Dental Assistant Salary

Most Dental Assistants in the United States are women. The median pay for people in this role is approximately $15.06 per hour. Including potential for bonuses, profit sharing and commission — peaking near $2K, $4K, and $5K, respectively — total cash payment to Dental Assistants can bottom out near $22K or top out at around $44K. This group's pay is mainly influenced by the specific employer, followed by the particular city and years of experience. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Dental Assistants. More than a third report receiving medical coverage from their employers and more than two-fifths collect dental insurance. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$20,109 - $44,959
(Median)
$20K
$31K
$45K
MEDIAN: $31,140
10%
50%
90%

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$10.66 - $20.61
(Median)
$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$15K$30K$45K
Salary
$20,109 - $44,959  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,790  
Profit Sharing
$200.57 - $3,945  
Commission
$197.97 - $4,932  
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).
)
$22,207 - $43,631  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 1,106
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$10$20$30
Hourly Rate
$10.66 - $20.61  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $3.75  
Overtime
$1.09 - $29.73  
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$20K$40K$60K
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,790  
   
Commission
$197.97 - $4,932  
Profit Sharing
$200.57 - $3,945  
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).
)
$22,207 - $43,631  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 12,990
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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. 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


Leading companies who hire large numbers of Dental Assistants include Aspen Dental, Family Dental, Heartland Dental Care, Family Dental Care, and Dental Group Ltd. Pay for Dental Assistants is best at Great Expressions Dental Centers, which offers a median salary of $38K. However, the highest reported salaries don't seem to be much higher than the lowest ones; the pay range here runs from $25K to $41K. Dr. B, DDS Inc., and Family Dental Care are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Dental Assistants earning around $37K, $35K, or $35K at each firm, respectively.

Dental Assistants will find the worst pay at Smile Brands Inc, where the median salary crawls in at $26K. Furthermore, compensation is curbed at $35K, leaving little room for growth. Kool Smiles Pc., Gentle Dental, and Comfort Dental are a few other employers known for handing out relatively lightweight salaries ($26K, $27K, and $28K respectively).

Popular Skills for Dental Assistant


Dental Assistants report using a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Order Inventory, Periodontics, endodontics, and Oral Surgery are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 7 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Bilingual, Spanish Language, and Dental assistant. 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.


For Dental Assistants, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $28K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $33K. Dental Assistants see a median salary of $37K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $39K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $31,579

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

Seattle is home to an above-average pay rate for Dental Assistants, 23 percent higher than the national average. Dental Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Charlotte (+16 percent), New York (+10 percent), Atlanta (+4 percent), and Austin (+1 percent). Trailing the national average by 14 percent, Los Angeles is the market with the smallest paychecks. Workers in San Antonio and San Diego earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (7 percent less and 4 percent less, respectively).

Dental Assistant Reviews

What is it like working as a Dental Assistant?

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.

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Experience Affects Dental Assistant Salaries




National Average
$32,000


Skills That Affect Dental Assistant Salaries



Oral Surgery
up arrow 4%

endodontics
up arrow 4%

Orthodontics
up arrow 3%

Office Administration
up arrow 2%

Patient Education
up arrow 1%

Radiology
0%

Instrument Control
0%

Customer Service
0%

Scheduling
0%

National Average
$32,000

Pediatrics
up arrow 1%




Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 2098 votes.

Gender

Female
96 %
Male
4 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
38%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
13%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 36%
dental benefits
Dental: 42%
medical benefits
Vision: 14%
dental benefits
None: 43%
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