Dental Assistant Salaries in North Carolina

North Carolina has experienced significant population growth and is now the 10th most populous state. Its metropolitan areas offer extensive and sophisticated medical and dental care services to residents and visitors alike, cementing the state’s reputation as a healthcare mecca. Aspiring dental assistants in North Carolina can find ample opportunities for employment in North Carolina, usually at wages that are above the industry average.

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The need for dental assistants in the United States is burgeoning, and North Carolina is helping drive that trend. Between 2016 and 2026, dental assistant jobs in North Carolina are projected to increase by 23.6 percent, which is about 20 percent higher than for the United States as a whole.

This expected increase in dental assistant jobs is likely due to several factors, such as an aging population and an emphasis on preventive care.

One of the most important duties of a dental assistant is to help maintain patients’ oral hygiene. In addition to providing instruction on brushing and flossing, dental assistants may also take X-rays and perform other basic diagnostic procedures. They also often work alongside dentists during more complex procedures, such as teeth cleanings, fillings, and extractions.

Dental assistants must be detail-oriented and able to work quickly and effectively in a fast-paced environment. They must also be able to put patients at ease, as many people experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. Strong communication skills are essential, as dental assistants often act as a liaison between patients and dentists.

Salaries for dental assistants in North Carolina are marginally higher than the national average. Increasing demand for well-trained professionals in the state should continue to put upward pressure on wages, in dental care and in healthcare in general.

AreaNameBase YearEmployedProjection YearProjected EmploymentChange% ChangeProjected Average Annual Job Openings
United States2018346,0002026384,70038,70019.5%44,800
North Carolina20168,970202611,0902,12023.6%1,300

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
North Carolina9,510$20.57$42,790$31,590$36,360$42,750$49,460$56,180

Dental assistants employed in North Carolina’s Triangle region (the RaleighDurham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area) earn the top salaries in the state. Other locations where dental assistants are paid a few thousand dollars more than the state’s annual average include Charlotte, New Bern, Burlington, and the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area on the North Carolina-South Carolina border. Conversely, dental assistants who work in Wilmington or in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metropolitan area in western North Carolina can expect to earn 10-20 percent less than the state average.

AreaTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile90th Percentile
Asheville, NC530$20.35$42,330$34,060$38,090$42,930$48,000$51,230
Burlington, NC120$21.05$43,790$32,280$35,360$43,440$52,580$58,390
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC2600$21.30$44,300$31,340$37,480$44,760$51,010$59,160
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC610$23.10$48,050$36,090$41,790$47,870$55,470$61,870
Fayetteville, NC460$19.03$39,570$31,360$34,470$39,220$45,910$50,080
Goldsboro, NC100$19.19$39,920$33,230$35,610$38,920$44,330$50,300
Greensboro-High Point, NC790$20.54$42,730$32,660$36,330$41,470$49,530$57,350
Greenville, NC150$20.59$42,830$31,550$36,700$42,190$49,320$55,680
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC260$16.90$35,160$27,580$31,270$35,050$38,930$44,960
Jacksonville, NC130$19.99$41,570$32,460$36,870$41,510$46,950$51,290
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC390$20.82$43,300$30,960$35,590$42,080$50,470$59,710
New Bern, NC140$21.65$45,040$35,250$40,020$44,730$50,060$58,360
Raleigh, NC1440$21.25$44,200$33,170$38,960$45,170$50,640$56,520
Rocky Mount, NC70$19.90$41,390$33,990$37,270$42,040$46,980$50,360
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC1870$19.04$39,600$25,920$33,390$38,920$46,800$52,920
Wilmington, NC350$18.07$37,580$27,760$32,780$37,970$42,890$48,230
Winston-Salem, NC550$20.28$42,180$33,080$36,180$41,050$48,220$54,500

In North Carolina, wages for dental assistants are notably higher than for pharmacy technicians, nursing assistants or medical assistants. But salaries for dental assistants are significantly lower than for physical therapists, who are generously compensated in the state.

OccupationTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile90th Percentile
Pharmacy Technicians13560$15.67$32,600$22,680$26,820$32,090$37,940$44,560
Nursing Assistants56780$12.76$26,540$19,430$22,310$26,360$30,360$34,690
Physical Therapist Assistants2820$29.57$61,500$45,630$53,450$61,420$71,150$79,290
Dental Assistants9510$20.57$42,790$31,590$36,360$42,750$49,460$56,180
Medical Assistants19640$16.05$33,380$25,520$28,800$33,500$38,040$41,830


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