Back to Blog Home

Last year, we released an updated salary survey for dental hygienists and dental assistants. As dictated in the blog, dentistry is experiencing strong industry growth overall, and many professionals are seeing the impact of that with increased salaries and better benefits.

In order to get a better understanding of how our nearly 4,000 respondents compared to other dental professionals, we turned to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on Hygienists and Assistants. We found similar results across the board.

So what does that mean for you as a dental professional in 2019? A lot. Here are some job growth trends to follow this year as you make career moves.

Salaries Are (Still) High

According to the BLS, a hygienist’s median salary is $74,070 and an assistant’s median pay is $37,630. While there are many factors that must be accounted for when determining a median salary, this has been consistent year-over-year for both professions.

These salaries are indicative of our industry as a whole; dental professionals are maintaining strong salary growth relative to their experience and weekly hours.

Job Growth Is Strong

Dental professional employment is projected to grow around 19.5% from 2016 to 2026 (19% for assistants and 20% for hygienists). As BLS describes in their report, this is likely due to the increased scientific findings linking dental health to overall health; the general public understands the importance of regular oral hygiene and maintenance and the demand is now higher for their services.

It’s interesting to note that this is also much faster than the average for all other occupations listed in their report!

Where You Live Can Greatly Impact Your Salary

If you want to maximize your earnings as a hygienist, move west or north. Dental hygienists in the northeast or in western states (including Alaska) tend to make the most on average ($80,000/year). In contrast, hygienists in the southeast tend to make the least ($45,000-$65,000/year).

For dental assistants, it varies much more. However, many assistants in the north (from Washington to Rhode Island) reported higher salaries for their dental assistants ($42,000-$49,000). Assistants working in Alabama, Arkansas, and Utah made the least ($20,000-$35,000).

While this seems striking, this data makes sense on a general level. The west and northeast tend to turn out higher salaries due to the increased demand; larger cities also have more people, and thus a greater percentage of the population that can afford to spend their money on dental services.

You Can Have a Comfortable Lifestyle While Working Part-Time

Surprisingly, more than half of all dental hygienists work part-time. In contrast, most dental assistants work full-time.

So why the difference? This might be because a job as a dental assistant has typically been an entry-level position for many future hygienists. Hygienists, on the other hand, are can also afford more time off based on benefits and higher salaries. So as hygienists get older and start families, they can switch to part-time and still maintain a comfortable salary.

Regardless, it’s projected that a significant portion of all assistants and hygienists will change employment from 2016-2026—and that’s something we also noticed in our study.

2019 Is a Big Year for Professionals

So are you one of the dental professionals making a change in the new year? Does this information align with your own lifestyle? Be sure to follow us on Facebook as we share more findings from around the industry.

And if you’re looking for a change in career, set up a free account today and start applying for great jobs in your area!

Featured Posts

Cosmetic dentistry is on the rise

Cosmetic Dentistry: On the Rise

Posted August 16, 2019

Cosmetic dentistry popularity is on the rise again. In fact, according to the results of a recent survey from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), 96 percent of U.S. laborers feel a beautiful smile is very or somewhat important to your appearance. Psychology experts also suggest that nice smiles create trust, reduce stress, and helps us live a […]

Read more
Hiring temps is helpful around holidays

Labor Day. There’s a Temp for that…

Posted August 16, 2019

tick, tick, tick… Pop quiz for employers, when’s the next time you have a team member going away on vacation? Looking at the calendar, it’s probably Labor Day. You aren’t alone. Roughly 25% of Americans plan to be out of town for Labor Day.  Check-in with your staff  Always the first Monday in September, almost every […]

Read more
How to tell if an employee or coworker is going to quit

Is a Valued Team Member About to Make a Move? How to Recognize the Signs and Steps You Can Take.

Posted August 07, 2019

Something feels different in the office. It’s hard to describe. The patients are happy, no complaints. The schedule is full, revenue is strong. Internal conflicts among staff are at a minimum. In fact, things are working so well that you’re answering fewer staff questions and requests. These are the situations we all work hard to […]

Read more