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 $17.73 per hour. Total incomes of Registered Dental Assistants incorporate potential for, in a few cases, more than $4K from bonuses and close to $3K from profit sharing; these performance components cause packages to range between $26K and $52K. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is geographic location, though tenure and the specific company have a (lesser) impact as well. Two in five receive medical and dental insurance and close to one-seventh get vision plans. Most Registered Dental Assistants like their work and job satisfaction is high. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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.Read More...
Typically registered dental assistants work in private dental offices. In this environment, they work directly with a dentist, dental hygienists, and dental laboratory technicians. Some dental offices only have four-day work weeks (Monday-Thursday), and many registered dental assistants work during regular business hours. Registered dental assistants can also work in hospitals, dental schools, or clinics; these environments may have varied schedules and hours. Registered dental assistants can work full time or part time, depending on the position.
The exact education and licensint required to become a registered dental assistant varies from state to state. There is a national certification awarded to those who pass the Certified Dental Assistant examination. To be eligible to take this exam, a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation must be completed. Many of these programs exist nationwide; they are offered at many community colleges, vocational schools, or technical institutes and typically take less than a year to complete. Some states have specific state licenses or additional licenses (such as a dental x-ray license). Many positions also require a current CPR certificate.
Many skills are needed to become a successful registered dental assistant. Excellent interpersonal skills are needed to comfort anxious dental patients. Also needed are great organizational skills, a keen attention to detail, good manual dexterity, and be able to work well with a team.
Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) 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 Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
Registered Dental Assistants who go on to become Registered Dental Hygienists may see their salaries climb quite a bit. Median pay for Registered Dental Hygienists is $67K annually. A Registered Dental Assistant often moves on to become a Registered Expanded Function Dental Assistant or a Dental Hygienist.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
Registered Dental Assistants flock to Family Dental, Pacific Dental Services Incorporated, Western Dental Services, Inc., DDS Inc., and Family Dental Care, highly regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. For Registered Dental Assistants, comfortable salaries can be found at Gentle Dental; in fact, median earnings sit around $43K, the highest in the area. Dr. B, Pediatric Dental, and Family Dental also offer top salaries for Registered Dental Assistants. Workers at these firms can expect to earn about $41K, $38K, and $38K, respectively.
Offering a median salary of only $31K, Western Dental Services, Inc. gives out the smallest paychecks. Furthermore, the earnings range of $24K to $43K isn't that wide, either. Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include Western Dental Centers at $32K, 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)
Registered Dental Assistants report using a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Order Inventory, Leadership, CAD/CAM, and Office Administration are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts in pay of 5 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Microsoft Office, Spanish Language, and Pediatrics. Those who learned Radiology also tend to know Scheduling and Order Inventory. Most people familiar with Patient Education also know Order Inventory and Scheduling.
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 a lot of experience do not necessarily enjoy more money. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $32K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $38K. Registered Dental Assistants bring in $41K after working for 10 to 20 years. Old hands boasting more than twenty years of relevant experience report pay that is more or less commensurate with that extensive experience; average earnings for this group come out to approximately $46K.
Pay Difference by Location
San Francisco is home to an above-average pay rate for Registered Dental Assistants, 40 percent higher than the national average. Registered Dental Assistants can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Santa Rosa (+32 percent), San Jose (+17 percent), San Diego (+8 percent), and Torrance (+8 percent). With compensation 18 percent below the national average, Houston is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Employers also pay below the national average in Austin (15 percent lower) and San Antonio (13 percent lower).
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