The Best Places to be a Dental Hygienist

The Best Places to be a Dental HygienistIf you’re a dental hygienist (DH), you undoubtedly already know you have a great career: You work with people of all ages, have a high degree of autonomy and are probably earning more than $60,000 annually. In fact, “Forbes” magazine puts dental hygiene at the top of its May 2012 list of “10 Best Jobs That Don’t Require a Four-Year Degree.” So the world agrees that you’ve found yourself a great career. But perhaps you’d love to take your good planning one step further and find the absolute best places in the country to take your training and experience.

Data points north

According to DestistryIQ, if you want to work in one of the best places in the country for dental hygienists, you’d better plan a shopping trip for winter woolies. The online DH community combined results of an RDH eVillage annual salary survey with healthcare–related financial rankings from and data from the federal government and “Forbes” to compile its 2012 list of “Best States to be a Dental Hygienist.”

At the top of the list were Massachusetts and Wyoming. While there could hardly be more different destinations, these two states share a DH-friendly job market and livable salaries. And, according to the DentistryIQ site, the still-faltering economy should make financial considerations the number–one priority in anyone’s job search.

Also finishing above average in the study were Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Kansas, Wisconsin, Washington, Minnesota and Connecticut.

Money matters

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks California as the state with the highest salary for hygienists, with an annual mean salary of $91,000. Following close behind are the District of Columbia at $90,500; Washington at $90,400; Nevada at $88,620 and Alaska at $86,310. But, in order to determine just how much of your salary you’ll get to keep in a given location, you need to factor in cost of living. For example, according to real estate site Zillow, as of September 2012, the average home price in California was $303,000, while you could pick up digs in Nevada for an average price of $128,500.

If you have young children — making quality of education a concern — Massachusetts gets another star. According to the site, and based on standardized test scores, the Bay State turns out the third smartest kids in the country. So maybe it’s time to start cultivating a Boston accent. Try this: Pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd.

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Public-Health Careers for Dental Hygienists

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Image: dental hygienist by BigStock

©, Dice Holdings Inc., 2012


About Sue Mellen

President of, professional writer and editor with almost 30 years' experience. Written and edited the written word in every possible form--books, articles, online content, white papers, videos, podcasts, speeches--and in every possible subject area. Have specialized in healthcare, IT, business and finance, careers, food and nutrition and The Arts. Also taught writing at the college level. And when I have a little time I dabble in fiction-writing.


  1. BY tina says:

    They say this is a two year degree but I had to have two years of college credits to even be considered for the hygiene program which was an additional two years. I didn't major in math but to me two years and two more equals four years of college to be a hygienist. Maybe I'm wrong, but this in reality is a four year degree at the least.

  2. BY Melissa says:

    If you’re grades are up to par, one year of general courses is all that is needed to be accepted into a hygiene program. Totaling 3 years before getting your degree. It is hard work but anything worth something isn’t easy..