According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2020, the median annual wage for a dental hygienist (RDH) was $77,000 in the United States. This means that half of the dental hygienists in the U.S. made more than $77,000 and the other half made less.
$77,000 is a great salary for a career that only requires an associate’s degree (although a bachelor’s degree is also available). In fact, among associate degrees, a dental hygienist is often identified as the highest earner. However, it is important to realize that a dental hygienist salary and hourly wage can vary significantly based on:
- Location – not only the state but cities and suburbs within the state.
- Type of practice (e.g., private, public, corporate, etc.).
- Years of experience in the field.
- Your production history.
Since this article is about California, we will focus on location. There are more dentists in California than in any other state. This means that there may be more opportunities to find a great practice that will support your growth in California than in some of the other states. Unfortunately, it also means that there are more hygienists available to hire in California than in some of the less populated states. So, you have an advantage in the fact that there are more dentists practicing in California who are competing to secure your talents, but you also have the disadvantage of competing with many of your peers for the same positions in healthy practices that provide an environment that supports your growth.
With regards to numbers. In 2017, the median annual compensation for an RDH in California was $72920. For comparison, during the same year, an RDH in Texas could have expected to earn a median wage of $70,020, while one in New York could have expected to earn a median wage of $78,580.
Since 2017 we would expect that the median wage for a dental hygienist to have grown and it did. In 2021, the median annual compensation for an RDH in California increased to $86,099 according to data from Salary.com.
If you are a hygienist in California, or you are moving to California to seek employment, you can subscribe to receive alerts from our job board here: https://yosemistry.com/hygienists/