Dental Assistant Salaries in New Mexico

With a population of just 2.3 million people spread out over its open, arid spaces, New Mexico is a sparsely settled land. But its cities are active and vibrant, and positions for dental assistants and other medical care workers are available in substantial and expanding numbers.

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Over the next several years, new opportunities for trained dental assistants will open up in many New Mexico locations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Between 2016 and 2026, the number of jobs in the dental assistant category is expected to increase by 13.4 percent. This is lower than the projected job growth for the U.S. economy as a whole (19.5 percent), but large enough to present opportunities to those who desire to enter this profession.

There are a couple of reasons behind this moderate job growth projection. First, the baby boomer generation is aging. As people live longer and take better care of their teeth, they will need more dental work done. Second, many people now have dental insurance, which was not as common a few years ago. This means that more people are able to afford dental care, and they are more likely to get the preventive and restorative work that they need.

If you’re thinking about becoming a dental assistant, you can be assured that there will be job opportunities available in New Mexico. However, keep in mind that competition for jobs may be higher in some areas than others. In general, the most job opportunities will be in the larger cities, such as Albuquerque and Santa Fe. There may also be good opportunities in rural areas, where dental assistants may be the only trained dental professional available.

To increase your chances of getting a job as a dental assistant, it is important to get training from an accredited New Mexico program.

In New Mexico, most dental assistants will make a few thousand dollars less annually than the national average. But New Mexico has one of America’s lowest costs of living, which means its compensation levels for dental assistants are actually quite competitive.

AreaNameBase YearEmployedProjection YearProjected EmploymentChange% ChangeProjected Average Annual Job Openings
United States2018346,0002026384,70038,70019.5%44,800
New Mexico20162,54020262,89035013.8%330

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
New Mexico2,830$17.94$37,310$27,450$30,810$36,380$42,530$49,530

The highest salaries for dental assistants in New Mexico can be found in Albuquerque, the state’s largest city, and in Santa Fe, its most well-known tourist destination. Pay rates are slightly above the state average in both municipalities. In contrast, people who secure employment in Las Cruces or Farmington, New Mexico’s next two largest cities, should expect to receive wages that are below the state average.

AreaTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile90th Percentile
Albuquerque, NM1580$18.31$38,080$27,780$31,370$37,570$44,130$50,270
Farmington, NM210$17.01$35,370$24,140$29,210$34,670$40,220$49,150
Las Cruces, NM220$15.98$33,240$26,920$28,910$32,170$37,260$42,810
Santa Fe, NM210$18.49$38,470$30,880$33,380$37,360$43,520$49,790

Despite the relatively modest compensation, dental assistants are still better paid in New Mexico than medical assistants, pharmacy technicians or nursing assistants. Physical therapists make substantially more, although the gap is not as great as in other states.

OccupationTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile90th Percentile
Pharmacy Technicians2340$16.66$34,650$26,100$29,580$34,340$38,750$45,760
Nursing Assistants5620$13.87$28,850$20,880$23,830$28,250$33,270$38,640
Physical Therapist Assistants600$24.61$51,190$24,650$33,140$53,140$64,960$75,910
Dental Assistants2830$17.94$37,310$27,450$30,810$36,380$42,530$49,530
Medical Assistants6750$15.18$31,570$23,000$27,090$30,640$36,030$41,230


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