Without fail, in surveys across basically every demographic, the number one most important aspect of a job for most people is the salary — how much do dentists get paid where I live?
And while there are many things to go into how much you can expect to make, there’s really good data for average salaries for dentists by state across America broken down by seniority level. So while your city may be slightly different than the state average, these averages give you a rough sense of what to expect for your salary.
So to better understand how dentist salaries change across America, we decided to take a look the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on average pay for dentists by state.
Additionally, we wanted to adjust the salary based on the cost of living in a state — because your salary goes further in North Carolina than it does in California.
The state with the best salary for dentists (and future dentists) after this adjustment? That would be North Dakota. Here’s a quick snapshot of the top ten states for dentist salaries:
Let’s take a look at how we got here and a full ranking of all the states.
As we mentioned earlier, we took the average annual salary data for dentists from the 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics — specifically their “Occupational Employment Statistics”.
However, to make the comparison of salaries apples to apples across states, we also took into account the cost of living.
We then created an index by dividing the average wage for a state by the cost of living in that state. As an example, the cost of living in California is $57,315 and the average dentist pay is $170,490, so our index value would be:
$170,490 / $57,315 = 2.97
We then ranked every state on this criteria with the state with the highest salary index ranking as highest average salary for dentists.
Here’s a look at the full ranking for all states.