Dental Assistant Salary Information

Benefits vary substantially by practice and may be contingent upon full-time employment.

  • The middle 50% of Dental Assistants earned between $26,980 and $38,960 per year.*
  • The median annual wages of Dental Assistants was $32,380 in 2008.*
  • Skilled and experienced Dental Assistants in the highest 10% salary range earned $46,150 annually.*
  • Job openings for Dental Assistants are expected to increase by 36% through 2018.

Information is based on the Occupational Outlook Handbook of the U.S. Department of Labor.Annual figures assume full time employment at 2080 hours per year. Individual student earnings vary.

**This growth represents a ten-year period ending 2018. Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011 Edition

Job Outlook

Employment is expected to increase much faster than average; job prospects are expected to be excellent.

Employment change:

    Employment is expected to grow 36 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. In fact, dental assistants are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations over the 2008–18 projection period. Population growth, greater retention of natural teeth by middle-aged and older people, and an increased focus on preventative dental care for younger generations will fuel demand for dental services. Older dentists, who have been less likely to employ assistants or have employed fewer, are leaving the occupation and will be replaced by recent graduates, who are more likely to use one or more assistants. In addition, as dentists’ workloads increase, they are expected to hire more assistants to perform routine tasks, so that they may devote their own time to more complex procedures.

Job prospects:

    Job prospects should be excellent, as dentists continue to need the aid of qualified dental assistants. There will be many opportunities for entry-level positions, but some dentists prefer to hire experienced assistants, those who have completed a dental-assisting program, or have met State requirements to take on expanded functions within the office.

    In addition to job openings due to employment growth, some job openings will arise out of the need to replace assistants who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave for other reasons.