Dental Assistant Wages
Continuing with our series on Dental Assistants, today, let’s take a look at the wages/salary of a dental assistant. For those that are interested in our previous coverage, take a look at what is a dental assistant, why become a dental assistant, how to become a dental assistant, jobs and duties of a dental assistant and finding the right school.
Dental assistant jobs have grown to be in demand during the recent years not only because of the increased openings in various medical and dental establishments but also because of the great pay packet and the perks that are part of the job. People who work as dental assistants get to enjoy relatively higher salary packages than those in other health care professions, not to mention lesser working hours and more relaxed environments.
Dental Assistant Salary Data
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental assistants received a median annual salary of $32,380 as of May 2008. The middle 50% have earned somewhere between $26,980 and $38960, while the lower 10% earned $22,270, while the highest 10% earned above $46,150.
The salary for dental assistants is expected to rise by 36% by 2016, based on the growing demand for employees in this position, as well as the expanding markets in the field of medical and dental care.
Benefits and Other Perks
Like other employees, dental assistants are entitled to benefits packages especially when they have been accepted to regular employment. Life, health and retirement benefits may be received, as well as paid holidays and vacations.
Better benefits are given to dental assistants with more experience than those in entry level positions; packages vary by practice setting, nature of employment and geographic location. Dental assistants who work in places where the job is in demand get to receive better benefits, as well as discounts in dental jobs and instant access to dental services.
The salaries of dental assistants vary on the following factors:
- Education and training. Unlike the past decades wherein dental assistants are not required to take up a related course in order to get into the position, these days most dental care establishments require applicants to provide proof of training through dental assistant certification programs. Those who have graduated from certificate courses are more likely to get better compensation packages than those who did not.
- On-the-job experience. Dental assistants also get to receive better salary packages when they are more experienced in fulfilling the duties and responsibilities for the said position. This is because they no longer have to be instructed by their superiors and can work on the operations on their own.
- Nature of employer. In areas and establishments where dental assistants are not very much in demand, salaries and benefits also tend to be lower, as compared to fields where they are sought after. Public health care facilities offer lower salaries to dental assistants, but the benefits are much better, while there are private health care establishments that offer only basic benefits but higher monetary compensation.
How to Prepare for the Job
To those who are interested in becoming dental assistants, it is recommended to take up certificate courses in dental care assistance which would last for a few months to a year depending on the school. Theses course offer both in-class and laboratory training. Upon finishing the dental assistant training program, each graduates will receive a certificate of completion which would then serve as their ticket to better career opportunities. An individual with a dental assistant training course certificate will have a better edge in getting hired since Dentists are looking for staff that is both knowledgeable and have hand on experience on the job as compared to those who have no specific experience just yet.
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