How Much Do Dental Assistants Make? (2023)

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How Much Money Do Dental Assistants Make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that dental assistants make a median salary of $38,660 each year or $18.59 per hour. The bottom 10 percent of dental assistants earn less than $29,580 per year, while the top 10 percent of dental assistants earn more than $59,540 annually.

Do Dental Assistants Get Paid Well?

Dental assistants earn less than the national average ($45,760). However, they earn more than other health care support occupations. The median salary for health care support occupations is $29,880. Dental Assistants typically earn a certificate or a postsecondary nondegree award before entering the profession. When compared to professions that require a similar level of education, dental assistants earn less. Other professions that require a postsecondary nondegree award have a median salary of $44,420 per year.

How Much Do Dental Assistants Get Starting Out?

The BLS does not provide average compensation data for entry-level positions for dental assistants just starting out, but the bottom 25 percent of dental assistants earn $37,000 each year.

How Many Dental Assistants Are There in the United States?

There are 358,600 dental assistants in the U.S.The states with the most dental assistants are California (48,090), Texas (33,040) and Florida (21,390). 

Where Can Dental Assistants Earn The Most?

Dental assistants earn the most money in Minnesota ($53,080), Massachusetts ($51,210) and Alaska ($50,640). 

Is Becoming A Dental Assistant Worth It?

Deciding whether or not to become a dental assistant depends on a number of factors such as job growth, salary information, job requirements and required education. As a dental assistant, you can expect strong demand for your services—employment for dental assistants is expected to grow by 8.4 percent between 2021 and 2031. This growth will result in approximately 74,000 new jobs.

To become a dental assistant, you typically need to earn a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a dental assisting program, which can be completed in about a year. Some states also require dental assistants to be licensed or certified.

As a dental assistant, you will be responsible for supporting the work of dentists and helping to ensure that dental procedures are performed efficiently and safely. This may include tasks such as sterilizing instruments, preparing materials, taking x-rays, and assisting with procedures. Dental assistants may also be responsible for scheduling appointments and maintaining records. Dental assistants may work in a variety of settings, including dental offices, hospitals, and clinics.

Overall, becoming a dental assistant can be a rewarding career choice for those who are interested in the field of dentistry and have good manual dexterity and communication skills. It offers strong job growth and a reasonable salary, but it also requires some education and training.

Average Dental Assistant Salary (2022)

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Read More: A Guide to Hospital Jobs That Don't Require A College Degree

Where to find dental assistant programs

How Much Do Dental Assistants Earn in Each State?

The table below compares dental assistant salaries across states and U.S. territories (Source: BLS Occupational Employment and Wages May 2020). You can also find data for the number of dental assistants in each state as well as the number of dental assistants per 1,000 jobs—a figure that can help you determine the job's popularity in a given location. Not all locations have employment statistics. 

Dental Assistant Salary
Location
Annual Salary
in location
Employment
In location
Employment per 1,000 jobs
Minnesota
$53,620
5110
1.887
Massachusetts
$51,150
6020
1.796
New Hampshire
$50,080
1150
1.851
Oregon
$48,240
4550
2.521
Alaska
$48,100
920
3.120
North Dakota
$47,500
770
1.922
Rhode Island
$46,540
730
1.642
Washington
$46,410
9390
2.938
Vermont
$45,880
290
1.023
Maine
$45,420
1100
1.909
Connecticut
$45,010
3070
1.993
North Carolina
$44,920
9260
2.160
New Jersey
$44,770
8020
2.121
Iowa
$44,500
3030
2.063
Virginia
$44,120
7850
2.120
Colorado
$44,080
8390
3.256
Maryland
$43,300
4850
1.924
California
$43,000
47140
2.869
New York
$42,510
14420
1.659
Arizona
$41,270
7710
2.719
Indiana
$40,880
5980
2.049
South Dakota
$40,460
840
2.032
Ohio
$40,390
9780
1.904
Florida
$40,320
20690
2.451
Pennsylvania
$40,050
9580
1.739
South Carolina
$40,040
4580
2.275
Illinois
$40,030
11390
2.023
Georgia
$39,960
8150
1.892
Wisconsin
$39,810
5840
2.156
Nebraska
$39,800
2080
2.210
Nevada
$39,620
2200
1.755
Kansas
$39,590
2800
2.099
Texas
$39,170
29950
2.475
Michigan
$39,120
6900
1.759
Delaware
$38,800
670
1.565
Missouri
$38,640
5480
2.035
Tennessee
$38,420
5240
1.804
Wyoming
$38,330
550
2.086
Oklahoma
$37,880
4010
2.568
Kentucky
$37,210
4100
2.301
Montana
$37,070
1420
3.113
Arkansas
$36,680
2610
2.214
Hawaii
$36,020
1580
2.753
New Mexico
$35,980
2460
3.133
District of Columbia
$35,680
480
0.704
Idaho
$35,460
2210
3.069
Utah
$34,500
5640
3.790
Guam
$33,950
180
2.828
Louisiana
$33,660
4610
2.560
Alabama
$32,070
3170
1.666
West Virginia
$31,730
1080
1.666
Virgin Islands
$31,180
70
1.933
Mississippi
$30,310
2280
2.119
Puerto Rico
$18,450
2130
2.603