Dental Assistant Salary
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.
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.Read More...
However, if an individual prefers to work in a less hands-on environment, dental assistants are also needed to handle the business-support functions of a dental office. These individuals would be responsible for making appointments, filing paperwork, and handling billing for the company. Additionally, the dental assistant would be responsible for greeting patients when they walk in the door, and providing a warm, professional face for the office. To perform this job well, the dental assistant would need to possess strong interpersonal skills, have a professional appearance, and have basic skills with computers.
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
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
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).
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