The dental assistant salary in the United States is $34,793, according to data collected by Salary.com. The same source indicates that the dental assisting salary can range from $30,882 to $38,468, depending on multiple factors. Industry, geographic area and level of experience are just a few of the aspects that can define registered dental assistant salary. See what your annual wage might be with the information from the sections in our guide below.
Dental Assistant Salary Influencers
All dental assistants work in healthcare, the same industry. In this regard, we can’t really speak of industry as an influential factor for the salary of dental assistant professionals. However, we can speak about the impact that employers have on their yearly pay. As a general rule, private and large companies offer greater salaries than small businesses for dental assistants. Payscale offers a few examples for comparison:
- Salary for dental assistant at Aspen Dental – $25,000 – $32,000
- Family Dental certified dental assistant salary – $25,000 – $37,000
- Salary of a dental assistant at Heartland Dental Care – $29,000 – $36,000
- Dental Group Ltd average dental assistant salary – $26,000 – $41,000
- Dental assistant salary at DDS Inc. – $28,000 – $46,000
2. Geographic Area
The U.S. dental assistant salary is highly influenced by location. In other words, there is a $17k difference between the top dental assistant salary in the country (Alaska – $44,560) and the smallest one (Arkansas – $32,520). Nonetheless, there are plenty of states that offer attractive salaries for dental assistants. Statistics from the BLS identify these as the top 5 states for dental assistants after Alaska:
- Dental assistant salary Minnesota offers – $44,220
- Average salary of a dental assistant in Massachusetts – $42,080
- North Dakota average salary for dental assistant – $42,000
- Salary dental assistant gets in Oregon – $41,680
- District of Columbia dental assistants salary – $41,600
In addition to these states, there are several that are popular among candidates searching for dental assistant salary data. Here are some of the most sought after states, together with their annual salary estimates:
- Dental assistant salary in North Carolina – $38,720
- Average dental assistant salary in Texas – $35,260
- Typical dental assistant salary Ohio offers – $36,630
- Median dental assistant salary in Florida – $35,780
- Dental assistant salary in Connecticut – $41,150
However, there are states that you should try to avoid if you don’t want a low dental assistant salary. Even though Arkansas has the lowest wage for these professionals in the country, there are some other states to consider too. Excluding Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, these states have the lowest dental assistant salary estimates:
- Alabama dental assistant average salary – $31,240
- Average salary of dental assistant in Mississippi – $30,830
- Utah dental assistant annual salary – $29,490
- Average salary dental assistant gets in Louisiana – $29,190
- West Virginia dental office assistant salary – $28,410
The last geography-related aspect you should keep in mind is the level of employment in certain states. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the states that employ the most dental assistants are:
- New York
How much experience you have as a dental assistant is also crucial for determining an accurate salary. Naturally, the starting salary for dental assistant will be considerably lower than one for an experienced professional. In fact, the gap is $11k for beginners and experts. Payscale informs that the typical dental assistant starting salary is $28,000 a year.
Furthermore, dental assistants in their mid-career (5-10 years) receive $33,000 annually. After that and until they reach 20 years’ experience, they get $37,000 salary per year. Finally, dental assistants with over 20 years of experience in the field receive $39,000 yearly.
Working Hours and Environment
Dental assistants work in the offices of dentists. They work in teams with dentists and dental hygienists for treating patients. A great deal of dental assistants has a full time schedule. Nevertheless, BLS data shows that about 1 in every 3 dental assistants had a part time working schedule. In some cases, dental assistants might be required to work during weekends or in the evenings.
Dental Assistant Salary by State
|States||Annual mean wage ($)|
|District of Columbia||41,600|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Also, dental assistants can make additional money from bonuses, profit sharing and commissions. Payscale reports that the annual bonus for a dental assistant can be up to $1,790. Moreover, they can make between $200.57 and $3,945 from profit sharing every year. Lastly, extra cash can come from commissions, $197.97 – $4,932 to be precise.
As for health benefits, less than half of all dental assistants have general medical insurance (36%). A larger percent has dental benefits (42%), while just 14% benefits from vision coverage. Almost half of all dental assistants (43%) have no health benefits.
One of the best parts about the dental assistant salary is the boom in job opportunities for the following years. The BLS states that there will be 18% more career opportunities for dental assistants in the 2014-2024 time frame. This is significantly greater than the percent change projected for all occupations, which is just 7%. Also, it’s close to the national average for most healthcare support occupations (19%).
In conclusion, the dental assistant salary is pretty much an average annual wage. However, this occupation has multiple advantages and disadvantages. While the decent salary and possibility of working part time are attractive, not that many dental assistants have health benefits. On the other hand, there will be more and more jobs available for those who qualify for this position in the years to come. You can also read about the dentist salary if you are interested in the average pay in the field of dentistry.
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