For people who love the challenge of juggling different tasks that demand different set of totally unrelated skills during a typical work day, you’ll probably enjoy being a dental assistant. Aside from working chair-side with the dental practitioner, they are also expected to run the office smoothly and scurry to the laboratory to make sure all the dental equipment that the clinic will ever need for the day is sterile, sufficient and functional. All the work must have had you asking, how much do dental assistants make?
How much do dental assistants make an hour?
The baseline income, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics in 2012, was an average of USD 16.90 hourly ($16.90 per hour) or about USD 35,000 annually. This means half of the 300,160 employed dental assistants that time were receiving USD 13.65 to USD 19.86 per hour of work or annual income that ranges between USD 28,400 to USD 41,300. In order to understand how much does a dental assistant make, the amount should be broken down into major factors that dictate how much do dental assistants get in their pay checks.
- Location. In the 2012 statistics, dental assistants that work in the Northeast, West and Great Lakes areas are inclined to get better pay than their counterparts in the rest of the US. Work in New Hampshire where the highest annual mean income is pegged at USD 43,500 followed by the state of Minnesota at USD 42,400 and Alaska at USD 42,000. Metropolitan areas of San Francisco division can go as high up as USD 47,300 annually while the nonmetropolitan areas of Southwest New Hampshire give USD 46,400 yearly wage.
- Employment. Who do they work for affects how much annual income they make. Majority of the dental assistants employed in 2012 work in a dental office and make about USD 35,100 annually. Those who work at educational establishments such as colleges and universities get less at USD 33,800 in a year. Becoming a dental assistant in specialty hospitals receive more than the national average at USD 39,400 but those serving in the government get more. State health workers can earn USD 37,600 and federal government health workers taking home USD 38,500 yearly. Insurance providers pay their dental assistants USD 41,400 annually, the highest annual mean wage that this profession can receive.
- Skills. Although there is no current statistics on this variable, an able dental assistant with the right credentials and equipped with the necessary skills can demand higher pay than their contemporaries in the same position. Those who have more responsibilities, such as in the case of a few dental assistants in a big dental office, get paid more. Those who opt for certification and update their skills through regular training and workshops will get paid more and eventually retained by their employers than the ones who don’t.
For the dental assistants who would love to earn more than what they’re currently getting, consider stepping up or moving out. Level up your skills by getting more education, especially if you became a dental assistant through on the job training only. A diploma in Dental Assisting would be fine, but getting an associate degree is better. It may take some time before you finish this, but it will translate to better pay. You can also get certified through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) or through a recognised state board if you have no plans of moving out the state. The last resort, if you have already been certified and have had your associate degree but still get mediocre pay, is to consider relocating to another state or city. Choose one that offers better pay but have low cost of living. Consider moving to West Central North Carolina where the hourly mean wage is USD 19.36. If you’d rather stay in a metropolitan area, consider Rochester or Minneapolis and you can get a mean pay of around USD 21.00 per hour. If you’d rather find a job that pays well and lets you live comfortably within your salary range, opt for the District of Columbia you can expect to get about USD 20.00 an hour.
Average Dental Assistant Salary : Top 10 States.
The work may be overwhelming but becoming a dental assistant is one of the most in demand jobs in the United States. The BLS has predicted a 25 percent growth from 2012 to 2022 for dental assisting, with the demand coming from people who avail of preventive dental services, freeing the dentist to focus on more complex dental procedures. Geriatric patients who have managed to retain their natural teeth will want to maintain and have it treated while the extended federal health legislation will allow more people taking advantage of their dental coverage.