How to Grow Your Salary as a Dental Assistant

Dental assisting is a rewarding career choice for several reasons:

  • Your job helps people remain healthy
  • It doesn’t require you to invest in a college degree
  • It provides varied and interesting work

But do dental assistants make good money? The truth is that dental assistant hourly pay depends on experience. This means that while the base rate isn’t always the best, there are ways to grow your salary if you’re proactive. We explore a few of these below.

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1. Become DANB Certified

Obtaining DANB certification is a great way to make yourself more appealing as a potential hire. It also allows you to expand your role as a dental assistant.

For anyone wondering, “do dental assistants make good money?” the average hourly rate for this role is $19.80 according to the BLS, or around $41,180 per year for a full-time role. Those at the upper end of this scale are typically DANB certified; the body’s research suggests that this qualification adds an extra $3,500 to your annual paycheck on average.

This qualification lets you take on more responsibilities, enabling you to cement your position as a valuable part of your practice. This is important leverage when it comes to asking for a raise and is one of the best ways to increase your dental assistant hourly pay.

2. Always Offer to Help

Experience is key to increasing your dental assistant hourly pay. That doesn’t just include how long you’ve been there but also you’re expertise.

Find out the limits of what you can learn in your practice – these vary from state to state, so if your state limits what you can do as an assistant, there might be better advancement opportunities elsewhere. Your helpful attitude will also do you favors when it comes to asking for a raise.

3. Research New Qualifications – And Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

You can take additional courses to increase your experience and build your knowledge. Like DANB certification, this will allow you to assist with more procedures and increase your utility as part of the practice.

These courses can be researched online or accessed through professional bodies. They won’t be free, but the increased wages you could receive in return more than offset the cost of learning in the long run.

You should also use your practice as an expert reference. Your dentist might be able to recommend course providers or let you know which courses and subjects would be most useful in your practice, which lets you target your learning towards improving your wages.

4. Find a High-Paying Practice

It’s unfortunate that the question “do dental assistants make good money?” depends on geographical location and the practice’s budget. While loyalty is an excellent trait and can help you earn a raise, you shouldn’t hamstring yourself if there’s significantly better pay available elsewhere.

Note that salary varies from state to state. Moving state is a big choice but could permit a higher salary. Your learning and proactive attitude will make you an attractive candidate for higher-paying practices.

Increase Your Dental Assistant Hourly Pay by Being Proactive

So, do dental assistants make good money? The best answer is yes, but you must equip yourself with knowledge, experience, and an attitude that will work in your favor when you ask for a raise. You must also be brave enough to ask for that raise. 

When you know you’ve justified it, make the move, and you’re sure to reap the rewards. If they cannot afford your raise, or you live in a state with limitations on certifications you can earn to boost expertise, consider moving to a new practice and even a neighboring state.