Dental Assistant Salary
Dental Assistant Salary is your one stop destination to kick start your career! Are you interested in becoming a DA or just learning about the occupation? It is an ever growing field with over 300,000 in the US in 2010 and is expected to grow by 31% by 2020! Most DA’s work in healthcare dental offices and some work in Federal and State government. They are in high demand so your chances of becoming one are excellent! There are an estimated 80,000 annual dental assistant job openings!
Pursuing a job as a DA can also be great experience if you want to further your career in the field of dentistry. Lots of dental assistants go on to become dental hygienists and even dentists! Not only that but there is high job satisfaction, a great salary, and great benefits as well.
DA’s are crucial members of the dental care team. They help the dentist by increasing the efficiency of the entire procedure. Strong communication skills, hands on learning, and a career with responsibility are some of the characteristics of becoming one.
Dental Assistant Salary
A dental assistant salary is more than great being that you don’t need years of formal education like dental hygienists or dentists. In fact most DA’s only have a high school diploma. That means there are tons of openings for people looking to become one. The average median dental assistant salary ranges but is somewhere around $33,350 per year which is about $16.09 per hour. The low 10% can expect a $25,605 salary while the top 10% can expect a $40,750 salary. You can also expect social security, 401K/403B, disability, healthcare, pension, and time off benefits which can be invaluable. Salary wages vary largely by state, city, and level of experience. The highest paying cities are Manchester, NH, San Francisco, CA, Barnstable Town, MA, Anchorage, AK, and Minneapolis, MN. If you’re passionate about dental assisting there’s good money to be made!
You can find out more about dental assistant salaries by state here. Hover over individual states to find out more information.
Registered(RDA) and certified(CDA) dental assistants can make more by obtaining a registered license or national certification. With it you can expect to earn an average of $1.54 more than regular dental assistants, potentially making an average of $36,670 a year.
You can find out more about dental assistant salary here.
Dental Assistant Job Description
A DA has many roles. Typically they include preparing medications, sterilizing/preparing dental instruments, taking x-rays, record keeping, assisting the dentist with oral surgery, and instructing patients and making them feel as comfortable as possible until the dentist is ready to operate. Usually DA’s work in offices employing less than 100 people so their jobs are important. Their work revolves very closely around dentists and are crucial for making the procedure as efficient and effective as possible. Duties vary by office and state so it’s important to see what your job in each state entails.
You can find out more about job descriptions here.
Dental Assistant Requirements
As far as requirements go most employers don’t require formal education, depending on state. Most dental assistants only have a high school degree (about 78%) and ~33% have experience of less than 1 year. 23% have experience of 2-5 years, 18% have 5-10 years experience, and 11% have 10-15. This means that becoming a DA is relatively straightforward as most assistants receive skills on the job. If you go through training programs in community colleges, trade schools, technical institutes, or from the military your chances will be that much higher and you will receive a higher starting salary. Some states require you to be licensed or registered however it is a fairly straightforward process as well. Dental assistant school is strongly recommended to have the upper edge in the field.
You can learn more about differing state requirements by clicking on individual states below.
Dental Assistant Advancement Opportunities
If you are already a DA you can always further your career with a number of options. You can always take it a step further and become a registered/certified dental assistant (RDA/CDA) and earn a higher dental assistant salary or you can continue your education and become a dental hygienist or even a dentist. There are even options of becoming DA instructors, dental product sales representatives, or office managers if you’re willing to. Dental assisting is a great building block to further your career in dentistry.
Registered(RDA) and certified(CDA) DA’s have the potential to make much more by obtaining a registered license or national certification. Becoming registered means you receive your state license title and becoming certified means you receive national certification which can allow you to undertake expanded functions. In California a registered DA must pass several examinations and complete a certification course accredited with the American Dental Association. A certified DA must pass a national test administered by the DANB.