Orthodontic Assistant Salary
Orthodontic Assistants in the United States are largely female. The average salary of the entire group is approximately $16.72 per hour. Final cash compensation to Orthodontic Assistants varies from around $25K to approximately $47K; choice pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $2K and $5K, respectively. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is residence, though tenure and the specific company have a (lesser) impact as well. Most Orthodontic Assistants like their work and job satisfaction is high. About one in three enjoy medical while just under a fourth get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to roughly one in eight.
Job Description for Orthodontic Assistant
Orthodontic assistants work in dental offices and perform a variety of functions to assist the orthodontist and help the practice function efficiently. They prepare the patient for the orthodontist by taking x-rays and impressions, performing preliminary examinations and collecting diagnostic data. They may also have other duties in the practice related to record keeping, sterilization of equipment and lab work.Read More...
Orthodontic assistants work throughout the week and sometimes on weekends, depending on the hours of their employer's practice. They are present whenever patients may be scheduled and can sometimes be required to work in the evenings to accommodate appointments. They often work 40-hour work weeks, but some assistants work part-time. (They typically do not work overtime.)
Orthodontic assistants need to move quite often during their workday. They are constantly retrieving instruments, moving equipment and operating machinery. They are required to have good manual dexterity because their job requires working in the small spaces of a patient's mouth. Their position has the potential hazard of being exposed to radiation through x-ray equipment; however following proper procedures minimizes that risk.
Orthodontic assistants work closely with the orthodontist as well as patients. They take directions from the former and anticipate their needs as well as the patients' needs. They can be responsible for maintaining the orthodontist's schedule in terms of ensuring timeliness and flow of all tasks. They also work closely with office management and support staff throughout the day.
Generally speaking, employers look for orthodontic assistants who are energetic, friendly and comfortable working in a fast-paced environment. A college degree is not typically required, although some employers may require orthodontic or dental assistant certification. Some states may require x-ray certification as well.
Orthodontic Assistant Tasks
- Document treatment by charting in patient records.
- Sterilize and disinfect orthodontic instruments and equipment.
- Prepare for procedures by organizing instruments and equipment.
- Assist dentist during orthodontic examinations and procedures.
- Inform patients on pre-op and post-op instructions.
Common Career Paths for Orthodontic Assistant
Orthodontic Assistants may experience a large salary bump if they progress into a role such as Registered Dental Hygienist. The latter position pays an average of $67K annually. When Orthodontic Assistants are ready for the next step in their careers, they often become Certified Orthodontic Assistants or Orthodontic Treatment Coordinators. Those roles pay an additional $1K and $4K, respectively.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Orthodontic Assistant
The biggest paychecks can be found at American Orthodontics — the median salary there is $35K.
Popular Skills for Orthodontic Assistant
Orthodontic Assistants report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Scheduling, Clinical Supervision, and Order Inventory are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 33 percent, 28 percent, and 7 percent, respectively. Those listing sterilization and Bilingual as skills, on the other hand, should be prepared for drastically lower pay. The majority of those who know Orthodontics also know Radiology.
Pay by Experience Level for Orthodontic Assistant
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Orthodontic Assistants, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. The average beginner in this position makes around $31K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $37K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $40K in this role. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $42K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.
Pay Difference by Location
Orthodontic Assistants will find that Seattle offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 31 percent. Orthodontic Assistants will also find cushy salaries in San Diego (+30 percent), Austin (+21 percent), Omaha (+18 percent), and Dallas (+10 percent). With compensation 12 percent below the national average, Richland is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Richmond and Atlanta (10 percent lower and 9 percent lower, respectively).
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