A 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report indicates that there are 183,380 dental hygienists employed in the US. Of these, 1,980 practice in the Commonwealth of Kentucky where they are licensed and monitored by the Kentucky Board of Dentistry.
The average annual salary earned by dental hygienists in Kentucky is $56,450. A highly competent dental hygienist with years of experience has the potential to earn close to $70,000 a year or more. A further breakdown of salaries in Kentucky is:
- 10th Percentile Annual Salary – $42,540
- 25th Percentile Annual Salary – $49,250
Salaries differ depending on education, experience and location. The average annual dental hygienist salaries in nonmetropolitan areas of Kentucky are (highest to lowest):
- West Central Kentucky – $58,270
- Western Kentucky – $56,580
- South Central Kentucky – $47,800
- Eastern Kentucky – $45,540
Career Outlook for Dental Hygienists in Kentucky
The occupational outlook for dental hygienists is excellent. The government expects the number of jobs to increase 33 percent by 2018. This is good news for the roughly 154 students who graduate each year from one of Kentucky’s six dental hygiene schools which are conveniently located in cities across the state, including Bowling Green, Henderson, Lexington, Louisville and Paducah.
Most dental hygienists in Kentucky and elsewhere work in the private practice offices of dentists. Nationally, 183,380 dental hygienists work in dental offices followed by a distant second place of 2,260 who are employed in the offices of physicians. Smaller numbers of dental hygienists work for employment services and outpatient clinics. As might be expected, private practice dentists pay the highest salaries, followed by outpatient clinics, private practice physicians and employment services in that order.
The following BLS table illustrates salary differences in various Kentucky cities: