Dental hygienists typically work in dentists' offices cleaning patients' teeth and teaching patients about good oral hygiene. Most hygienists must hold a degree from a dental hygienist program and meet state licensing requirements before they are able to receive payment for services.
As of 2008, the median annual pay for a dental hygienist was £43,270, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with 50 per cent of hygienists making between £35,893 and £51,343 a year. The lowest paid 10 per cent of hygienists made £28,665 on average, while the highest paid 10 per cent made an average of over £59,455.
Dental hygienist pay is based on several factors including years of experience, office settings and geographic considerations, according to the BLS. In addition, hygienists are often paid in a variety of ways including hourly wages, salaried positions or on commission. Hygienists with bachelor's degrees or extensive training may work outside of a dentist's office and receive a higher pay rate.
According to the BLS, approximately half of all dental hygienists received some employment benefits as part of their compensation in 2009. Benefits are often offered exclusively to full-time hygienists and vary with each dental practice. Common benefits offered to hygienists include retirement plan options, paid vacation time and allotted sick leave.