Salary & Benefits Survey

In the August 2006 issue, RDH asked readers for information regarding income and benefits.

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In the August 2006 issue, RDH asked readers for information regarding income and benefits. Here are the results.

A hygienist works part time and anticipates earning $80,000 in 2006. Another hygienist expects to earn $20,000 on a full-time basis. Both live in the same state!

Such oddities are encountered when conducting salary surveys. The one that startles us is when we browse through a respondent’s answers and think the income seems awfully low. We expect a lynch-the-dentist attitude with the answers to a couple of subjective questions. Instead, we’ll encounter nothing but happiness. Sometimes a hygienist will even draw a little smiley face beside his or her answer. On the other hand, the person making the largest hourly or daily rate sometimes doesn’t think the raises are coming fast enough. A little frown is drawn beside his or her answers.

Happiness in the occupation of dental hygiene is in the eye of the beholder, eh?

Enjoy the salary survey results for what they’re worth. Hopefully, you are treated with professional respect, earn a good income, and truly enjoy walking into the office each workday morning.

We think the median scale - the exact midpoint - helps. Most respondents were likely honest with their answers, since they want to compare notes, so to speak, in a way that helps them determine bargaining positions with employers. If you see your hourly rate in any of the demographic breakdowns listed, for example, you can visualize a long line of people. You’re in the exact middle of the line. Everyone in front of you earns more than you do. Everyone behind you earns less.

The beauty of what you do for a living is what you see with your eyes. Here’s more information about the demographic breakdowns:

Location - The questionnaire asked if you practice in a “metropolitan area, including suburbs” or in a “small town or rural area.” The question has been around for several years. It was inserted literally because New York City hygienists did not like being grouped with other hygienists in the state, even Buffalo. There is a distinction, as noted in the charts, but we would advise against thinking that country bumpkins don’t know how to negotiate salaries.

General dentistry - We asked a question that identified hygienists who work in public health or specialty practices. The overwhelming majority of RDH readers practice in general dentistry practices, and we wanted the median rates to reflect what’s the standard.

Experience - This is another old question that probably causes more grief than it’s worth. Simply stated, veterans don’t like it when rookies earn as much or more. It’s hard to promote the profession as a long-term endeavor if career experience never seems to mean anything.

ADHA - We debated on whether to add this question. The association itself maintains a healthy distance from any debate on whether membership bears a direct impact on income. But we’ve all heard ADHA members talk about the benefits of membership on their careers, even if it’s something vague such as confidence about self-worth. They may be right. Some states’ members do appear to earn more than non-members. Even if there’s just a dollar difference, that could mean an additional $1,500 a year, which more than covers the ADHA dues.

Raises - The percentages reflected in the charts are not always a direct inverse of each other. We saw many little notes saying to the effect, “Well, yeah, I got a raise last year, but I should have gotten it three years ago.”

Benefits - Some readers wish we would explore benefits in more detail. It’s just a little too hard for us to envision reporting on everything from uniform allowances to an extra $50 at Christmas to chocolate chip cookies on Wednesdays. So we focus on health insurance. We’re still surprised that such a large number of health-care professionals lack health-care insurance. We also remain surprised that dentistry still thinks it attracts a higher caliber of talent by wishing its employees would just rely on a spouse’s insurance policy.

Commissions - In addition to the income charts, many descriptions of the states have details regarding “alternative pay strategies.” It’s not intended to be comprehensive, but there are some interesting pay schedules out there.

1,120 RDH readers participated in the survey. Click here to view results of Salary Survey...

States’ statistics and alternative pay plans

Alabama Six responses. Four reported hourly rates and three were at $20 an hour. One commission only reported earning 23 percent of production with a daily minimum of $120. Another hygienist reported earning $7.30 an hour plus $7 per patient.

Alaska One response. One part-time hygienist in a rural setting reported an hourly rate of $45.

ArkansasSeven responses. Three hourly rates (median: $35.50) were reported for rural settings, and three daily rates (median: $260) were reported for metropolitan settings. A commission-only hygienist with a reported annual income of $70,000 receives 50 percent on “all procedures that I perform or delegate to my assistant.”

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Arizona See chart on page 42 for income information. 77 percent of the metropolitan hygienists reported earning hourly rates in the $35 to $40 range. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

  • A hygienist earning $37 an hour said, “I also receive 30 percent of whatever I produce over my goal.”
  • Another hygienist earning $37 an hour said, “Salary with bonus based on office collection and production divided equally with staff.”
  • A part-time hygienist said daily rate is based on “40 percent of all my production.”
  • Another hygienist said, “All hygiene production that exceeds a monthly goal goes into a pool. Hygiene hours worked are totaled, then the number of hygiene hours worked are divided into the pool money to come up with an hourly bonus amount. Each hygienist receives a bonus equal to the number of hours worked in the month, times the hourly bonus amount.”
  • A hygienist working in two offices said one of them pays “$34 an hour and 10 percent commission on my root planing.”

California See chart on page 42 for income information. In the metropolitan practice setting, 45 percent reported earning hourly rates in the $43 to $45 range. However, almost twice as many respondents opted to share daily rates: 22 percent earn $350 a day; 35 percent indicated daily rates of $400 or more. In the small town/rural practice setting, 54 percent earn hourly rates in the $40 to $44 range, and 55 percent earn daily rates of either $350 or $400. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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  • A hygienist said she receives 33 percent of X-rays, sealants, antimicrobials, and scalings.
  • A hygienist said she receives $40 an hour plus “$13 extra if I do X-rays,” as well as 65 percent of $70 prophies.
  • A hygienist said she receives 55 percent of production, $300 minimum for eight-hour day.
  • A recent graduate who works at multiple practices and receives hourly rates of $45 and $46.88 also receives $15 for every SRP quad and $10 for recommended crowns.
  • A hygienist receives a daily salary of $445 and monthly bonus based on total office profit, making her daily rate approximately $540 a day.
  • A hygienist earning $45 an hour said the number of days producing $800 is multiplied by days worked, receiving 10 percent of the production over the amount.
  • A hygienist with a daily rate of $375 receives $15 for every day’s quota reached, $50 if monthly quota is reached.
  • A hygienist receives 20 percent of all production over daily goal of $1,100. “After we reach the goal, the bonus is divided equally among the staff, not including the dentist.”
  • A hygienist said, “After reaching goal of $800 per day, we get 39 percent at each $50 increments minus our daily rate of $275. Example: $859 produced would be an additional $56.50 made that day.”

Colorado See chart on page 42 for income information. In the metropolitan setting, 29 percent earn $38 an hour, and 25 percent earn hourly rates in the $35 to $36 range. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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  • A hygienist earning $36.50 per hour said the hourly rate is supplemented with 10 percent of collections beyond $7,500 of collections per month.
  • A hygienist receiving $27.35 an hour said he or she also receives 18.66 percent of production each month. “Plus, if my production is over $1,000 a day, I get 35 percent. With this, I average $200 to $300 in bonuses a week.”

Connecticut See chart on page 42 for income information. In the metropolitan setting, the range was $30 to $67 an hour, evenly split between over or under $40. In the small town or rural setting, 33 percent earn $33 an hour. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

  • A hygienist earning “at least $250 per day” said, “All of the hygienists are paid by commission. We are paid 33 percent of our production ... Each of us also pay a small percentage of the front desk salary since they fill our schedule and confirm our appointments.”
  • A hygienist earning $105,000 a year said straight commission is based on “30 percent of production with a base pay of $224 if the 30 percent is less than $224.”
  • A part-time hygienist said income is based on 40 percent of “routine services and exams” and 25 percent of X-rays and fluoride treatments.

Delaware Four responses. Three hourly rates ranging from $28 to $32 were reported.

District of Columbia One response. A full-time hygienist reported an hourly rate of $60.

Florida ­See chart on page 42 for income information. In the metropolitan setting, 17 percent earn $30 an hour; another 29 percent earn either $27 or $29 an hour. In the rural setting, 36 percent earned $28 to $29 an hour; 45 percent, though, reported earning a daily rate with 56 percent earning between $200 and $240 a day. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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  • A hygienist earning $30 an hour receives a “bonus of $50 if we reach production goal per day, and bonus of $100 if we exceed production goal by $30.”
  • A hygienist earning a daily rate of $275 also receives 5% commission on sales of take-home products.

Georgia ­See chart on page 43 for income information. In the metropolitan setting, 35 percent earn hourly rates in the $32 to $35 range; 40 percent reported earning daily rates in the $300 to $335 range. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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  • An urban hygienist earning a daily rate of $235 said, “We are paid on a daily basis and if we meet production for the month, we are given a bonus - approximately $150.“
  • An urban hygienist earning a daily rate of $235 said, “We are paid on a daily basis and if we meet production for the month, we are given a bonus - approximately $150.“
  • A hygienist earning a daily rate of $312 earns a “bonus on sold items if daily production is $1,200.”

    Hawaii One response. One part-time hygienist in a metropolitan setting reported earning $36 an hour.

    Idaho Five responses. The median hourly rate among six reported (one hygienist worked for two offices) was $30 in a range from $28 to $35.

    Illinois See chart on page 43 for income information. In the metropolitan setting, 39 percent earn $35 to $36 an hour; another 15 percent earn $38 an hour. In the small town/rural setting, hourly rates range from $23 to $44; however, 38 percent report commission-only or daily rate pay schedules. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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    • A rural hygienist said income is $400 a week plus 10 percent of production, “approximately $300 extra a week.”
    • A hygienist said hourly rate of $36.50 is supplemented with 33 percent commission on prophies, fluoride treatments, sealants, and X-rays.
    • A hygienist with a base hourly rate of $35 said, “For every $1,000 the whole practice collects over a goal, I get an additional 25 cents an hour more. The most bonus per hours reached so far was $6.76 added to my base pay.”
    • A commission-only hygienist who projected an annual income of $120,000 for 2006 said income was based on “50 percent of collections on my production.”

    Indiana See chart on page 43 for income information. In the metropolitan practice setting, 25 percent earn an hourly rate of $30; 31 percent earn rates of either $33 or $34 an hour. In the small town/rural setting, 31 percent earn hourly rates in the $28 to $29 range, but 46 percent earn more than $30 an hour. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

    • The only daily rate reported for the state was $240. Its recipient adds $75 to the rate two days a week when working out of two chairs.
    • A part-time commission-only hygienist projected to earn $60,000 in 2006 said he or she receives 47.5 percent of all production except bitewings (but other X-rays if scheduled).
    • A hygienist with a base hourly rate of $25.76 said bonuses are awarded if total office production is more than $125,000 a month. “We don’t get too many.”
    • A full-time hygienist with an hourly rate of $27 at one office also worked part-time in a commission-only office where he or she earned 44 percent of production.

    Iowa 11 responses. Five of the hourly rates reported for general dental practices were over $30 ($31 to $37). However, the four hourly rates under $30 ($25 to $29) were reported from rural settings. Six of the 11 responses were hygienists who have been practicing for six to 15 years. The average estimated annual income for the eight hygienists working more than 30 hours a week was $50,785. One hygienist works for commission only, saying he or she receives “33 percent of production, not including the exam and a small monthly commission ranging from $80 to $150.”

    Kansas 13 responses. Three of the six full-time hygienists projected annual incomes ranging from $52,000 to $58,000. Six also earned hourly rates in a metropolitan setting (the median is $32). Two hygienists were commission only. One said “50 percent of fees.” The other one, who projected a 2006 income of $95,000, said, “I split my collections, not production, with the doctor. I really like the system as it makes me evaluate patients for their ability, and their insurance companies’ abilities, to compensate me for my services.”

    Kentucky 11 responses. The 10 hourly rates reported were evenly split between metropolitan and rural settings. $30 is the median for the former; $26 is the median for the countryside. One hygienist said base of $30 an hour was supplemented by a bonus based on net collection and products sold.

    Louisiana Seven responses. Five work full time, projecting an average income of $55,000 for 2006. Six hygienists reported from metropolitan settings; two of the hourly rates were $27, and two of the daily rates were $240 to $250. One hygienist in a new office earned a third of production “or $200 per day if it is a washout. So it can be anywhere from $200 to the highest so far per day, which was $443. In my three weeks on the job, I have made well over the base pay of $200. At my previous job, I had just gotten a raise to put me at $31.25 per hour.” Another hygienist said income was based on “monthly rate plus profit-sharing bonus derived by total office accounts receivable - not just hygiene.”

    Maine Seven responses. The average projected income for 2006 for the four full-time hygienists is $46,875. Five work in a rural setting with a median hourly rate of $25.

    Maryland See chart on page 43 for income information. For the entire state (as opposed to rural vs. metropolitan that you see with other states within this article), 24 percent earn $35; 35 percent earn either $33, $37, or $43. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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    • A part-time hygienist projecting an income of $57,000 in 2006 said the salary is “50 percent commission of everything I do.”
    • A part-time hygienist with a projected income of $48,000 in 2006 reported, “40 percent of all gross - prophy, exam, X-rays, and fluoride. The 40 percent is all based on what the insurance or patient pays. I receive no vacation pay, no health insurance, no sick pay, and no pension or profit sharing.”

    Massachusetts See chart on page 43 for income information. 26 percent in the metropolitan practice setting earn $34 an hour and another 26 percent earn $37 an hour. In the small town setting, 56 percent earn $33 to $34 an hour. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

    • A hygienist earning $34 an hour said, “Commission is 10 percent of any amount after a total of $1,200 of daily production has been met.”
    • A hygienist with a projected income of $72,000 in 2006 reported, “Had been on 20 percent commission on gross production plus bonuses, but doctor chose to switch all hygienists to an hourly wage of $37 an hour plus bonuses.”

    Michigan See chart on page 43 for income information. In the metropolitan setting, 25 percent earn $30 an hour and 19 percent earn $28 an hour. In the small town/rural setting, 29 percent earn $26 an hour; 42 percent earn either $25 or $29 an hour. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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    • A hygienist earning $28 an hour added, “We receive a monthly bonus as a whole office by production and collection.”
    • A hygienist said a “team bonus” was paid monthly for every daily goal met, “usually $20 a day.”

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    Minnesota See chart on page 43 for more income information. 44 percent of metropolitan hygienists earned an hourly rate of $35 or $36. Three of five rural hygienists reported hourly rates of $27 or $28. See chart for more income information.

    Missouri See chart on page 48 for more income information. 47 percent of metropolitan hygienists earned an hourly rate ranging from $29 to $31. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

    • A part-time hygienist projected a 2006 income of $80,000 based on a commission-only pay scale derived from 50 percent on all hygiene production, including exams.
    • A rural hygienist projected a 2006 income of $70,000 based on 36.5 percent received on collections.
    • A rural, part-time hygienist projecting an income of $46,500 said, “I make 30 percent of total production from dental hygiene.”

    Mississippi Five responses. Four work more than 30 hours a week. But it was too difficult to analyze the results. Two of the projected annual incomes were in the upper $30,000 range; the other two were in the lower $50,000 range. The two hourly salaries were $20 and $36; the two daily rates were $190 and $250. One hygienist reported earning $11.50 an hour plus 20 percent commission on most hygiene procedures except exams.

    Montana Three responses. Two work according to hourly rates - $30 and $35. The former works in a rural setting. The third one, also a rural hygienist, receives $28 an hour plus 5 percent commission.

    Nebraska Nine responses. Five work more than 30 hours a week; the average projected income for 2006 was $42,600. Seven work in metropolitan or suburban settings; the median hourly rate was $32. Both of the rural practitioners were under $30 an hour.

    Nevada 5 responses. Four practiced more than 30 hours a week; two received hourly rates of $36 and $40, and two received daily rates of $300 and $330. One of the latter said, “In addition to my daily rate, I work two days a week with assisted hygiene. On those days I get a commission of 18 percent on any production I make above my average non-assisted production.”

    New Hampshire 14 responses. 12 respondents work more than 30 hours a week, projecting an average 2006 income of $56,060. Nine indicate they work in small town or rural settings, earning a median hourly rate of $34 ($38 was the high; $32 was the low). Eleven respondents have more than 16 years of experience, earning a median hourly rate of $35. The group was evenly split between ADHA members and non-members; unlike many other states in this survey, New Hampshire non-members had a higher median rate ($34 to $33). Although 79 percent had received a raise in the previous 12 months, 50 percent said raises did not occur at “fair intervals.”

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    New Jersey See chart on page 48 for income information. 50 percent of the metropolitan hygienists reported hourly rates in the $37 to $40 range. A statistical oddity occurred with New Jersey. Almost all of the rural hygienists worked full time, while many of the metropolitan hygienists indicated that they worked fewer than 30 hours a week. In the chart, metropolitan vs. rural mirrors part time vs. full time. The average projected income for 2006 would have likely been higher if more urban full-timers had participated. One comment about alternative pay strategies includes:

    • A rural hygienist earning $35 an hour and who projected a 2006 income of $60,000 said, “Monthly bonus is based on office production and collection, approximately $700 monthly.”

    New Mexico Four responses. Two hygienists projected full-time 2006 income to fall between $58,000 and $60,000. One commission-only hygienist said he or she earns “50 percent of everything I do.”

    New York See chart on page 48 for income information. 26 percent of the metropolitan/suburban hygienists reported hourly rates in the $23 to $25 range; 20 percent indicated hourly rates in the $34 to $35 range. The differences likely reflect the unique urban settings in New York. Out in the “countryside,” 30 percent of the rural/small town hygienists reported hourly rates in the $25 to $26 range. 39 percent of all respondents indicated they have practiced for more than 26 years, a high percentage when compared to other states. 80 percent of the hygienists with under five years’ experience indicated they work in metropolitan settings, which may have unduly influenced the median hourly rate in the chart. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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    • A small town hygienist earning $26 an hour said he or she “also gets 15 percent of production over monthly goal.”
    • A rural hygienist earning $31 an hour said, “I get paid one-third of my production once it is over a certain amount each month. If my salary plus commission is under $31 an hour, my boss pays me $31. If my salary plus commission is over $31, that is what my paycheck is.”
    • A rural hygienist earning $28 an hour said, “Bonuses depend on quarterly productivity. Goals are increased as each one is met. I have not reached the current goal in the last five quarters.”
    • A public health hygienist said, “I feel I am very underpaid compared to the hygienists’ salaries in the private sector and have been working along with other state employed hygienists to seek an upgrading to our salaries. We have been waiting almost two years, but we are promised an answer soon.”

    North Carolina See chart on page 48 for income information. 31 percent of metropolitan/suburban hygienists reported hourly rates of $32 to $33; $25 or $30 were the two most commonly reported hourly rates for small town/rural hygienists. However, 53 percent of the latter group said they earned daily rates, which ranged from $195 to $270. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

    • A small town hygienist working only on commission said he or she earns “34 percent commission from collections, a small amount of total office production bonus, and work with an assistant, which is awesome.”
    • Another commissions-only hygienist projected a 2006 income of $85,000 based on 33.4 percent of gross hygiene income.
    • A full-time metropolitan hygienist earning $28 an hour said the hourly rate is tied to a “weekly bonus according to number of patients seen per week.”

    North Dakota Four responses. All four practice full time and projected an average 2006 income of $46,000. The hourly rates ranged from $25 to $31.

    Ohio See chart on page 48 for income information. In the metropolitan/suburban practice settings, 29 percent earned $30 an hour; 24 percent earned $28 to $29 an hour; 13 percent earned $32 an hour. In the small town/rural settings, 55 percent were evenly split between earning $25, $27, or $30 an hour. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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    • A rural hygienist earning almost $29 an hour said, “Bonus program is also awarded according to production per month. Goal is $90 per hour; any production over that, the award is 25 percent.”
    • A metropolitan hygienist earning $30 an hour said there was a “$100 to $300 bonus if we reach certain production goals.”
    • A commission-only metropolitan hygienist said he or she earns 35 percent of production. “For the past 18 years, we have received the doctor’s exam as part of this, but under a new dentist, we do not get the doctor’s exam.”
    • A metropolitan hygienist earning $24 an hour said, “I get paid for four hours or eight hours, regardless if I work longer into my lunch hour or over at the end of the day, but minutes are deducted if I leave a few minutes early. Last paycheck, I ‘donated’ approximately 20 to 40 minutes daily, but was docked for leaving 12 minutes early on one of the days when I did not have to wait long for an exam by the doctor.”

    Oklahoma Nine responses. Seven practiced more than 30 hours a week, projecting an average 2006 income of $54,140. Eight reported their earnings as a daily rate, and the median rate was $245.

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    Oregon 19 responses. Ten indicated they practiced more than 30 hours a week, projecting an average income of $61,000 for 2006. The median hourly rate for the state is $35, and the median rate remained the same regardless of urban vs. rural distinctions. 50 percent earned $34 to $35 an hour.

    Pennsylvania See chart on page 49 for income information; 39 percent indicated they had six to 15 years’ experience, which may have influenced some of the median rates in the chart. In the metropolitan/suburban practice setting, 48 percent reported hourly rates in the $30 to $33 range. In the small town/rural setting, 37 percent reported hourly rates in the $26 to $27 range. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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    • A metropolitan hygienist earning $35 an hour said he or she also receives a monthly bonus, “an average of $250.”
    • A rural hygienist earning $27.50 an hour also works on a “part commission basis. I will receive a bonus check each month, which is figured out by taking 30 percent of the profit over a base amount. The base amount is dependent on number of hours worked and hourly wage.”
    • A metropolitan hygienist receiving $31 an hour said income is supplemented by “10 percent perio commission, averaging about $500 to $800 every three months.”
    • A commission-only hygienist in a rural setting reported earning “40 percent of production, minus deductions for captitation plans.”

    Rhode Island Four responses. The four hourly rates reported were $28, $29, $32, and $33.

    South Carolina 17 responses. The projected average 2006 income for hygienists working more than 30 hours a week was $47,300. The overall median hourly rate for the state is $26. The median for metropolitan/suburban hygienists is $27, while the median for small town/rural hygienists is $26. One rural hygienist said, “My salary is based on $25 an hour or 35 percent commission - whichever is greater for the week. Procedures included in the commission calculation are prophies, fluorides, scaling, debridement, perio maintenance, and sealants. I do not get commission on X-rays, which I think I should.”

    South Dakota Two responses. The two hourly rates reported were $29 and $30.

    Tennessee 16 responses. The average projected 2006 income for hygienists working more than 30 hours a week was $54,770. The state’s median hourly rate is $28, and the median daily rate is $245. There were not enough responses in most demographic categories, but the median daily rate for hygienists in metropolitan/suburban settings is $260. One hygienist earning $300 a day said, “I get paid daily, with a quarterly bonus based on production and collection for the whole office. The entire staff receives this bonus, and the amount is based on how many days you work per week.” A rural hygienist earning $250 plus bonus a day explained, “I get 33.5 percent of whatever I produce. If the day falls apart, which rarely happens, I get $125. I also receive a quarterly bonus.”

    TexasSee chart on page 49 for income information. 29 percent of metropolitan/suburban hygienists earned $32 to $33 an hour; 19 percent earned $35 an hour. The small town/rural hygienists reported hourly rates ranging from $26 to $30 an hour. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

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    • A rural hygienist reporting a daily rate of $240 explained, “I am guaranteed $240 a day, but I am paid 32 percent of my actual production per day. I started at 30 percent, then moved to 31 percent, then 32 percent. My raises are based on increased production and fee increases.”
    • An urban hygienist working at a daily rate of $255 said, “If the daily average for a month is over a set amount, I receive a bonus of $450.”
    • A metropolitan hygienist earning $34 and $36 an hour at two offices asked, “I would be interested to know if other hygienists are asked to leave if there are no patients scheduled for a part of the day?” Actually, a fellow Texan earning $30 an hour said in his or her response, “If the patients cancel or there are no more patients, the manager asks you to leave.”
    • A hygienist earning 45 percent commission in two locations scrawled beside the question regarding health insurance: “[Did not receive health insurance] for seven years. They told me I am too educated. The office accountant caught this and told them it was unlawful.”
    • A part-time rural hygienist receives 50 percent of total production. He or she works under 16 hours a week and projected a 2006 income of $35,000.
    • A hygienist working in an adult general and cosmetic dental practice projected a 2006 income of $70,000 based on a daily rate of $288 “plus 4 percent of collections above goal, if reached. Our goal is $65,000 a month.”

    Utah Five responses. All five worked part time. In the metropolitan setting, $32 and $240 were the reported hourly and daily rates; a $27 hourly rate was reported for the rural setting.

    Vermont Five responses. Only two of the respondents worked full-time. The hourly rates reported were $26, $27, $28, $29, and $37.

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    VirginiaSee chart on page 49 for income information. 15 percent of metropolitan/suburban hygienists earn $38 an hour; 45 percent earn $40 or more an hour. In small town/rural setting, 63 percent earn $35 to $36 an hour. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

    • A metropolitan hygienist earning $55 an hour said, “With my salary, we get a bonus. It is based on the percentage over a monthly goal. Our bonuses range from $100 to $700 a month. As of this July [2006], we have missed our bonus once.”
    • A rural hygienist said, “I receive $5 on each panorex film taken, and 30 percent of daily production or $250 per day, whichever is higher.”
    • A metropolitan hygienist projecting a 2006 income of $70,000 said earnings are based on “38 percent of production, or $300 per day. I never make less than $300 per day.”

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    WashingtonSee chart on page 49 for income information. In the metropolitan/suburban setting, 50 percent earn $41 to $43 an hour.

    West Virginia Nine responses. Five work more than 30 hours a week, and they projected an average 2006 income of $45,170. The median hourly rate for the state is $23, but six indicated they work in rural settings, earning anywhere from $17 to $25 an hour.

    WisconsinSee chart on page 49 for income information. In both rural and metropolitan practice settings, 41 percent of hygienists earned $30 an hour or more. Comments about alternative pay strategies include:

    • A metropolitan hygienist earning $27 an hour said his or her income was supplemented with commission. “The percentage is a certain amount over production and collection over $72,000 a month. The 15 percent of the amount over $72,000 is then divided by seven employees.”
    • A small town hygienist earning $33.50 an hour reported an “additional $400 a month in commissions” en route to projecting a 2006 income of $55,000.
    • A small town hygienist earning $29 an hour said, “If we meet the goal for the day, we receive $10 extra for the day.” The same reader added this footnote to the question about the frequency of raises: “I have been here five years and received a total raise of $1.”

    Wyoming Four responses. All four work in rural settings and reported the hourly rates of $27, $30, and $35.

    1 PayScale.com offers dental hygienists and hiring managers the ability to research pay rates for a current job, evaluate future job offers, and compare potential candidates for open positions. PayScale incorporates pay influences such as years in the field, skills, certifications, education and geographic region. PayScale (www.payscale.com) was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Seattle, Wash.

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