Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Salary
Most Certified Dental Assistants in the United States are women. The median pay for people in this role is approximately $17.23 per hour. Over a third report receiving medical coverage from their employers and about one-half collect dental insurance. Work is enjoyable for Certified Dental Assistants, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
Job Description for Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
Certified dental assistants increase the efficiency of dentists by preparing the patient for treatment, sterilizing dental instruments, passing instruments to dentists during a procedure, taking and developing radiographs (x-rays), and taking impressions of patients' teeth. Dental assistants have a variety of interpersonal and technical tasks within a dental office and therefore require versatile and adaptive individuals. It is a great professional career for a person who is interested in dental care but does not want to go through more the rigorous training and years of schooling required of dentists or dental hygienists.Read More...
Dental assistants must have effective communication skills with patients. They ask the patient their medical history, take the patient's pulse and blood pressure, and make the patient feel comfortable before and after a procedure. On the administrative side, dental assistants' duties include scheduling appointments with patients, communicating with suppliers, billing and ordering supplies, and answering the phone.
Qualifications for dental assistants vary by state. Some states do not require a college degree, while others require the dental assistant to be certified and registered. The group responsible for accreditation of dental assistants is the Commission of Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Dental assistant certifications require passing a comprehensive exam called the Dental Assisting National Board's Certified Dental Assistant Examination.
Dental assistants work inside a dental office. Dental practices range from solo practices to clinics, schools, and group practices. The environment must be clean and sterile with strict hygiene standards typical of most medical facilities. Certified Dental Assistant and CDA are trademarks of Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB).
Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Tasks
- Assist dentist during dental treatment procedures.
- Maintain office records and supplies and schedule appointments.
- Teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene.
- Take and develop patient x-rays, including digital (if certified).
- Sterilize instruments and equipment.
Common Career Paths for Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
Certified Dental Assistants who go on to become Registered Dental Hygienists may see their salaries climb quite a bit. Median pay for Registered Dental Hygienists is $67K annually. It is not uncommon for a Certified Dental Assistant to continue on to become an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant or a Registered Dental Assistant.
Dental Assistant Job Listings
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Popular Skills for Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
Certified Dental Assistants only report a few specific skills. Most notably, skills in Pediatrics, Oral Surgery, Orthodontics, and Radiology are correlated to pay that is above average. Those proficient in Oral Surgery are, more often than not, also skilled in Orthodontics.
Pay by Experience Level for Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Certified Dental Assistants — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $31K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $37K. For Certified Dental Assistants, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $40K. Ultimately, more time spent in the workforce does seem to translate to bigger paychecks; seasoned veterans with more than 20 years of experience report a median income of $45K.