As a dental assistant, you will work under the supervision of a dentist, assisting her as necessary, in addition to performing clerical duties around the office. You may be required to prep patients for an oral examination, or you may need to sterilize dental equipment. Becoming a dental assistant will allow you to work in a fast-growing industry, without spending years and years in college studying or training. You could complete a dental assistant diploma program in as little as 10-12 months, and earn an average of $34,0001 after you have found a job in the dental industry. The salary for a dental assistant will vary, depending on a variety of factors, including location, years of experience, and the type of employer.
Average Salary of a Dental Assistant
Although the salary for a dental assistant will vary, there is an average salary for individuals who work a typical 40-hour work week. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a dental assistant in 2012 was $34,500. The lower 10 percent of dental assistants earned an average of $23,550, while the top 10 percent of dental assistants earned an average annual wage of $47,580.
Some factors that can cause these average wages to increase include profit sharing, overtime pay, and bonuses. While a large percentage of dental assistants work full-time, a large number of employees worked part-time as well.
The amount of experience you have as a dental assistant could affect your salary. The increase in pay is credited to the training you will receive while on-the-job. The more time you work as a dental assistant, the more you will learn and be able to apply to those duties you already know how to complete. The more experience you have, the more money you could earn. For example, a dental assistant that has less than one year of experience could earn $30,000 per year, while a dental assistant with more than 20 years of experience has the potential to earn $41,000.
The state that you work in will determine how much you could earn working as a dental assistant. In California, dental assistants could earn an average salary of $40,000, while a dental assistant working in Oklahoma earns an average of $25,000 per year.
Type of Employer
The employer that you work for will also determine how much money you could earn working as a dental assistant. Those employees who work in a hospital tend to earn more money than those who work as a dental assistant for a federal government agency. Dental assistants who work for non-profit organizations and private dental offices generally earn an average salary of $34,000, while a dental assistant who works for a hospital could earn an annual wage of $40,000.