly.” I love what I do. And, I hope that RDHs everywhere can understand that we are not just tooth cleaners. This perception must be eliminated. RDHs and the dental/medical community must be collaborators in providing health care.
  • Before taking a dental hygiene position, clarify your benefits. Some offices do not pay for legal holidays, pay only if the day you work falls on a holiday, and some do not pay for continuing education. Make sure that you have vacation time and sick leave. You may also want to clarify what happens when the office is open on a snow day or when the dentist takes off on a day that you normally work.
  • Do not know of any other office in area that has full-time hygienists with benefits (vacation, sick time ,401k, uniforms, and updated new equipment).
  • 95% of dentists are incredibly cheap and risk losing outstanding employees due to salary & other compensation issues (specifically, providing medical insurance and reasonable paid time off.)
  • Very few full-time opportunities, but I see many part-time jobs advertised in the Jersey Shore area. Had a bonus system, but doctor discontinued it over one year ago.
  • Doctors are cheap. They are stingy when they hire dental hygienist. Doctors don't want to give benefits, raises, paid vacations and holiday pay but yet they want the world from your performance. Have they forgotten who makes a big amount of their income for them? We need more considerate/ professional dentist in this world who treat dental hygienists with professionalism and respect. I don't recommend this profession to anyone.

New York

(data below based on information supplied by 110 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 76%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 16%
  • Master’s degree: 5%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 13%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 31%
  • More than 30 hours: 54%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 15%
  • Difficult: 44%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 28%
  • One to two years ago: 29%
  • Three to five years ago: 25%
  • More than five years ago: 12%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 8%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 5%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 15%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 17%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 24%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 17%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 6%
  • $81,000 to $90,000: 1%
  • $91,000 to $100,000: 3%
  • More than $100,000: 3%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 90%
  • Daily rate: 4%
  • Annual salary: 7%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 9%

Most common hourly rates

  • $27: 5%
  • $29: 7%
  • $30: 9%
  • $33: 5%
  • $35: 7%
  • $38: 5%
  • $40: 14%
  • $42: 13%
  • $45: 5%

Selected comments from New York respondents

  • Buffalo area is very low for pay. Very disappointing. I assume I will never make over $30 an hour in my whole career.
  • I worked for 23 years with my prior employer until his retirement. The office was acquired by a group practice. The new employers require the hygienists to clock out during open or cancellation down time. The front desk will move patients already scheduled by a hygienist six months prior to another hygienist as to fill her schedule and then send one home. It is nothing to arrive at work with a full schedule and have two cancel before lunch and be sent home for three hours. Most of the hygienists don’t live nearby and often end up hanging out in their car. I have awful feelings towards my new employers as I don’t feel valued the same as I was with my prior employer. I understand that there are a lot of hygienists working at one time and all the holes in the schedule add up and etc., but is this appropriate? I feel not only unvalued, but also that my time is being wasted. A large majority of my loyal patients don’t want to be put off to another hygienist as they have seen only me the past 23 years. I often consider looking for another position in a smaller practice.
  • For the last six years up until recently that the Doctor retired and sold the practice, my hourly rate was a little lower but I was getting three weeks vacation, one week sick and three snow days, as well as a bonus of about $800 at the end of the year. I was working 3 days a week. Hard to find employers who offer any type of benefit. It’s definitely worth the lower hourly pay rate.
  • The jobs are still hard to find with the local college graduating RDHs yearly, and 99% of offices hire only part-time.
  • It used to be a great job market for hygienists, but now that we've had a DH program in the area for probably eight or nine years now, the job market is terrible for us. There is a glut of hygienists with no increase in dentists to soak up the increased output. Now it is a "dentists market." Being an older hygienist (age 58, practicing for 38 years), I'm praying I can physically make it to my full retirement age of 66 and 10 months with my current employer. I live in fear of losing this job and being out in the terrible market we have. I have a PT job with a non-profit. It's a job that I love! It is my dream job! I took a huge pay cut but consider it the sacrifice I've had to make to finally have a job I love. When I started this newest job, my hourly wage went down to $26 per hour from $33 which I was making at another nonprofit. I went backwards 10 years in pay. I also have fewer benefits than the last job, but at least I have retirement, pro-rated vacation and pro-rated personal leave. Fortunately, at this stage in our lives, money is not as tight.
  • My practice was recently sold to a corporation and they wanted to change my pay scale from an hourly to 24% of production which would have been a huge pay cut. I had to negotiate to keep my hourly rate for now. They said they would renegotiate in a few months so I'm waiting to see what happens.

North Carolina

(data below based on information supplied by 41 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 90%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 8%
  • Master’s degree: 0%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 10%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 20%
  • More than 30 hours: 65%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 24%
  • Difficult: 49%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 30%
  • One to two years ago: 20%
  • Three to five years ago: 28%
  • More than five years ago: 8%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 10%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 10%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 8%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 10%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 30%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 23%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 8%
  • $81,000 to $90,000: 3%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 90%
  • Daily rate: 10%
  • Annual salary: 3%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 10%

Most common hourly rates

  • $30: 11%
  • $32: 14%
  • $33: 11%
  • $34: 11%
  • $35: 25%
  • $38: 11%

Selected comments from North Carolina respondents

  • I will add that in the office I work in there are 12 paid days off in addition to the mandatory government paid days off. However, there are no other benefits such as insurance allowance or a 401k. The 401k is the most important benefit, in my opinion. I discussed this with my employer over two years ago. The result has been nothing. I feel I give 110% and have never been reprimanded and do not call out. I am happy to stay late or run in on a day off. I have worked in this office for three years and have 17 years experience in hygiene. I have increased production in our office through a thriving fluoride program and patient education about their tx plans. I stay because it is a pleasant place to work and proximity to my house so I can let our dogs out on my lunch hour. My experience practicing for nine years in South Florida was much better. I received a bi-annual review and was granted raises based on my production, plus had a generous 401k where my employer matched 4% to my 5% contribution. Without a 401k, we are just spinning the hamster wheel.
  • I have worked with a temp agency for the last couple of years, and there is an issue with some dentists. This probably occurs in most parts of the United States, where the dentists hands the hygienist a 1099 instead of what they are suppose to do, deduct taxes and pay social security! The IRS.gov clearly states: "You are not an independent contractor if you perform services that can be controlled by an employer (what will be done and how it will be done). This applies even if you are given freedom of action. What matters is that the employer has the legal right to control the details of how the services are performed." How come this is never addressed?
  • I have been with the same employer for 30 years. He will be retiring within two years. I am a little nervous when I think about my future; probably the most I can anticipate earning will be in the $38/hr range.
  • There are too many hygienists. Dentists are aware of it and they rather hire graduates at cheaper rate than hygienists with experiences. Recently my practice cut clinical time for hygienists to see more patients. Feel like working at a factory.

Pennsylvania

(data below based on information supplied by 87 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 72%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 23%
  • Master’s degree: 2%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 12%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 33%
  • More than 30 hours: 54%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 17%
  • Difficult: 57%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 33%
  • One to two years ago: 24%
  • Three to five years ago: 18%
  • More than five years ago: 17%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 6%
  • $21,000 to $30,000: 16%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 19%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 17%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 21%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 9%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 9%
  • $81,000 to $90,000: 1%
  • $91,000 to $100,000: 1%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 88%
  • Daily rate: 2%
  • Annual salary: 10%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 7%

Most common hourly rates

  • $25: 7%
  • $26: 8%
  • $28: 8%
  • $29: 7%
  • $30: 8%
  • $31: 8%
  • $32: 9%
  • $33: 7%
  • $34: 7%
  • $35: 12
  • $37: 8%
  • $38: 8%

Selected comments from Pennsylvania respondents

  • Trend in our rural area with scattered small towns. Dentists can't sell practice when retiring, so they are selling practice or patients to corporations.
  • There is a local community college that graduates approximately 35 hygienists every year. My area is flooded with hygienists, making employment difficult to find. Also, the new hygienists will work for an assistant’s pay rate just to get employment. I have been a hygienist for 34 years, with the same office most of that time. At the beginning of this year I asked for a raise after not having one for three years. It was humiliating to basically have to beg for a raise when I have been an excellent and loyal employee and always have a full schedule. The doctors know we are trapped by young hygienists who will work cheap so they don't care about giving us a raise. It's almost as if they want us to leave so they can hire young hygienists at a much lower salary.
  • Our occupation has become increasingly a part-time position without any benefits such as vacation, profit sharing and 401K plans
  • Full time positions are scarce compared to 25 years ago when I graduated. Newer graduates sometimes taking hours for low hourly rate just so they can get work. I work PRN and it’s hard to get the pay I should as dental offices will tell me they have girls who will cover hours for almost half what I make hourly, which is $26/hour. I’m also noticing some of the offices I work in caring far more about how many patients they can squeeze into my day vs. quality of care I provide. I’m opting to step out of clinical for the most part right now, focusing on things that bring me joy like volunteering and family. Thank heavens we can afford for me to do this. I know I am fortunate, but I do miss the one-on-one with patients.
  • It is extremely difficult to find full-time work with benefits. I worked for 6-plus years temping and working at various part-time jobs while supplementing with some maternity or disability leaves that I lined up via Craigslist. I sent out resumes every single night and also sometimes drove 45+ minutes to temp at offices in order to fill out my schedule. Finally, I found a full-time job with benefits at a dental school, although rumor has it that the funding for my position may be discontinued. The community college where I went to hygiene school just expanded and doubled the size of their program and graduating classes. There are four hygiene schools in the Philadelphia area, and the market is flooded with hygienists. Dentists take advantage of the situation. Twice I was let go at part-time jobs (making $35/hour) and a recent grad was hired to take my place (at $27 to $30/hour). The going rate for temping has stayed stagnant at $35/hour since I graduated in 2010. Often, in part-time jobs, I was told to take a long lunch break or to come in late or leave early when a patient canceled. I have never been compensated for CE courses or been given a uniform allowance.
  • Unfortunately, insurance reimbursements seem to be low in the Pittsburgh area. I am experienced in the business end of dental practice in addition to clinical hygiene and find that hygiene rates could be slightly higher, but the reimbursement rate really limits what the dentists/owners are able to pay their staff. This is true among other medical professions in the Pittsburgh area as well. My best friend is a physical therapist and is making significantly less money than friends in the field practicing in other cities. It is a shame really, for a city that is so well known for their major medical facilities and research such as UPMC.
  • As a DH director and direct hire at our multi-doctor practice, I am disappointed and surprised to see the attitudes of the hygienists I interview. Everyone wants top dollar but doesn't want to work/produce. I have had great difficulty hiring team members because of this. I'd like to make it known to upcoming and current hygienists. The field is not 9-5 and off Friday/Saturday's anymore! We're here to accommodate patients!

Rhode Island

(data below based on information supplied by eight respondents)

Most common hourly rates

  • $35: 17%
  • $36: 17%
  • $37: 17%
  • $38: 17%

South Carolina

(data below based on information supplied by 26 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 69%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 27%
  • Master’s degree: 4%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 4%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 19%
  • More than 30 hours: 77%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 15%
  • Difficult: 65%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 31%
  • One to two years ago: 42%
  • Three to five years ago: 12%
  • More than five years ago: 8%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • $31,000 to $40,000: 15%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 31%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 50%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 4%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 77%
  • Daily rate: 0%
  • Annual salary:15%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 12%

Most common hourly rates

  • $27: 25%
  • $28: 15%
  • $29: 15%
  • $30: 15%
  • $34: 10%

Selected comments from South Carolina respondents

  • I don't receive any benefits, including uniform allowance, insurance, CE reimbursement, and I have to take a vacation when the office is closed for holidays. Also, if the office is closed for a mandatory hurricane evacuation the days are made up on a Friday which we normally are off.
  • I think salary as a RDH is not taken seriously. As the article says, we are the producers besides the dentist. I am a man in this field, and I have to say that salary should be at least $38hr across the board for starters. Since I graduated in 2003, salaries have increased but at a very slow rate. My first position out of school I made $170 per day. That was 15 years ago and by now in South Carolina I think the rate should be $308 a day.

Tennessee

(data below based on information supplied by 26 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 65%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 31%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 4%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 35%
  • More than 30 hours: 62%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 0%
  • Difficult: 80%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 15%
  • One to two years ago: 27%
  • Three to five years ago: 27%
  • More than five years ago: 12%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • $21,000 to $30,000: 8%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 12%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 42%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 15%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 23%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 54%
  • Daily rate: 42%
  • Annual salary: 8%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 12%

Most common hourly rates

  • $30: 33%
  • $31: 20%
  • $35: 27%
  • $38: 13%

69% of those reporting daily rates said the rates range from $225 a day to $275 a day.

Selected comments from Tennessee respondents

  • In my area, it really doesn't matter whether you have an AS or a BS degree. Jobs are extremely hard to find due to a saturated market. Younger hygienists who are desperate for work are taking jobs at much lower wages, hurting everyone else.
  • I receive $75 for seven vacation days a year. I work at this office three days a week and have been there for nine years. No 401k, no health insurance, and no paid holidays.
  • Too many hygiene programs in our state. Too few dentists. This has made salaries and jobs disappear.

Virginia

(data below based on information supplied by 46 respondents)

Highest level of career-related education achieved

  • Associate’s degree: 54%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 39%
  • Master’s degree: 2%

Average number of hours worked per week

  • Under 20 hours: 11%
  • 20 to 29 hours: 33%
  • More than 30 hours: 56%

Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene

  • Easy: 15%
  • Difficult: 61%

Length of time since last pay raise

  • Within the last year: 22%
  • One to two years ago: 26%
  • Three to five years ago: 20%
  • More than five years ago: 24%

Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017

  • Under $20,000: 4%
  • $31,000 to $40,000: 7%
  • $41,000 to $50,000: 15%
  • $51,000 to $60,000: 20%
  • $61,000 to $70,000: 30%
  • $71,000 to $80,000: 13%
  • $81,000 to $90,000: 9%
  • $91,000 to $100,000: 2%

Reported method for how income is earned

  • Hourly rate: 91%
  • Daily rate: 7%
  • Annual salary: 7%
  • Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 4%

Most common hourly rates

  • $35: 9%
  • $38: 7%
  • $40: 14%
  • $41: 9%
  • $42: 11%
  • $45: 7%
  • $46: 7%

Selected comments from Virginia respondents

  • Since this commission arrangement began in 2015, I used to make amazing bonuses. In 2017, I have only made two bonuses due to poor insurance reimbursements.
  • Dentists are more concerned with their production numbers than providing quality dentistry and compensating their employees fairly. I would never go into this profession knowing what I know now!
  • When adding 401K, bonus incentives, uniform allowance, health insurance and PTO for a full time position (four or more days) , the "hourly" rate can be boosted by a few additional dollars/hour when one is determining career choice. After practicing for 40 years, I would always choose an ethical employer with integrity over income!
  • Working for a wonderful dentist outside of DC. Have been here only a year, no raise, in a fee-for-service office. The quality of dentistry and level of genuine care outweighs lack of no raise. Left another fee-for-service office after many years, because sold to insurance-driven practice. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Lucky to be in a position not to be too concerned about dollars.
  • I have been employed by my dentist for over 30 years. As my employer is reaching retirement he has lessened his hours, thus decreasing my hours as well. As the industry has changed with the use of digital x-rays, paperless offices, and hygienists being able to do injections now, I feel that I am less employable as my office is still in the "old fashioned" mode with regular x-rays and paper charts.
  • I've worked for the same DDS for 21 years and salary alone does not demonstrate his generosity to his employees. I've been a part-time employee these past years with sick leave (6 weeks), annual leave maxing out at 4 weeks a year (can carry six weeks on the books), and federal holidays all paid leave/ holidays. I've been blessed.
  • Dentists are not hiring full time hygienists because of the benefits (insurance).
  • Newer graduates make about $8 per hour less than RDHs that have been at the same place of employment for many years.
  • Some of my friends in the field have actually received hourly/salary reductions in more recent years or been asked to "stay home" on select days and not come in to work in an effort for the doctor to save money.
  • Job availability has improved in the last few years but still not easy to find employment in this area. Raises are also happening less frequently.

Vermont

(data below based on information supplied by 10 respondents)

Most common hourly rates

  • $27: 20%
  • $34: 20%

Selected comments from Vermont respondents

  • Given the list of tasks and services that we are required to perform with skill, care, and judgment an hour appointment time, at times, seems unattainable.

West Virginia

(data below based on information supplied by nine respondents)

Most common hourly rates

  • $30: 33%
  • $33: 33%

Selected comments from West Virginia respondents

  • In the past, I worked for an hourly rate. After being introduced to commission, I'm not sure if I could ever go back to an hourly rate.
  • Too many schools with limited employment opportunities after graduation.

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