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2017-18 Hygienist Salary and Benefits Survey

Dental Connections and the WDHA have partnered since 2008 to produce accurate, comprehensive, and current statistics about dental hygienist wages and benefits in dental offices. Dental Connections has provided salary survey data for over 25 years and this information is critical for all dental professionals and dental practices. We had a record number of respondents this year and want to thank everyone who participated. A special thank you to Michael Broome for helping us cross promote this survey through the Association’s marketing channels.

Before you read the results, we want to point out some weaknesses this survey has:

• It surveys ALL types of hygienists: traditional, restorative, part time, full time, experienced, new grads, etc. We know restorative RDHs make more than traditional RDHs. We know full time workers receive better benefits than part time workers. In most cases experienced professionals that have spent more time in a single practice are compensated higher for loyalty.

• A large number of respondents are from rural counties and this drags down the overall WA State hourly average.

• 26% of respondents are part time workers and this has a dramatic effect on the benefit statistics. The benefit percentages are lower as a result of the part time workers reporting lesser benefits.

We raise these issues because you cannot think of yourself as just a dental hygienist. Before determining whether your hourly rate is fair, you have to consider all of the important factors such as the city you live in, the hygiene role you perform, the type of practice you work in, and the benefits you receive (which can add approximately $5-$15/hour to your wage). Similarly, dental offices weigh these factors before making a job offer or negotiating a raise for existing staff.

When we counsel dental professionals about a compensation package the most overlooked portion is benefits. There is a tendency to only focus on the hourly wage and there is a lack of education about how much the employer is spending on benefits. Colleagues like to discuss how much they are making per hour because it seems the most relevant. It may not be as exciting to say “I get one sick day per quarter and a 3% contribution to a 401k”. Our advice to both employees and employers is to make sure they have a full understanding of the total compensation package and shift the focus away from the hourly rate by itself.

If you want more in depth analysis or a conversation about your particular situation, please contact a placement consultant at Dental Connections.



74% Full Time Hygienists (3-5 days/wk):
26% Part Time Hygienists (1-2 days/wk):
94% Working in General Practice:
6% Working in Specialty Practice:

WA State Average $45.84

• King County $47.30
• Pierce County $46.08
• Thurston/Mason County $45.32
• Kitsap County $47.30
• Snohomish County $46.19
• Skagit/Whatcom County $46.04
• Cowlitz/Clark County $39.65
• Coastal Counties $50.93
• Eastern Washington $42.74

Overall Average 13.92 years
With Current Position 7.29 years

94% Recall/Continuing Care
46% Photography
97% Periodontal Procedures
7% Rubber Dam Placement
18% Restorative Procedures
21% Impressions
4% Temporaries
54% X-rays
89% Digital X-rays
83% Computer in Op
54% Sealants
11% Laser
94% Anesthesia
79% Nitrous Oxide Admin
72% Schedule Appointments
23% Business Office Duties

Important note: part time and full time respondent results are combined which lowers the percentages of some categories. Part time employees generally have fewer benefits than full time employees.

55% Medical Insurance
74% Dental Insurance
9% Life Insurance
58% Retirement
43% Bonuses
76% Paid Vacation
71% Holidays
48% Sick or Well Leave
58% C/E Paid
50% Uniform Allowance