Dental Assistant Salary

Women account for the majority of Dental Assistants in the United States. The entire group has an average salary of $15.05 per hour. Final cash compensation to Dental Assistants varies from around $22K to approximately $44K; choice pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $1K and $4K, respectively. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by location, but the specific employer and tenure are influential factors as well. Over a third enjoy medical while just over two-fifths get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to nearly one-eighth. Work is enjoyable for Dental Assistants, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$20,130 - $44,035
(Median)
$20K
$31K
$44K
MEDIAN: $30,978
10%
50%
90%

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$10.56 - $20.56
(Median)
$11
$15
$21
MEDIAN: $15.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$15K$30K$45K
Salary
$20,130 - $44,035  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,497  
Profit Sharing
$199.16 - $4,034  
Commission
$205.58 - $884  
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).
)
$21,972 - $43,514  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 892
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$10$20$30
Hourly Rate
$10.56 - $20.56  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $2.38  
Overtime
$0.00 - $29.72  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$20K$40K$60K
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,497  
   
Commission
$205.58 - $884  
Profit Sharing
$199.16 - $4,034  
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).
)
$21,972 - $43,514  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 10,075
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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

  • Take and develop patient x-rays, including digital (if certified).
  • Sterilize instruments and equipment.
  • Teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene.
  • Assist dentist during dental treatment procedures.
  • Maintain office records and supplies and schedule appointments.

Common Career Paths for Dental Assistant


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For Dental Assistants, progressing to a Registered Dental Hygienist role may result in a significant raise. On average, a Registered Dental Hygienist can earn $67K annually. Becoming a Registered Dental Assistant or a Certified Dental Assistant is often the next step for a Dental Assistant.

Dental Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Dental Assistant


Family Dental, Aspen Dental, Heartland Dental Care, Family Dental Care, and Pacific Dental Services Incorporated are all popular places to work. Dental Assistants seeking a sizable paycheck can earn the most at Dr. B, where the median salary comes to $38K, though the large pay difference between employees at the top ($17K) and those starting out ($50K) creates a rather diverse pay scale. DDS Inc., Family Dental Care, and Dental Associates are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Dental Assistants earning around $36K, $35K, or $34K at each firm, respectively.

The pay scale is far from balanced at Comfort Dental. While salaries on one end can reach $49K, the company's median pay sits at $26K, the lowest in the field. Employees at Kool Smiles Pc., Smile Brands Inc, and Gentle Family Dentistry can also expect below-average earnings of $26K, $26K, and $27K.

Popular Skills for Dental Assistant


Dental Assistants report using a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Order Inventory, Periodontics, Oral Surgery, and Scheduling are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 7 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Bilingual, Spanish Language, and Dental assistant. Most people familiar with Instrument Control also know 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.


More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. The average beginner in this position makes around $28K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $33K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Dental Assistants make a median salary of $37K. Dental Assistants who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $39K.

Pay Difference by Location


Seattle offers some of the highest pay in the country for Dental Assistants, 26 percent above the national average. Dental Assistants can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Charlotte (+17 percent), New York (+13 percent), Denver (+12 percent), and Atlanta (+8 percent). Los Angeles ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 15 percent below the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in San Antonio (6 percent lower) and Orlando (3 percent lower).

Dental Assistant Reviews

What is it like working as a Dental Assistant?

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.

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Experience Affects Dental Assistant Salaries




National Average
$32,000


Skills That Affect Dental Assistant Salaries



Oral Surgery
up arrow 4%

Scheduling
up arrow 4%

Orthodontics
up arrow 3%

endodontics
up arrow 3%

Patient Education
up arrow 2%

Office Administration
up arrow 2%

Radiology
up arrow 1%

Instrument Control
up arrow 1%

Customer Service
0%

National Average
$32,000

Pediatrics
up arrow 1%

Dental assistant
up arrow 4%


Bilingual
up arrow 12%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 1752 votes.

Gender

Female
97 %
Male
3 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
37%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
14%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 36% dental benefits Dental: 43%
vision benefits Vision: 13% employee benefits None: 42%
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