Being a dental hygienist is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative professions in the nation today. One can expect a very high salary for the amount of training that is required. In fact, the average salary for dental hygienists is nearly 65,000 dollars a year. But not everyone draws this amount at the beginning of his/her career. This brings up the question, “What is the typical starting salary for the dental hygienist?”.
Nationwide, the average starting salary for dental hygienists is 27 dollar per hour based on a report from the Pennsylvania College of Technology. However, there are many factors that are highly variable in determining how much a person can expect to make at the beginning of his/her career.
Geographic location is one of the largest variables in determining starting salary. Some regions of the country have higher pay scales than others. For example, one can expect to make more in California than in Arkansas. This can change over time, but starting wages are just naturally lower in some areas than in others.
Education is another variable. Those with a bachelor’s degree can expect to start out at a significantly higher rate per hour than those with an associate’s degree or certificate. Those with less education may expect to start out at around 17 dollars per hour while those with a higher degree may start out nearer 30 dollars per hour. This is an important point to keep in mind when deciding on dental hygienist as a career path.
What industry one works in will also have a significant impact on starting salary. Most hygienists work in general dental practices with dentists. These individuals make significantly more per hour than those who choose to work in hospital or long term care facilities. However, it is not uncommon for positions in dental offices to be part time while those in hospital and nursing home settings are full time. This can have a significant impact on the total income one can expect as a beginning hygienist.
Therefore, we can see that the answer to the question, “What is the typical starting salary for the dental hygienist?” does not have a typical answer. There are several variables that must be taken into consideration. These include geographic location, education level, and type of industry one works in. However, the overall average figure of 27 dollars an hour gives one a good marker to compare his/her starting wage against to determine if he/she is being offered a fair market wage for the work expected.