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Dental hygienist salary

How much does a dental hygienist make? Take a look at the many underlying factors that determine top dental hygienist salaries.

Dental hygienists are able to command high salaries, but not all hygienists are able to earn the same amount. Recent governmental studies put dental hygienist salaries relatively high, though not more than six figures. However, some dental hygienists make more than others do. How do you ensure you earn as much as possible?

More education leads to higher salaries

The first requirement for a high salary as a dental hygienist is to make sure that you have a solid educational background. This actually starts long before entering dental hygienist schools. You should begin preparing for your career in high school. Taking chemistry, biology and advanced mathematics during high school will help put you on track to get into the school you want. You also will need to have the GPA required to enter dental hygienist schools. While dental hygiene programs are often associated with dental schools, admission requirements to hygiene programs are quite different from those of dental school (for example, the DAT exam is not required for a BS program and course work often varies depending on your ACT or SAT scores in high school).

After high school, you will have to go on to a dental hygienist school.  Once in, you’ll have the option of pursuing an associate’s degree, which is required for entry-level positions, or pursuing an advanced education with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. If you intend to teach or go into research, these latter degrees are your goals.

Other factors that affect dental hygienist salary

Median Dental Hygienist Salary

$64,000 across the U.S.

Hygienist salaries vary by state and city

While the government might place the median dental hygienist salary at $64,000, the fact remains that those just entering the field will not earn this amount. However, with time and experience, you can certainly increase to that level or even more. Dental hygienists in Alaska actually earn more than $90,000 per year. You will also have to consider other parts of the package to determine just how much you earn, including vacation time, sick time and comp time.

Additional resources

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has statistics and general information about a career in dental hygiene.

For other information from PreMedGuide, see dental schools listings and information on dental hygiene schools and dental assistant schools.

WellSphere.com can help you answer questions about dental hygienist salaries.

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