oral hygienist salary

Oral Hygienist Salary: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you considering a career in oral hygiene? One of the questions you might be pondering is the salary potential in this field. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on oral hygienist salaries, ensuring that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

What Does an Oral Hygienist Do?

Before diving into the details of the salary, it’s essential to understand the role of an oral hygienist. An oral hygienist, also known as a dental hygienist, is a licensed dental professional responsible for promoting good dental health and providing preventive dental care. They typically work in dental offices alongside dentists, assisting them in various tasks.

oral hygienist salary

Educational Requirements for Becoming an Oral Hygienist

Becoming an oral hygienist requires a specific educational path. Typically, the minimum requirement is an Associate’s degree in dental hygiene. These programs are offered at community colleges, technical schools, and universities, covering coursework in anatomy, physiology, nutrition, radiography, and dental hygiene practices. Additionally, aspiring oral hygienists must pass a licensing exam to obtain the necessary credentials.

Factors Affecting Oral Hygienist Salaries

Several factors play a role in determining oral hygienist salaries:


As with many professions, experience plays a significant role in salary growth. Entry-level hygienists might start at a lower salary, but as they gain more experience in the field, their earning potential increases. Additionally, hygienists with specialized skills or certifications may command higher salaries.

Geographical Location

The geographic location of your practice can significantly impact your earning potential as an oral hygienist. Certain regions or cities may offer higher salaries to dental professionals due to factors such as the cost of living, demand for dental services, and competition in the area.

Type of Employer

The type of employer you work for can also affect your salary. Oral hygienists working in private dental offices, hospitals, or government agencies may have different salary structures. Additionally, those employed in larger cities or metropolitan areas tend to earn higher salaries compared to their counterparts in rural or small-town locations.

Additional Specializations

By pursuing additional specializations or certifications, oral hygienists can enhance their earning potential. Specializations like periodontics or pediatric dentistry can lead to higher salaries, as they require additional training and expertise.

Average Oral Hygienist Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for dental hygienists was $76,220 as of May 2020. The lowest 10% earned less than $54,800, while the highest 10% earned more than $107,440. It’s important to note that these figures are national averages and can vary depending on the factors mentioned above.

Job Outlook for Oral Hygienists

The job outlook for oral hygienists is extremely promising. According to the BLS, the employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is primarily due to an increased awareness of oral health and the need for preventative dental care.


Choosing a career as an oral hygienist can be a rewarding decision, both personally and financially. While the salary alone should not be the sole factor influencing your career choice, it is undoubtedly a crucial aspect to consider. By understanding the various factors that impact oral hygienist salaries, you can make an informed decision about your career path and financial goals.

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