Alanya Dental & Implant Hospital – Emergency Dental & Oral Health Clinics

2017 RDH eVillage Annual Salary Survey, part 6: Out west where buffalo roam and RDH salaries are high

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The most common hourly rate in the United States is $40 an hour, 31% of America’s dental hygienists earn more than that amount, according to the 2017 RDH eVillage salary survey. It’s a safe bet that many of those higher hourly rates are earned in Western states, where cost-of-living expenses are often higher.
Hygienists in California and Washington state were among the most active respondents in the survey, accounting for 53% of the responses among the 13 states discussed in this article. So, before starting the state-by-state breakdown below, we make some comparisons between Los Angeles and Seattle:
In Seattle, 53% work as a dental hygienist for more than 30 hours a week, compared to the 35% in Los Angeles.
In Seattle, 45% think finding a job as a dental hygienist is “easy,” compared to the 54% in Los Angeles who think it is “difficult” to find a job.
In Los Angeles, 49% of dental hygienists reported earning an hourly rate of $50 an hour or more. In Seattle, 66% reported hourly rates between $45 and $48 an hour.
Overall, 2,130 dental hygienists participated in the 2017 RDH eVillage salary survey.
This final article of the 2017 salary survey will profile Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The previous article in the series examined the statistics for midwestern states; click here to review.[Native Advertisement]
To view previous articles about the 2017 salary survey, click here.
Click on any of the links below for a shortcut to the data for the state of interest to you.
Alaska
Arizona
California
Colorado
Hawaii
Idaho
Montana
Nevada
New Mexico
Oregon
Utah
Washington
Wyoming
Alaska
(data below based on information supplied by nine respondents)
Most common hourly rates
Three of eight earn $45 an hour. The rest reported hourly rates of $37, $47, $50, $51, $53 and $55.
Selected comment from Alaska
Cost of living is high in Alaska. Seems to me that most remote RDH jobs don’t offer fair compensation as they do for dentists and nurses, mental health professionals, especially when remote air travel is required on small planes. Lots of perio, living remotely, high stats of communicable diseases, travel delayed by weather, inadequate equipment, isolation, high plane fares during holidays.
Arizona
(data below based on information supplied by 44 respondents; 30 responses came from the Phoenix metropolitan area)
Highest level of career-related education achieved
Associate’s degree: 73%
Bachelor’s degree: 27%
Master’s degree: 0%
Average number of hours worked per week
Under 20 hours: 11%
20 to 29 hours: 43%
More than 30 hours: 45%
Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene
Length of time since last pay raise
Within the last year: 20%
One to two years ago: 18%
Three to five years ago: 4%
More than five years ago: 23%
Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017
Under $20,000: 9%
$21,000 to $30,000: 2%
$31,000 to $40,000: 9%
$41,000 to $50,000: 20%
$51,000 to $60,000: 23%
$61,000 to $70,000: 23%
$71,000 to $80,000: 11%
$81,000 to $90,000: 2%
Reported method for how income is earned
Hourly rate: 95%
Daily rate: 2%
Annual salary: 2%
Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 11%
Most common hourly rates
$37: 14%
$38: 10%
$40: 40%
$42: 10%
Selected comments from Arizona respondents
One of my employers recently stripped a huge amount of benefits from their hygienists under the guise of following the new “paid time off” law. This was actually not legitimate, but the women it affects did not have any recourse other than quitting. The job market wasn’t friendly. One of them had 27 years at the practice and helped build the patient base! The doctors seem to want to drive the long-time hygienists out and hire new grads for much less money. I think the trend is going to corporate dentistry. I feel the patients lose in this scenario since they have built great long-time relationships with their hygienists. It’s a sad trend; very impersonal.
It’s getting very competitive. It’s very hard to find jobs, unless you work for corporate. And, working for corporate, you have to produce in order to keep your job. There’s one dental hygiene school, and there are rumors that another school is coming,
I am working two part-time jobs because full time is nearly impossible to find. Both jobs require me to clock out when a patient cancels or no shows. So I am constantly losing hours! I am barely getting by and at this point I am trying to get out of the profession and find something with more stability!
There is a huge glut of very disappointed, unemployed, young hygienists in deep debt due to the unethical and greedy nature of private schools opening unneeded programs. Greed and avarice, the new norm.
California
(data below based on information supplied by 183 respondents; 48 stated they were based in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, 28 were based in the San Francisco metropolitan areas, 24 were from San Diego, and 14 were from the Sacramento area.)
Highest level of career-related education achieved
Associate’s degree: 51%
Bachelor’s degree: 42%
Master’s degree: 5%
Average number of hours worked per week
Under 20 hours: 22%
20 to 29 hours: 36%
More than 30 hours: 42%
Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene
Length of time since last pay raise
Within the last year: 23%
One to two years ago: 11%
Three to five years ago: 15%
More than five years ago: 31%
Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017
Under $20,000: 3%
$21,000 to $30,000: 8%
$31,000 to $40,000: 11%
$41,000 to $50,000: 13%
$51,000 to $60,000: 13%
$61,000 to $70,000: 15%
$71,000 to $80,000: 14%
$81,000 to $90,000: 12%
$91,000 to $100,000: 7%
More than $100,000: 4%
Reported method for how income is earned
Hourly rate: 63%
Daily rate: 41%
Annual salary: 4%
Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 16%
Most common hourly rates
$45: 11%
$46: 4%
$47: 6%
$48: 8%
$50: 26%
24% of those reporting a daily rate indicated pay within the $375 to $400 range; another 18% said their daily rate was between $350 and $375.
Selected comments from California respondents
I know I’m in the highest salary range, but I must agree that there are a flood of schools that are hurting our profession. I think if you compare the salaries in the health care field in this area there is a discrepancy. Cost of living is also a factor here.
When looking for a new job, it doesn’t seem to matter that I have an advanced degree, many years of experience, and a lot of advanced certification. Most dentists just want to know what my salary requirements are.
New hygienists directly out of school are asking for $50/hour. I think they are getting it
Hate that the pay scale is falling so badly due to new grads taking low pay jobs, but I get why they do. Jobs are scarce and with the huge increase in hygiene tuition their debts are high and they want to start paying them immediately. Sad that doctors are taking advantage, still working against their hygienists instead of with them.
We have a shortage of dental hygienists in San Luis Obispo County in California at the present time.
Salaries always receding in our area as dentists try to overfill schedules while reducing the costs of business practice, (ie the salaries of employees and lab techs). The value of the hygienist as a primary health-care provider who “works in the front lines” of disease prevention and education is lost on this generation of dentists who are only in it for the money.
Job market is flooded with new graduates from “for profit” dental hygiene schools.
There are a lot of dental hygiene programs in the area so dentists try to low ball on the pay. Pay should really be around $50 for the cost of living in San Diego. New grads are willing to go to work for $38/hr, which is very low for this area.
Employment opportunities not good in my area. Although I see only 8 pts/day most other offices pressure for production, rather than quality service. Major lack of integrity by dentists.
Yes, when I was hired, I asked for my hourly rate/per 8 hour day. As it turns out, if a patient cancels or no show, I take the hit and do not get paid for that hour. If the scheduler gets lazy and doesn’t fill the schedule for the day, I lose the income. This is not right.
No medical benefits. CA passed a law that the employer must provide sick pay. This was not good for those of us who rarely call in sick. To compensate that sick pay, my employers decreased my commission rate and then gives us a check at the end of the year. I’m not sure how they calculated it.
I have found some DDS and specialist/ periodontist asking RDH’s to clock out when a patient ‘no shows’ or no one is scheduled, I do not do that and let them know in California this is called ‘waiting time’. I hear from more and more dental hygienists they feel pressured to do this. I refer them to their state labor board for information.
Vocational schools should not have dental hygiene colleges. It has caused a flood of dental hygienists in the metropolitan areas. If an RDH is paid hourly, does that give the DDS the right to not pay an RDH if a patient fails to come in for their scheduled appointment or if the office could not fill an appointment time slot? I feel that if the DDS reserves my time for certain hours, then they are obligated to pay for the hours that I am in the office fulfilling their request, whether it is working with a patient or helping out in other areas during a failed appointment. Due to the flood of RDHs in Sacramento, I have not received an increase in pay for 10 years, about the length of time vocational colleges opened dental hygiene programs, even though DDSs have received more income per patient from my services over 10 years. There are also a flood of franchise dental offices in the Sacramento area that has changed dentistry. Pacific Dental is the largest franchise here. As I work hard to prevent decay and improve overall oral health, DDSs in general are working harder to crown everything. Dentistry is no longer Preventive Dentistry from what I have seen over 35 years in the dental field.
There are not enough dentists in southern CA employing hygienists; however, there are too many hygiene schools pumping out hygienists to scramble for those few jobs. I would advise young people to seek other careers that have better pay and much better benefits. I wish I had pursued a career that provided a pension as well as the other benefits that Americans take for granted.
I am so horrified by how dental hygienists are treated. I went into to this job so excited but now am completely depressed and horrified how poorly we’re treated. We are expected to do so much in our one hour with patients (if you’re lucky to even get an hour). This field needs HELP! We need a voice. Most RDH receive no benefits, no paid time off, and are treated like cash cows. It’s so sad! We need a union or someone to back us up.
Not only have wages not gone up for me in over 8 years, my pay has actually gone down in the form of lost hours and being sent home early or told to come in later. I lose the equivalent of 4-8 hours of pay every pay period lately.
Colorado
(data below based on information supplied by 66 respondents; 35 stated they were based in the Denver metropolitan area)
Highest level of career-related education achieved
Associate’s degree: 53%
Bachelor’s degree: 44%
Master’s degree: 3%
Average number of hours worked per week
Under 20 hours: 17%
20 to 29 hours: 21%
More than 30 hours: 62%
Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene
Length of time since last pay raise
Within the last year: 42%
One to two years ago: 29%
Three to five years ago: 6%
More than five years ago: 17%
Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017
Under $20,000: 5%
$21,000 to $30,000: 8%
$31,000 to $40,000: 6%
$41,000 to $50,000: 14%
$51,000 to $60,000: 24%
$61,000 to $70,000: 20%
$71,000 to $80,000: 14%
$81,000 to $90,000: 7%
$91,000 to $100,00: 1%
Reported method for how income is earned
Hourly rate: 84%
Daily rate: 3%
Annual salary: 12%
Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 9%
Most common hourly rates
$37: 10%
$38: 10%
$40: 23%
$42: 22%
Selected comments from Colorado respondents
I am among the rare RDH’s who receive full benefits, including paid time off (80 hrs/year), 401K contributions, and healthcare. In fact, my employer pays 100% of my health insurance monthly premium which I consider to be a significant part of my pay. Therefore, I am content to receive a lower hourly rate than I would typically request working in the region I do since I do not pay the $300+ monthly premium myself.
I recently completed my bachelor’s degree and am currently working on a master’s degree. That did not matter to my boss. The only thing that got me a $1 raise was me proving how much my production has gone up through the last three years I have worked at the practice. So I doubt my pay will go up when I complete my master’s; all depends on how much I bring in production.
The market was flooded 4 years ago when I moved to CO. It took almost two years to get a permanent position. I worked for a wonderful temping agency that kept me busy during that two years.
Wages do not seem to be increasing for hygienists; however, the cost of living has sky-ocketed in CO. I am making $4 less an hour than I did 10 years ago. Been with my current employer for over eight years and I have only had three very small wage increases.
I just moved from Portland, Oregon, to Colorado Springs. In Portland, I was working in two different offices. The one office I earned $45 an hour while the other office I earned $40. In Colorado, I earn $37.
Salaries are stagnant here after an all-time high in the early 2000s when I made $40 an hour.
There is a dental hygiene school in our town. The job market is saturated, and very competitive. Employers will pay minimal, a lot without any benefits or raises. Basically, it’s a take or leave it opportunity. I used to live in another town two hours away. My employer valued me, and respected me as a dental partner in her practice. She offered me great benefits, raises, and other incentives. I see the difference in respect and value based on “where you practice” in my home state.
Hygienists are underpaid in my opinion. I came from working in CA where on the same fee schedule dentists paid hygienists a much higher wage. I make 30 percent less for no apparent reason other than what seems to be the decided going rate for dentists to pay in CO. Feeling burnt out and underappreciated after eight years of stagnant wages.
After working for 23 years at my last office, and being told there was no more potentiaI for salary increases as I had “topped out” I changed jobs three months ago when offered an hourly rate $3 above what I was making with nearly the same benefits.
Hawaii
(data below based on information supplied by seven respondents.)
Most common hourly rates
Two of the hourly rates reported were for $38 an hour. The other hourly rates were $32, $40, $41, $46, and $48.
Selected comments from Hawaii respondents
It sucks. Old offices, cheap dentists, and substandard care. I have become burnt out with all the BS that dentists try and pull and will be starting a nursing program in January. Where my life isn’t controlled by a dentist and will get paid time off and vacation.
I live in Maui, one of the islands in Hawaii. Maui has the least pay out of all the other islands. Other islands pay at least $36 starting and up. Here, they pay $27 starting and up. I don’t know why we get paid the least here.
Idaho
(data below based on information supplied by 11 respondents)
Most common hourly rates
Four hygienists reported the hourly rates of $37 and $40. The other rates were $28, $34, $35, $36, $38, $39, and $42.
Selected comment from an Idaho respondent
Hygienists in my area are working in dental offices in non-hygiene positions because jobs are so scarce.
Montana
(data below based on information supplied by 16 respondents)
Highest level of career-related education achieved
Associate’s degree: 50%
Bachelor’s degree: 50%
Master’s degree: 0%
Average number of hours worked per week
Under 20 hours: 31%
20 to 29 hours: 19%
More than 30 hours: 50%
Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene
Length of time since last pay raise
Within the last year: 50%
One to two years ago: 25%
Three to five years ago: 0%
More than five years ago: 19%
Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017
Under $20,000:13%
$21,000 to $30,000: 13%
$31,000 to $40,000: 13%
$41,000 to $50,000: 13%
$51,000 to $60,000: 33%
$61,000 to $70,000: 13%
Reported method for how income is earned
Hourly rate: 87%
Daily rate: 0%
Annual salary: 12%
Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 0%
Most common hourly rates
$34: 13%
$35: 13%
$38: 13%
$39: 13%
$40: 20%
Selected comment from Montana respondent
I’m in Montana and my office has had a difficult time finding a new hygienist. Definite shortage of hygienist here in Montana.
Nevada
(data below based on information supplied by seven respondents)
Most common hourly rates
Three of the reported hourly rates were for $40; two other were for $43 an hour. The remainder were for $42, $44, and $45.
Selected comment from a Nevada respondent
The going rate here in Las Vegas is around 43 to 45 dollars an hour. However, I work in a pedo office which is only paying 40 dollars an hour.
New Mexico
(data below based on information supplied by 12 respondents)
Highest level of career-related education achieved
Associate’s degree: 50%
Bachelor’s degree: 33%
Master’s degree: 17%
Average number of hours worked per week
Under 20 hours: 0%
20 to 29 hours: 50%
More than 30 hours: 50%
Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene
Length of time since last pay raise
Within the last year: 25%
One to two years ago: 17%
Three to five years ago: 33%
More than five years ago: 17%
Most common hourly rates
Two reported hourly rates were for $45 an hour. The remainder were $35, $39, $40, $7, and $48.
Selected comment from New Mexico respondent
There needs to be more collaborative dental hygiene practices in order for wages to be more fair. And, in order for that to happen, dental hygiene needs to be bachelor’s degree or higher. Women are primarily dental hygienists and the wages reflect it. We deserve better pay, benefits, and retirement. Getting my bachelor’s degree has prepared me to work without the supervision of a dentist.
Oregon
(data below based on information supplied by 50 respondents)
Highest level of career-related education achieved
Associate’s degree: 52%
Bachelor’s degree: 46%
Master’s degree: 2%
Average number of hours worked per week
Under 20 hours: 16%
20 to 29 hours: 30%
More than 30 hours: 52%
Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene
Length of time since last pay raise
Within the last year: 47%
One to two years ago: 33%
Three to five years ago: 10%
More than five years ago: 4%
Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017
Under $20,000: 2%
$21,000 to $30,000: 4%
$31,000 to $40,000: 16%
$41,000 to $50,000: 20%
$51,000 to $60,000: 28%
$61,000 to $70,000: 10%
$71,000 to $80,000: 8%
$81,000 to $90,000: 4%
$91,000 to $100,000: 6%
More than $100,000: 2%
Reported method for how income is earned
Hourly rate: 92%
Daily rate: 2%
Annual salary: 6%
Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 6%
Most common hourly rates
$36: 10%
$38: 19%
$40: 12%
$42: 10%
Selected comments from Oregon respondents
Benefits are still severely lacking for full-time hygienists. Vacation time off (paid), and insurance coverage.
Not getting paid for no-shows. Being paid as an independent contractor. Benefits being taken away. Not even the cost-of-living raise/token raise.
The top salary for a dental hygienist in the area, working 32-40 hrs/week and getting paid hourly is $46.50/hr. That salary seems to be received only when working for a corporation, such as Kaiser Permanente or Willamette Dental. All independent private dental offices pay less than $39/hr and some have bonuses, etc.
I feel most hygienists get little to no benefits, Including no health insurance, retirement, or vacation time.
Our career opportunities have stagnated in DH. I’ve seen very little opportunity for lateral or upward movement in the profession in over two decades and I feel a change is needed, especially with regard to integrating dental care into overall wellness. I recently completed my BSDH and am contemplating a master’s to facilitate more lateral movement but earning potentials would remain consistent with clinical salary.
Utah
(data below based on information supplied by 18 respondents; 13 respondents indicated that they are based in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area)
Highest level of career-related education achieved
Associate’s degree: 50%
Bachelor’s degree: 39%
Master’s degree: 11%
Average number of hours worked per week
Under 20 hours: 28%
20 to 29 hours: 17%
More than 30 hours: 55%
Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene
Length of time since last pay raise
Within the last year: 28%
One to two years ago: 28%
Three to five years ago: 11%
More than five years ago: 11%
Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017
Under $20,000: 11%
$21,000 to $30,000: 11%
$31,000 to $40,000: 28%
$41,000 to $50,000: 11%
$51,000 to $60,000: 28%
$61,000 to $70,000: 5%
$81,000 to $90,000: 5%
Reported method for how income is earned
Hourly rate: 89%
Daily rate: 0%
Annual salary: 11%
Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 11%
Most common hourly rates
Selected comments from Utah respondents
Way too many dental hygiene schools cranking out hundreds and hundreds of new hygienists that won’t find any decent employment. Reimbursement in UT is very low, and with an oversaturation in the workforce, employers are keeping wages low and do not offer any benefits or holiday pay, etc. Just finished bachelor’s degree not to get higher wage (which won’t happen), but to get out of clinical practice. Know so many others that are going back to school to get nursing or PA degrees to get out of DH because it is physically taxing with no appropriate compensation.
Dismal trend of decreasing compensation. RDHs are a “dime a dozen”
Washington
(data below based on information supplied by 87 respondents; 38 respondents indicated that they are based in the Seattle metropolitan area)
Highest level of career-related education achieved
Associate’s degree: 47%
Bachelor’s degree: 52%
Master’s degree: 1%
Average number of hours worked per week
Under 20 hours: 17%
20 to 29 hours: 25%
More than 30 hours: 57%
Difficulty in finding employment in dental hygiene
Length of time since last pay raise
Within the last year: 23%
One to two years ago: 29%
Three to five years ago: 21%
More than five years ago: 18%
Projected annual income as a dental hygienist in 2017
Under $20,000: 6%
$21,000 to $30,000: 6%
$31,000 to $40,000: 2%
$41,000 to $50,000: 9%
$51,000 to $60,000: 17%
$61,000 to $70,000: 15%
$71,000 to $80,000: 26%
$81,000 to $90,000: 10%
$91,000 to $100,000: 3%
More than $100,000: 4%
Reported method for how income is earned
Hourly rate: 94%
Daily rate: 1%
Annual salary:4%
Percentage of production/collections for hygiene, or commission: 2%
Most common hourly rates
$40: 8%
$44: 6%
$45: 17%
$46: 13%
$47: 8%
$48: 13%
$50: 10%
Selected comments from Washington respondents
Washington State job opportunities projections are considerably lower than the number of dental hygiene graduates each year. This is a poor profession to choose if someone needs full-time work and benefits. However much I love what I do I’m just not convinced that encouraging a young person to go for it is wise. The education process is grueling and expensive, and securing a good position requires a high degree of tenacity. The new grad might do well working as a temporary hygienist but will have to spend months investigating potential positions. Even an RDH, BSDH with exceptional credentials can spend a year or longer working as a temp before finding a good fit. (That good fit would be an office that doesn’t treat you like a tool, *has patient care that is appropriate and real, not asking for RPC quadrants to be completed in 15 min.) Some might fit into accelerated hygiene offices but the physical toll long term puts that RDH at risk later. It is an imperfect professional choice and young people need to be aware of the challenges.
There is a lot of part-time employment and not enough full time with full benefits. Our profession needs to unionize if we want decent pay and benefits.
My DDS said he doesn’t give raises because he doesn’t get a raise with the higher cost of supplies and lower insurance reimbursement. We had a week of vacation taken away from us and he owes the employees for a simple IRA where money was taken out of our checks but never sent to the investment company. He’s day trading stocks trying to keep us afloat. Sad.
For some odd reason, there has been a shortage of both hygienist and assistants in the greater Seattle area. Best guess is that the cost of living is so high that many hygienist and assistants are moving farther away to less expensive areas to live. Then the traffic is so bad that they don’t want to drive into Seattle, Bellevue, or Redmond which could be a 90 minutes or two hour commute each way. This is what happened in our office and also to several of my hygiene friends. Rent for just a one bedroom apartment in this area goes for $2,000 or more a month. The average house in my area is now over $650,000. The new ones being built start at $900,000 and up. Who can afford that! We make good money but not that good.
The job market is so hot here in Seattle. It is nearly impossible to find hygienists due to growth in the area.
There seems to be an extreme shortage in the Seattle area right now. I primarily do fill in work on my own (not through an agency, just through friends and word of mouth). I could literally be busy full time if I wanted to. There are Craig’s list adds offering to beat all other offers, giving signing bonuses, as well as stating hourly salaries of $50. As much as this can be good from the hygienist’s perspective, I find that when this has happened in the past, that it just breeds ill will and resentment from the dental community at large and tends to be the impetus for initiatives to allow assistants to perform functions that are only legal for hygienists to do. I’m curious as to why there is such a shortage right now as there are so many hygiene programs in the area. I can only assume that hygienists are leaving the profession.

(data below based on information supplied by six respondents)
Most common hourly rates
The four hourly rates reported were for $24, $28, $32, and $40.
 
 

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