Most Dental Assistants in the United States are women. The workforce as a whole earns a median of approximately $15.18 per hour. In the world of Dental Assistants, total cash compensation can vary between $22K and $44K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $3K and $3K, respectively. Location is the main element affecting pay for this group — the company and tenure are driving factors as well. Around one in three receive medical and dental insurance and approximately one-seventh get vision insurance. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.

$18,689 - $45,140
$19K
$31K
$45K
MEDIAN: $31,111
10%
50%
90%

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$10.80 - $20.71
$11
$15
$21
MEDIAN: $15.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$16K$32K$48K
Salary
$18,689 - $45,140  
   
Bonus
$198.22 - $3,032  
Profit Sharing
$200.00 - $3,460  
Commission
$98.63 - $4,055  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$22,382 - $43,786  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 929
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$11$22$33
Hourly Rate
$10.80 - $20.71  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $8.05  
Overtime
$14.32 - $30.08  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$22K$44K$66K
Bonus
$198.22 - $3,032  
   
Commission
$98.63 - $4,055  
Profit Sharing
$200.00 - $3,460  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$22,382 - $43,786  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 11,523

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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Job Description for Dental Assistant

A dental assistant's duties include hands-on work with dental patients, assisting the dentist, and/or performing clerical functions in a dental clinic. Depending on an individual’s certification and goals, any of these are possible job tasks. If an individual would like hands-on work in the dentist’s office, their duties may include prepping the patient for a particular operation; this particular duty would involve knowledge of the teeth and most dental procedures. The dental assistant would then assist the dentist in performing the operation, and do such things as handing the dentist the required tools and providing secondary support. This kind of job usually entails working one-on-one with the dentist, and requires good communication skills.

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Dental Assistant 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 Dental Assistant


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Dental Assistants who transition into a Registered Dental Hygienist role may receive large pay increases as the latter position pays an average $67K per year. A Dental Assistant often moves on to become a Registered Dental Assistant or a Certified Dental Assistant.

Dental Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Dental Assistant


Aspen Dental, Heartland Dental Care, Dental Group Ltd, Family Dental, and DDS Inc. are top-notch employers for Dental Assistants in this area. Although Dr. B leads the field in pay with a median salary of $37K, employees there receive a wide spread of salaries, from $23K on the low end all the way up to $49K at the top. Other leaders in compensation levels are Heartland Dental Corporation at $34K, Dental Group Ltd at $33K, and DDS Inc., where Dental Assistants annually earn $32K.

Salaries are easily beat at Smile Brands Inc, where median pay comes to just $25K, the lowest in the field. What's more, with base pay starting at $21K and ending at $33K, range in salary is rather small. Kool Smiles Pc., Aspen Dental and Pediatric Dental are three other employers with a reputation for below-average pay, showing salaries around $27K, $28K, and $28K.

Popular Skills for Dental Assistant


Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in endodontics, Order Inventory, Periodontics, and Oral Surgery are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts in pay of 7 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Bilingual, Spanish Language, and Coronal Polishing. Those educated in Instrument Control tend to be well versed in Patient Education and Customer Service.

Pay by Experience Level for Dental Assistant

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $28K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $34K. Dental Assistants with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $37K. Dental Assistants with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $40K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $31,800

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Dental Assistants, working in the bustling city of Seattle has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Dental Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Charlotte (+14 percent), Denver (+6 percent), Atlanta (+6 percent), and Chicago (+4 percent). Los Angeles is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 12 percent. Workers in San Antonio and San Diego earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (7 percent less and 6 percent less, respectively).

Dental Assistant Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Dental Assistant?

Dental Assistant in Shreveport:
"I love it!"
Pros: I love when I can make a fearful child calm down and have a better experience. Patience is key.
Cons: Tough on your hands and feet but worth it!

Dental Assistant in Ferndale:
"Duties as a dental assistant."
Pros: I love making crowns. The fact that I can do so much as the only dental assistant but I'm always stressed out.
Cons: That I'm getting paid less then what I am worth.

Dental Assistant in Cebu City:
"Challenging, hectic, love to deal different personality."
Pros: Learning new things & helping people/patient.
Cons: Hectic schedule.

Dental Assistant in Houston:
Pros: I love the surgery part. My job is very entertaining and I love the nervous patients that I can help calm down.
Cons: Nothing at all. I love my job!!!

Dental Assistant in Jonesboro:
"Dental Assistant."
Pros: I like that we are a close knit office. We work well together and we stay busy. It's a great learning environment with a lot of experienced help.
Cons: We work a little harder than the average dental assistant. We go above and beyond our certifications. Some days things can become a little stressful when the books are very busy.

Dental Assistant in Coquille:
"Ever changing Environment."
Pros: The technology that the industry is developing and the newer practices that make dentistry more profitable and more comfortable for the patient.
Cons: Management techniques from my employer.

Dental Assistant in Wickliffe:
Pros: Staff that I work with and what my position consists of on a daily basis.
Cons: Only suppose to work 8 am to 5pm but always work till like 6 30 not having some kind of stability in our schedule no flexibility.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Dental Assistant

Gender

Female
96 %
Male
4 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 1493 votes.
Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
12%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Dental Assistant Salaries




National Average
$32,000


Skills That Affect Dental Assistant Salaries








Radiology
0%

Instrument Control
0%

Customer Service
0%

Pediatrics
0%

National Average
$32,000


Coronal Polishing
up arrow 4%



Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 1493 votes.

Gender

Female
96 %
Male
4 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
12%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 34%
dental benefits
Dental: 39%
vision benefits
Vision: 15%
dental benefits
None: 47%
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