Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Salary
Registered Dental Assistants in the United States are largely women. The group as a whole has a nationwide average of $17.74 per hour for pay. Total cash compensation for Registered Dental Assistants runs from $26K to $52K depending on bonuses that can occasionally exceed $4K and profit sharing that can reach almost $3K. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is geographic location, though tenure and the specific company have a (lesser) impact as well. Roughly two-fifths enjoy medical and dental coverage in this occupation, and about one in six get vision benefits. Job satisfaction for Registered Dental Assistants is high. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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 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. Becoming a Registered Expanded Function Dental Assistant or a Dental Hygienist is a common transition from a Registered Dental Assistant role.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
Many Registered Dental Assistants can be found at Family Dental, Pacific Dental Services Incorporated, Western Dental Services, Inc., Family Dental Care, and DDS Inc., firms that are at the top of the field. Those at Gentle Dental can expect to make the most, with the company offering a median salary of $43K. Also paying near the top of the field are Dr. B at $41K, Pediatric Dental at $38K, and Family Dental, where Registered Dental Assistants annually earn $38K.
Western Dental Services, Inc. offers the least money; the median income there is just $31K. The pay range is also pretty narrow, as compensation generally sits between $24K and $43K. Other low-paying employers include Western Dental Centers at $32K and Family Dental Care at $33K, though some Registered Dental Assistants there earn up to $52K.
Popular Skills for Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
Registered Dental Assistants seem to exploit a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Order Inventory, Leadership, Office Administration, and CAD/CAM are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Microsoft Office, Spanish Language, and Pediatrics. Those familiar with Patient Education also tend to know Order Inventory and Scheduling. Those who learned Radiology also tend to know 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.
For Registered Dental Assistants, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $32K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $38K. On average, Registered Dental Assistants make $41K following one to two decades on the job. Registered Dental Assistants who have acquired more than two decades of experience generally do see greater compensation; their average income is approximately $46K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Registered Dental Assistants, busy San Francisco offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 38 percent above the national average. Registered Dental Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Santa Rosa (+32 percent), San Jose (+19 percent), Torrance (+8 percent), and San Diego (+7 percent). The lowest-paying market is Houston, which sits 18 percent below the national average. Employers pay around 15 percent less in San Antonio and 14 percent less in Austin, below-median salaries for those in this field.
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