Dental Assistant Salary

Dental AssitantDental assistants can be found working in dentists offices, performing a variety of tasks and functions. The duties that they perform are integral to the successful operation of any dental practice. Their responsibilities range from assisting the dentist during dental procedures to managing the day-to-day operations of the office. It is not uncommon to find a dental assistant taking x-rays for one patient and then handling appointments and billing for another. The requirements for becoming a dental assistant vary by state with some requiring the completion of a certification program from an accredited school.

 


National Average Dental Assistant Salary

$36,260

 

Salary Range

Hourly Wage                          Annual Wage

                    Upper:             $23.82                                       $49,540

                    Median:           $17.02                                       $35,390

                    Lower:             $11.82                                       $24,580

 

 

States With Highest Salary

State                                    Avg. Hourly Wage                 Avg. Annual Wage

  • New Hampshire                          $21.43                                     $44,580
  • Alaska                                             $20.94                                     $43,550
  • Minnesota                                     $20.75                                     $43,160
  • Massachusetts                             $20.00                                     $41,590
  • North Dakota                               $19.71                                      $40,990

*All statistical data is from the U.S. Department of Labor and is updated quarterly

Job Description:

A dental assistant can be found doing a great variety of jobs within a dentist’s office. As can be assumed from the job title, they act as assistants for dentists during dental procedures. This can include everything from preparing an examination room and sterilizing dental instruments, to taking x-rays of the patients teeth.

They also perform organizational duties such as the scheduling of appointments, record keeping, and billing. This profession shares some of the same responsibilities as surgical techs, nurses, office managers, radiology technicians, and several other health care professions.

Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Preparing examination rooms
  • Preparing the mixture used for taking impressions of teeth
  • The sterilization of dental tools
  • Handing the dentist necessary tools during dental procedures
  • Assisting with dental procedures
  • Discussing dental related issues with patients
  • Calming patients who are nervous
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Taking x-rays
  • Bill Processingfindaschoolbutton

 

Work Environment:

Dental AssistantDental assistants work alongside dentists and dental hygienists, with the majority working regular full-time hours. A dentist can specialize in a specific area of dentistry, therefore someone may be employed by an office that specializes in pediatric dentistry while another person works in an office that serves patients of all ages. Jobs are also available working for cosmetic dentists and orthodontists.  This career offers a choice if one wants to work in a specialty office.

A person who goes through dental assistant training learns how to use various types of equipment. One example is an air and water syringe. This tool is used to spray water on a tooth to rinse it as dental work is being performed. Air can also be sprayed onto a tooth to dry it during a procedure. Another piece of equipment is a small suction hose. This tool removes saliva from a patient’s mouth as he or she is being examined. An x-ray machine is another important piece of equipment used in this profession.

Safety is part of the curriculum taught in dental assistant schools. It’s important for these professionals to protect themselves and their patients from germs. Consequently, they wear rubber gloves, surgical masks and safety glasses when they work with a patient’s teeth. They also wear scrubs to protect themselves from bacteria. When x-ray of a patient’s teeth are taken, he or she steps out of the examination room. This helps to protect them against any unnecessary exposure to radiation.

How To Become A Dental Assistant:

Dental Assistant Schools:

The educational requirements for this career varies according to the state in which they will be working, some states requiring the completion of an accredited training program while other states do not require any formal training at all.  In states without any requirements most training is completed while on the job.  Of course, people who have graduated from an accredited dental assistant training program are more desirable to potential employers.findaschoolbutton

Individuals who attend dental assistant schools take courses on how to use various types of equipment and tools. There are other courses that teach students about the anatomy of the mouth, how to prevent infection, how to properly file patient records and more.  Most programs are completed within one to two years, with students receiving either certification or an Associates degree.

Dental Assistant Certification and Licensing:

In order to become certified, eligible candidates must pass an examination. In order to take the test successful completion of an accredited program is necessary, though in some states the only prerequisite for taking the exam is receiving on-the-job training. Some states require a dental assistant to obtain a license to perform certain procedures.  Someone interested in this career would be wise to check the requirements of his or her own state.

 

Who Should Become a Dental Assistant?

A major part of this work involves dealing with patients. Consequently, anyone considering this career should enjoy interacting with people. Oftentimes, a they must deal with patients who are nervous or hesitant about visiting the dentist’s office. An individual who is both patient and understanding will likely find success in this occupation.

Organizational skills are helpful when working with patient records and completing administrative tasks. One of the most valuable traits that someone in this profession can have is a friendly nature. A professional with a friendly demeanor is a welcome sight for any patient entering a dental office.

 

How Much Does A Dental Assistant Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual dental assistant salary is $36,260. Salaries can range from $24,580 for the bottom 10% of earners to $49,540 for those in the 90th percentile.  The state with the highest average salary is New Hampshire with an annual mean salary of $44,580.

Factors That Can Influence Salary:

There are a few factors that can affect the salary of someone working in this field. For instance, if the individual has taken the national exam to become a Certified Dental Assistant, he or she can earn more than someone who doesn’t have this qualification. In addition, someone with several years of experience is likely to earn more than someone who is just starting out in the career. An individual who has several years under their belt has observed and helped with more dental procedures. He or she has also been able to establish a reputation for thorough, reliable work.

Someone working in a busy pediatric dentistry office located in a big city will command a higher salary than someone working in a dentist’s office located in a less populated area. Certainly, well-trained, efficient dental assistants are appreciated in any dentist’s office.

Career Path:

Someone working in this career has opportunities for promotion. He or she can study for an associate or bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene to become a dental hygienist. Someone who finds this work extremely rewarding may want to garner more education and pursue a career as a dentist.

Organizational skills and years of experience dealing with patients can transfer over to a successful career as a medical assistant in a physician’s office. The person would still be serving patients, but in another area of the healthcare field.

 

Job Outlook:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for dental assistants is expected to increase by 19% between 2014 and 2024.  is is much higher than the national average of 7% during the same time frame. Due to an aging population the healthcare industry as a whole will continue to see healthy growth in the coming years.


Dental Assistant Schools

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Why Brightwood?

Real-World Training

We keep education relevant by employing instructors with real-world experience in the field, who bring their career backgrounds to the classroom. Our programs are continually assessed by faculty, staff and members of the business and education communities to help ensure your studies align with your career goals. Programs offered by Brightwood Career Institute focus on local employment needs, in areas such as allied health, nursing and technical and professional programs.

Programs:

  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
Locations:  Philadelphia
Daymar College
Daymar College has been providing career training since 1963. As a career training school, Daymar College offers more than 30 career tracks at our 9 beautiful campuses in addition to our Online Degree Programs. Our professional faculty brings their passion to the classroom to provide each student with the quality instruction needed to help you be successful on the job and in life. Small class sizes, day and evening classes, and relevant training are just some of the things that make Daymar College a great place to prepare for your future career. If you're ready for real success in the real world, Daymar College can provide the skills and training needed to help get you there.

Programs:

  • Dental Assisting, Associates Degree
  • Medical Assisting - Associate
Locations:  Clarksville
Get allied health training with Ross Medical Education Center. We offer programs in dental assisting, medical assisting, medical insurance billing and office administration, and pharmacy tech.

Programs:

  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
Locations:  Cincinnati

Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, is dedicated to helping students gain the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed. Drawing from over 30 years of career school experience.

Programs:

  • Dental Assistant Diploma
Locations:  Norfolk

American Career College (ACC) offers hands-on training that will prepare students for careers in the healthcare industry at three campuses in Los Angeles, Ontario, and Orange County, California. ACC's programs combine classroom lectures and hands-on training to prepare students for a Diploma or Associate of Occupational Science degree.

Programs:

  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Assistant
Locations:  Los Angeles

San Joaquin Valley College is an accredited private junior college committed to the professional success of its students and graduates.
Founded in 1977, SJVC has campuses located throughout California-including an Online division and offers a variety of accelerated Certificate and Associate of Science degree programs in the business, medical and technical fields.

 

Programs:

  • Certificate - Dental Assistant
  • Certificate - Medical Assistant
Locations:  Visalia

Why Brightwood?

Real-World Training

We keep education relevant by employing instructors with real-world experience in the field, who bring their career backgrounds to the classroom. Our programs are continually assessed by faculty, staff and members of the business and education communities to help ensure your studies align with your career goals. Programs offered by Brightwood College focus on local employment needs, in areas such as allied health, nursing and technical and professional programs.

Programs:

  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Assistant - Diploma
Locations:  Nashville
The College of Health Care Professions is a great place for working adults to enhance their current careers, or help themselves find new career pathways to better lives. We also train high school graduates to enter in the exciting high demand Healthcare industry.

Our programs are focused and centered on empowering you with the skills you need to enter the expanding and rewarding Health Care Industry. Learn only what you need to gain employment in your particular field, so you can get certified and enter the job market faster.

Programs:

  • Dental Assistant Certificate
  • Medical Assistant-Certificate
Locations:  San Antonio

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it. From the moment you enter ourschool, to graduation and beyond, we are right there with you.

Programs:

  • Dental Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
  • Medical Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
Locations:  Gardena

Miller-Motte Colleges and Miller- Motte Technical Colleges comprise the Miller-Motte family of schools which is part of Ancora Education. For over a century, Miller-Motte has been a reputable leader in private career education. 

Programs:

  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Clinical Assistant
Locations:  Raleigh