How Much Do Dental Assistants Earn in California?

California is the most populous state in the U.S. and one with a big demand for qualified healthcare and dental workers. Californians are health conscious and that means there is plenty of work for trained dental assistants.

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Major growth is expected in dental assisting careers in the state through 2026. The rate of growth, at 16.5 percent, is much faster than average job growth. Expect to see 6,570 open positions for dental assistants in California each year. There will also be an estimated total of 8,100 completely new positions added.

California dental assistants earn $43,280 per year on average, which is higher than the national average. The top ten percent in the state make more than $60,000 per year.

AreaNameBase YearEmployedProjection YearProjected EmploymentChange% ChangeProjected Average Annual Job Openings
United States2018346,0002026384,70038,70019.5%44,800
California201649,100202657,2008,10016.5%6,570
StateTotal EmployedHourly MeanHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile
U.S.351,470$19.79$41,170$27,980$33,440$40,080$48,550$56,930
California56,840$20.81$43,280$28,710$33,850$41,320$50,970$60,820

Employment and salaries vary by region and metropolitan area with the highest number of employed dental assistants in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco. The best salaries for dental assistants in California can be found in Santa Rosa, San Jose and San Francisco. Dental assistants earn the least in the Visalia-Porterville area.

AreaTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile90th Percentile
Bakersfield, CA1040$19.20$39,930$27,220$30,100$35,780$47,200$61,790
Chico, CA240$20.31$42,240$32,450$36,880$43,060$48,240$51,760
El Centro, CA170$22.82$47,460$31,830$36,130$42,300$59,940$67,500
Fresno, CA1230$18.34$38,150$27,350$30,650$37,570$45,440$50,090
Hanford-Corcoran, CA190$20.44$42,510$25,960$29,590$36,440$58,300$67,490
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA19440$19.18$39,900$27,840$31,650$38,800$47,720$55,050
Madera, CA200$21.19$44,080$27,810$33,890$44,330$51,470$62,700
Merced, CA140$19.03$39,590$28,070$32,320$36,910$44,760$54,530
Modesto, CA760$17.43$36,260$26,970$30,410$35,260$40,660$48,720
Napa, CA210$24.24$50,420$34,730$44,510$52,340$58,980$63,470
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA1110$21.35$44,400$32,450$38,840$44,750$49,610$54,810
Redding, CA240$19.69$40,960$33,190$35,700$39,690$47,050$53,600
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA6050$18.06$37,560$27,380$30,700$36,290$43,940$50,300
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA3810$22.84$47,500$33,890$38,500$44,060$49,660$61,530
Salinas, CA510$21.84$45,430$32,740$36,940$43,660$50,970$65,950
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA5270$19.98$41,550$28,650$34,300$40,730$48,340$57,570
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA6980$24.76$51,510$32,570$38,690$48,880$60,180$70,540
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA3860$25.18$52,380$36,540$43,950$54,980$60,870$64,720
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA470$23.05$47,940$35,500$39,060$47,630$57,200$62,480
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA430$24.10$50,120$35,440$40,370$50,990$59,740$65,060
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA590$23.65$49,180$33,660$36,580$41,420$58,630$71,130
Santa Rosa, CA800$26.93$56,010$39,740$50,170$56,950$63,360$72,310
Stockton-Lodi, CA900$17.51$36,420$26,470$30,170$35,030$39,530$51,960
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA540$24.01$49,940$35,560$43,340$49,850$56,920$65,340
Visalia-Porterville, CA510$17.25$35,880$27,070$29,780$35,570$41,850$47,080
Yuba City, CA150$18.83$39,160$29,150$33,880$39,240$45,690$50,330

Compared to other healthcare assisting careers, dental assistants fall in the middle of the salary range in California. They earn more than medical assistants and nursing assistants but less than pharmacy technicians and physical therapy assistants.

OccupationTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile90th Percentile
Pharmacy Technicians36560$21.73$45,200$29,970$35,390$43,280$53,230$65,150
Nursing Assistants100190$17.61$36,630$26,870$30,000$34,910$40,880$50,070
Physical Therapist Assistants5750$31.81$66,150$34,010$54,220$69,620$79,830$90,560
Dental Assistants56840$20.81$43,280$28,710$33,850$41,320$50,970$60,820
Medical Assistants96850$19.29$40,120$26,820$31,410$37,640$47,650$59,130
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