Beginning a career as a dental hygienist is the start to a great job in the dental field.  It is also a job that pays very well. The demand for dental hygienist is likely to continue growing over the next several years.  Your chances of having a great job with great pay and benefits are good. 

The average hourly rate of pay for dental hygienists is $32.62. A salary like this is well above the minimum wage in most states. In addition to your base pay, many dental hygienists also receive a bonus when the office does well.  As benefits you will get health insurance, discounted dental procedures, paid vacation days, sick days, and paid holidays. 

Along with the great salary comes with a lot of responsibility. Dental hygienists have to take care of patients.  YOu are responsible to teaching patients how to take care of their teeth.  People will trust you to keep their teeth and mouth healthy.  A hygienist will assist the dentist during dental procedures.  Dental hygienists need to be alert, pay attention to detail, and have effective communication skills. They must also be able to provide patients with comfort measures both before and after procedures are completed.

Dental hygienists are easily confused with dental assistants. Compared to assistants,  who have a median rate of pay of $13.65 per hour, a dental hygienist makes a very good hourly wage. They are very different professions. A dental assistant does just that, assists the dentist and hygienist.  A hygienist takes care of cleaning teeth and generally has a steady stream of patients who come in every six months for routine cleaning procedures. 

The amount of pay a Dental hygienist earns depends on many factors. The cost of living in your area will be the greatest influence. How well the dental office you work for does will also be a deciding factor in your pay. New dentists might have to pay less than established dentists, because they don’t have the traffic coming into the office. It is very likely your pay will increase as more patients come to that dental office. 

The amount of experience will also play a role.  You may have to accept a position that pays less than average to get your foot in the door and gain some hands on experience. However, with the demand for dental hygienists, you should have no problem securing employment. Many dental offices want to keep quality dental hygienists. They may offer to start you at a lower entry level pay, with the understanding that your performance will be reviewed in 90 days or other time frame. Based on your performance, you pay will be adjusted at that time.

It is important to understand that uncertified and certified dental hygienists complete the same types of tasks. However, those who are certified earn several dollars more per hour than those who aren’t certified. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to take the certification exam early on in your career as a Dental hygienist.  This way you will be able to earn more money in your dental career