At the bottom of the form RDH readers used to answer questions that serve as the basis for this article were four simple black lines almost 3 1/2 inches long. These were the spaces for hygienists to comment on “trends in dental hygiene salaries and benefits.” And write they did.
The answers provided a rich snapshot of hygienists’ pay scales in the state of Pennsylvania and across the country, as well as their views about career satisfaction, work-life balance and other important factors that influence job satisfaction and career advancement. The information also reveals a few things about the state’s dental hygiene landscape that may be helpful to those considering pursuing this type of health care career.
As with most professions, a person’s income as a dental hygienist can be greatly affected by his or her education level, skillset, experience and the location in which the job is performed. For example, a hygienist with more years of practice at one particular office might earn less than an equally qualified hygienist at another office that pays its staff more competitively.
In addition to wages, a dental hygienist’s overall compensation package can include other benefits such as life insurance and 401(k) retirement plans. As full-time employees, hygienists can typically expect to enjoy a certain number of paid vacation days each year as well.