How Much Do Dental Assistants Make in Mississippi?

Mississippi is one of America’s smaller states, in terms of both population and square mileage. In communities across the state, reliable dental care plays an important role in public health. Along with the dentists they work for, dental assistants help ensure this care is available.

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The job market for Mississippi dental assistants is steady. In the decade between 2016 and 2026, the state will increase the number of assistant positions by just 1 percent. However, through job turnover, about 240 openings for current positions must be filled in the typical year.

Job prospects are best for dental assistants who have completed formal education programs and earned certification. Although certification is not required for employment in Mississippi, most dentists prefer to hire certified assistants. Certification demonstrates that an assistant has the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the job effectively. The Commission on Dental Accreditation, which is part of the American Dental Association, accredits more than 300 dental assisting programs across the country, including several in Mississippi.

In addition to formal education and certification, employers also value work experience. Many dental assistants gain experience by working in general dentistry practices before specializing in a particular area of dental care. Some assistants choose to specialize in areas such as orthodontics, oral surgery, or periodontics. Specialized training is available through certificate programs and community colleges. Mississippi has many community and technical colleges that offer programs in dental assisting.

Mississippi dental assistants must have good interpersonal skills. They must be able to work effectively with dentists, other dental health care professionals, and patients. They must be able to communicate clearly and follow instructions carefully. Dental assistants also must be detail oriented and able to handle a variety of tasks simultaneously.

Most dental assistants work full time, although about 1 in 5 worked part time in 2018. Hours may be irregular, and overtime is often necessary to meet the demands of patients. Some assistants may work evenings or weekends.

Mississippi ranks on the low side when it comes to dental assistant salaries. The state average of $32,770 sits well below than the typical level for the U.S. as a whole. However, the best-paid assistants working in the state can expect to make about $13,000 more annually.

AreaNameBase YearEmployedProjection YearProjected EmploymentChange% ChangeProjected Average Annual Job Openings
United States2018346,0002026384,70038,70019.5%44,800

StateTotal EmployedHourly MeanHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile

Dental assistants working in two metro regions – Jackson and greater Memphis – have substantially higher average salaries than assistants working elsewhere. The lowest average salary is found in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula region.

AreaTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile90th Percentile
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS330$14.92$31,030$21,890$24,180$28,540$36,680$42,300
Hattiesburg, MS200$15.70$32,650$23,350$26,220$30,950$38,330$43,120
Jackson, MS390$17.90$37,230$25,870$30,510$36,520$44,670$50,170
Memphis, TN-MS-AR1340$17.84$37,110$23,500$28,020$34,760$45,420$57,040

Mississippi dental assistants make roughly the same income as the state’s pharmacy assistants. Medical and nursing assistants make less than dental assistants. Physical therapist assistants make more.

OccupationTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile90th Percentile
Pharmacy Technicians3450$15.72$32,700$23,040$26,480$30,620$36,950$43,410
Nursing Assistants13600$11.53$23,980$17,970$20,350$23,100$26,510$31,060
Physical Therapist Assistants810$23.22$48,290$20,920$31,920$50,410$62,550$74,360
Dental Assistants2230$15.76$32,770$23,040$26,620$31,100$38,570$45,820
Medical Assistants3590$14.75$30,690$22,140$25,730$29,460$33,900$39,480

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