Dental Assistants: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, OverviewLeave a Comment

Dental Assistants

Dental Assistants perform limited clinical duties under the direction of a dentist. Clinical duties may include equipment preparation and sterilization, preparing patients for treatment, assisting the dentist during treatment, and providing patients with instructions for oral healthcare procedures. May perform administrative duties such as scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes.

Becoming One
Post-secondary certificate
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth


Job description

Dental Assistants assist dentist, set up equipment, prepare patient for treatment, and keep records.

  • Prepare patient, sterilize or disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, or assist dentist during dental procedures.
  • Record treatment information in patient records.
  • Expose dental diagnostic x-rays.
  • Take and record medical and dental histories and vital signs of patients.
Read more about what does a Dental Assistant really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.


Average salary
$39770 per year

Average hourly wage
$19 per hour

Dental Assistants with little to no experience tend to make between $26940 and $32200 while the more experienced ones can earn over $47070 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
MN $24 $49,880
DC $24 $49,220
NH $23 $48,760
AK $23 $47,330
ND $22 $46,640

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Dental Assistant is to move to a higher paying state like MN. Right now, the highest paying states for Dental Assistants are MN, DC, NH, AK and ND.

However, a higher pay at MN doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at MN might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Dental Assistant is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Post-secondary certificate

We asked other Dental Assistants what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Post-Secondary Certificate followed by an Associate’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Dental Assisting/Assistant
Read more about how to become a Dental Assistant and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Dental Assistant.

Suitable for people who likes to follow routines
Suitable for people who values relationships between co-workers and customers and wants to work in a friendly non-competitive environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Short working hours (Less than 40 hours per week)
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
One of the lowest paying jobs

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

74% of Dental Assistants said they were satisfied with their job and 73% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Organizers and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Learn more about Dental Assistants

Summary (You are here)
Job Description

Related career information

Dental Assistants job description, Dental Assistants salary, Dental Assistants information, what is the job of a Dental Assistant like, pros and cons about Dental Assistants, colleges and universities for Dental Assistants, is Dental Assistants the right career for me, careers in Healthcare and Medical

Similar careers

Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), Certified Registered Dental Assistant, Dental Aide, Dental Assistant (DA), Dental Nurse, Dental Office Manager, Dentist Attendant, Expanded Duty Dental Assistant (EDDA), Expanded Function Dental Assistant, Oral Surgery Assistant

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