Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Salary

Most Registered Dental Assistants in the United States are women. The median pay for people in this role is approximately $17.35 per hour. Including potential for bonuses and profit sharing — peaking near $2K and $4K, respectively — total cash payment to Registered Dental Assistants can bottom out near $25K or peak near $51K depending on individual performance. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is geography, followed by the specific employer and years of experience. Most Registered Dental Assistants report high levels of job satisfaction. In this profession, over a third enjoy medical and dental coverage, and one in seven have vision insurance, as well. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$21,682 - $50,072
(Median)
$22K
$34K
$50K
MEDIAN: $34,045
10%
50%
90%

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$12.16 - $23.81
(Median)
$12
$17
$24
MEDIAN: $17.00
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$17K$34K$51K
Salary
$21,682 - $50,072  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,016  
Profit Sharing
$481.02 - $4,122  
Commission
$2,800  
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).
)
$25,402 - $50,655  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 240
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$13$26$39
Hourly Rate
$12.16 - $23.81  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $0.68  
Overtime
$15.19 - $36.64  
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$26K$52K$78K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,016  
   
Commission
$2,800  
Profit Sharing
$481.02 - $4,122  
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).
)
$25,402 - $50,655  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 3,933
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Job Description for Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)

Registered dental assistants work alongside dentists to provide dental care for patients. Their duties are a mix of patient care, laboratory procedures, and clerical work. Exact responsibilities vary from state to state due to licensing requirements. Some patient-care tasks include setting up and sterilizing instruments, handing instruments to the dentist, preparing the patient for treatment, and educating patients on proper dental care. Many registered dental assistants also process dental x-rays, expose radiography, and perform lab duties such as making teeth casts and temporary crowns. Finally, registered dental assistants frequently work in administrative capacity. This includes scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records, and processing patient bills and payments.

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Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) 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 Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)


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As Registered Dental Assistants transition into upper-level roles such as Registered Dental Hygienist, they may see a strong upturn in salary. Registered Dental Hygienists earn $67K on average per year. Becoming a Registered Expanded Function Dental Assistant or a Dental Hygienist is often the next step for a Registered Dental Assistant.

Dental Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)


Pacific Dental Services Incorporated, Family Dental, Western Dental Services, Inc., DDS Inc., and Family Dental Care are some prominent firms with considerable interest in employing a large team of Registered Dental Assistants. DDS Inc. offers the largest salaries in town ($46K on average), but the considerable range in workers' salaries creates a rather varied pay scale that stretches from $29K to $59K. Other big spenders include Dr. B, Family Dental, and Dental Group Ltd, top-paying firms where Registered Dental Assistants see paychecks nearing $41K, $38K, or $37K.

The consistently lowest paying firm is Western Dental Centers, where the median salary is just $29K. There isn't much variation there, either; the pay scale ranges only from $21K to $45K. Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include Western Dental Services, Inc. at $31K, and Family Dental Care where $33K is the norm, but it is worth noting that some Registered Dental Assistants there earn up to $52K.

Popular Skills for Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)


Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Order Inventory, Leadership, Periodontics, and CAD/CAM are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts in pay of 5 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Microsoft Office and Spanish Language. Most people who know Patient Education also know Order Inventory and Scheduling. A tool kit that includes Radiology also typically contains Scheduling and Order Inventory.

Pay by Experience Level for Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)

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


Registered Dental Assistants with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $31K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $37K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Registered Dental Assistants with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $41K. Veterans who have surpassed the 20-year mark may make only slightly more than those who are navigating the mid-career stage; the more senior group reports median earnings of around $44K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $36,482

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

For Registered Dental Assistants, San Francisco provides a pay rate that is 36 percent greater than the national average. Registered Dental Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Santa Rosa (+34 percent) and San Jose (+15 percent). San Antonio is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 17 percent. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Nashville (14 percent lower) and Houston (13 percent lower).

Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Reviews

What is it like working as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)?

Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) in Halifax:
"I love being an assistant."
Pros: I like helping people and making them feel good about themselves and being able to put a smile on there face:)
Cons: It is sometimes difficult to find a good Dentist to work with!

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Salaries




National Average
$36,000


Skills That Affect Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Salaries



Periodontics
up arrow 4%

Orthodontics
up arrow 3%

CAD/CAM
up arrow 3%

Office Administration
up arrow 2%

Insurance
up arrow 2%

Oral Surgery
up arrow 1%

Radiology
0%

Patient Education
0%

Scheduling
0%

Windows Operating System General Use
0%

National Average
$36,000

Pediatrics
up arrow 1%

Spanish Language
up arrow 3%


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 636 votes.

Gender

Female
95 %
Male
5 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
31%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
28%
20 years or more
16%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 38%
dental benefits
Dental: 42%
medical benefits
Vision: 14%
dental benefits
None: 42%
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