There are plenty of reasons to consider a career as a dental assistant. The job is in high demand, there is a good deal of room for upward mobility, and there is often a high degree of flexibility. Many people work as dental assistants while training to become dentists or dental hygienists. If you choose this career path, then you may wonder what is the average dental assistant salary because how much you can earn is often a deciding factor when choosing employment.
As you will see nailing down the exact salary you will make is impossible because there are varying factors that go into how much the job pays. However, getting an overview and general idea of the average dental assistant salary can help you to understand a little better what to expect.
Average Dental Assistant Salary
According to US News and World Report, the average dental assistant salary in the United States is about $38,000 as of 2017. Note that each year salaries tend to increase slightly, so this could vary a few thousand dollars depending on the current year. The lowest paid employees made around $31,000 whereas the highest paid earned around $46,000.
The average dental assistant salary, according to Payscale, was almost $16 per hour. The lowest hourly wage was around $12 an hour and the highest was around $22 an hour as of 2019.
Dental Assistant Job Details
Many times what you earn is directly compared to the work you have to do. If the job is demanding or otherwise difficult, you may expect to earn more, so knowing what a career as a dental assistant involves can help you better understand if the average dental assistant salary is fair.
Dental assistants aid dentists and hygienists in a variety of tasks, often involving a combination of clerical work and patient care. A dental assistant may conduct initial patient interviews and take vital statistics, such as pulse and blood pressure, take dental x-rays, assist in procedures, and schedule appointments. People that make good dental assistants will have excellent communication skills, the ability to perform basic scheduling and bookkeeping, and an aptitude for working with their hands.
Becoming a Dental Assistant
How much education or training is required for a career also impacts what you feel is a fair wage. So, you want to make sure you will not spend too much preparing for the job that it makes the average dental assistant salary seem too low. Here is a look at what it takes to work in this field.
While many practices prefer candidates with a high school diploma and some college classes, others will accept applicants with only a GED and a desire to excel. Do note that some states require formal education and licensing. So, you may or may not need formal training. You should check your state’s regulations to know for sure.
Many community colleges offer courses and programs for dental assistants. These can be valuable in developing your skills or getting your first job as a dental assistant. There are also certifications, such as the one offered by the Dental Assisting National Board, recognized on a state by state basis that can help demonstrate competency and seriousness to potential employers. In some states, you may need to complete an accredited program and pass a licensing exam.
When you choose a career path, you always have some thoughts about how much you will earn. Learning the average dental assistant salary along with finding out more about the job and how to become one should help you to see if this is the right choice for you. Like many professions, dental assisting is not for everyone, but it is a wonderful career with many opportunities and a decent salary.