So, what is a reasonable dental assistant salary? How much better can it get than when we have found that job that truly makes us feel valued? It is all too well known that people spend year after year in positions that lack feelings of challenge or triumph, let alone appreciation or even mere gratitude.
Dental Assistant Salary
For one reason or another employees don’t feel that they can make a break from their current situations. But for individuals who have found an occupation that provides satisfaction on many different levels, how much better can it get? The answer is that it gets better by getting paid well.
It is clear that the career of dental assisting can liberally provide a daily feeling of contentment through the performance of numerous activities that truly touch other’s lives, but the next logical question is, “How much do dentist assistants make?”
Few of we humans have felt the calling to a career that cannot lead us to a cozy home with a comfortable place to lay our head at night so the dental assistant’s salary is certainly relevant and worthy of discussion.
Variations in Salaries
As with any occupation, there is quite a broad range in the amount of pay that you can expect. So many factors are involved, such as the size of the city or town the dental practice is in or how many dentists are in the office where you want to work.
Another consideration is if the dental practice is a very new one, in its early growth period, or a long established business that is largely made up of loyal patients of many years. A newer establishment may not yet be in the position to pay as well as one where the dentist has had many of the same faithful patients and their families for twenty-plus years and more.
Of course, there are choices to be made that will greatly influence the likelihood of getting the dental assistant salary that one is shooting for, such as preparedness. Although it is true that from state to state educational standards may vary, and there is even a slim chance of finding on the job training, there are significant realities to be aware of.
For instance; it is likely that the ones least skilled through academic training are the ones making up the lions share of the lower than average side of the these salaries.
Looking At The Numbers
The United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports their figures on the dental assistant salary here.
(This has not yet been addressed, but please don’t confuse the data with that of a dental hygienist, which is not the same as a dental assistant.)
Occupational Employment and Wages reports that as of May 2013 the average salary was $17.13 per hour, and the average salary for a year is $35,640. In doing the math, that is based on a 40-hour workweek.
Statistics show how location may influence, but not necessarily dictate, the salary for this job. This is seen by the information given for various areas of the country.
The top paying states and their average annual salaries are New Hampshire ($43,810), Alaska ($43,330), Minnesota ($42,900), Massachusetts ($41,910), and Connecticut ($40,730).
That also translates into $19.58 to $21.06 per hour – keeping in mind that these are the averages, we are reminded that when we ask how can you make, some are making less and many are making more than these median figures provided.
There also statistics available regarding major Metropolitan Divisions. From these numbers we can see further variance in how location may affect a dental assistant salary.
Some that show averages above the national mean are Manchester, NH; San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA; Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, MA-NH; Anchorage, AK; Worcester, MA-CT; Rochester, MN; Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, MA-NH; Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA; Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI; Nashua, NH-MA.
Salary, State By State
You have likely made up your mind by now that dental assisting is your career choice and looking at pay rate will help reinforce that decision.
State by state the salary can vary – it may even fluctuate from one metropolitan area to another – regardless of where you are the numbers are encouraging.
In all probability, being intelligent and well aware of contrasting statistics on just about any subject, you will want to make your own reasonable assessment of what to expect regarding your dental assistant salary.
For your consideration, below is a list of state-to-state dental assisting salary averages:
- Alabama (AL): $54,000
- Alaska (AK): $42,100
- Arizona (AZ): $45,000
- Arkansas (AR): $51,000
- California (CA): $55,000
- Colorado (CO): $45,000
- Connecticut (CT): $54,000
- Delaware (DE): $49,000
- Florida (FL): $49,000
- Georgia (GA): $54,000
- Hawaii (HI): $39,000
- Idaho (ID): $45,000
- Illinois (IL): $54,000
- Indiana (IN): $53,000
- Iowa (IA): $48,000
- Kansas (KS): $45,000
- Kentucky (KY): $48,000
- Louisiana (LA): $51,000
- Maine (ME): $49,000
- Maryland (MD): $52,000
- Massachusetts (MA): $51,000
- Michigan (MI): $47,000
- Minnesota (MN): $48,000
- Mississippi (MS): $63,000
- Missouri (MO): $51,000
- Montana (MT): $50,000
- Nebraska (NE): $43,000
- Nevada (NV): $48,000
- New Hampshire (NH): $53,000
- New Jersey (NJ): $54,000
- New Mexico (NM): $45,000
- New York (NY): $60,000
- North Carolina (NC): $49,000
- North Dakota (ND): $49,000
- Ohio (OH): $48,000
- Oklahoma (OK): $46,000
- Oregon (OR): $48,000
- Pennsylvania (PA): $45,000
- Rhode Island (RI): $54,000
- South Carolina (SC): $46,000
- South Dakota (SD): $43,000
- Tennessee (TN): $48,000
- Texas (TX): $48,000
- Utah (UT): $48,000
- Vermont (VT): $52,000
- Virginia (VA): $52,000
- Washington (WA): $47,000
- West Virginia (WV): $52,000
- Wisconsin (WI): $42,000
- Wyoming (WY): $55,000
- D.C.: $58,000
- Puerto Rico (PR): $37,000
- Guam (GU): $47,000
- American Samoa (AS): $41,000
- U.S. Virgin Islands (VI): $61,000
- Mariana Islands (MP): $51,000
(these averages were sourced from: http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=Dental+Assistant&l1)
With only nominal contrasts in this list of average salaries state-to-state, it is easy enough to see that the news is, at the least, very hopeful – getting into a dental assisting school right away means that you could be on your way to making a good salary.
Being in a field that is proving statistically to be rapidly growing calls for speedy action; if it continues at the rate that has been projected it will not be long before you can advance as the newer ones come in behind you.
Dental assistant salaries are so favorable right now because dental assisting is in high demand. It can be somebody else’s dream-come-true or it can be yours – jump in and start the process today.
How Much Do You Want To Make?
Successful and high-achieving people are seldom where they are because luck just happened to strike them on the head. We all make scores of choices every day of our lives. Some choices do not take us to higher places and many of our choices can and do.
The ones getting paid what they want rarely just fall into those positions by accident any more. Competition is tough and action is required when reaching for advancement and success.
For those who want more than they might just stumble across, there are decisions to be made, goals to be set, goals to be met, some adjustments to be made, positive attitudes to maintain, and largely, a commitment to staying pointed in the right direction.
So, we really do need to ask ourselves how much we want to make and then plot the course of action required to make that happen. Doesn’t that sound like a walk in the park; a piece of cake? No, not really. But is it possible, achievable, doable, promising, feasible, practical or realistic?
Of course it is. So, in contemplating a career in dental assisting there is another star to reach for if you really want an excellent chance of hiking that salary up even further. Consider becoming a registered dental assistant (RDA).
A Registered Dental Assistant Salary
To find statistics for an RDA salary one has to keep searching, and that is because those official salary statistics given above are not differentiating between the trained or untrained dentist assistant, experienced or inexperienced, and certainly not between those with a high school diploma or a RDA.
Whether or not RDAs are even included in that group of statistics is unclear. A bit more information and some common sense can help us see how it is reasonable to believe that being registered would bring about better options and a higher salary.
The Opportunities Leading to Higher Salaries
The benefits of one choosing to be an RDA are many and it is easy to see how it opens up more opportunities that can lead to higher paying jobs.
Registered dental assistants are able to obtain positions in forms of more specialized dentistry like orthodontic or oral surgery offices. There are many other advantages of being registered, as well as the larger range of procedures one would be qualified to participate in or perform.
RDAs have a better chance of getting hired in more specialized forms of dentistry such as orthodontics or oral surgery offices. Hospitals and clinics needing assistants will almost certainly seek out those who are registered. Governmental dental institutions hire registered dental assistants and they are qualified for an array of specialized laboratory positions as well.
The chance for promotion is greater in any of these facilities and with the higher education comes the enhanced likelihood of moving into management or administrative positions that could bring much higher pay.
There is a quotation that has been growing in popularity that deserves the attention of those striving for additional income or any sort of higher accomplishments, in any aspect of our lives. It comes from the infamous Donald Trump, a man who is not always everybody’s favorite person in the world, but a man who has proven over and over to possess some business savvy at the very least.
He is also practiced in achievement, evidenced by his wealth. The quotation is one hard to argue with and one in which it is easy to see the common sense: If you are going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.
Where else is it a better idea to think big than in our career endeavors, where the rewards can be vast and immeasurable? And if we are going to be thinking about careers or career enhancement, then we might very well be considering additional education. It is nearly effortless to find and more graceful to realize than it ever has been at any time.
So, if you are going to be thinking about a career in dental assisting, you might consider thinking a bit bigger and earning your registration. Bigger thinking may just lead you to a broader range of reasons to love your job and bigger salaries along the way. Keep progressing and expect that your salary will grow with you.