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Dental Assistant Salaries in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is a small state with a small population. But its economy is stable and productive, which provides residents with access to a high quality of living. Healthcare services of all types are well-funded and widely available in Rhode Island, which means good paying jobs for dental assistants are not difficult to find.

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Current projections indicate almost no change will occur in the number of dental assistant jobs available in Rhode Island between now and 2026. This is a consequence of the state’s lack of population growth. However, jobs for aspiring dental assistants will still be available, since some who currently occupy those positions will move, retire or change careers.

Although dental assistants in Rhode Island are not required to be licensed, the state does have specific regulations governing their practice. Dental assistants must complete a training program that is at least 10 weeks long and includes both classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Upon completion of the program, they must pass a written exam administered by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Competency Assessments. In addition, dental assistants must complete a jurisprudence exam administered by the Rhode Island Board of Examiners in Dentistry. The jurisprudence exam tests dental assistants’ knowledge of the state’s dental practice act and other regulations governing the practice of dentistry. Dental assistants who do not hold a current certification or license from another state must also complete a criminal background check.

Dental assistants in Rhode Island are allowed to perform a limited range of tasks under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist. These tasks include taking dental impressions, preparing patients for dental procedures, assisting dentists during procedures, providing postoperative care instructions to patients and taking X-rays. Dental assistants may also be responsible for scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records and handling billing and insurance paperwork.

In addition to the duties they are allowed to perform under direct supervision, dental assistants in Rhode Island may also perform a variety of tasks that do not require the direct supervision of a licensed dentist.

Dental assistants earn impressive wages in Rhode Island. Salaries for this occupation are moderately above the national average, which is a testament to the overall vitality of the Rhode Island economy.

AreaNameBase YearEmployedProjection YearProjected EmploymentChange% ChangeProjected Average Annual Job Openings
United States2018346,0002026384,70038,70019.5%44,800
Rhode Island20168802026860-20-2.3%90

StateTotal EmployedHourly MeanHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile
Rhode Island890$21.53$44,790$34,180$38,490$44,430$51,040$58,820

Providence is by far Rhode Island’s largest city. More dental assistants find employment in the greater Providence area than anywhere else in the state. But despite the competition, salaries for dental assistants in Providence are still higher than the state average. The best paying jobs for dental assistants in Rhode Island can be found in the Norwich (CT)-New London (CT)-Westerley (RI) metro area, with the most opportunities available for Rhode Island residents who are willing to commute to Connecticut.

AreaTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile90th Percentile
Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI260$22.94$47,720$36,010$42,150$48,160$53,620$60,510
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA1110$22.10$45,960$34,520$39,450$45,740$52,750$60,170

Dental assistants who pursue their careers in Rhode Island are compensated more generously than men and women who work as medical assistants, nursing assistants or pharmacy technicians. However, they are paid significantly less (40-50 percent) than physical therapists, who receive salaries in Rhode Island that are well above the national average for that profession.

OccupationTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean10th Percentile25th PercentileAnnual Median75th Percentile90th Percentile
Pharmacy Technicians1840$18.21$37,880$26,960$31,360$37,310$44,570$49,790
Nursing Assistants9300$15.88$33,020$25,770$28,050$31,800$37,340$42,900
Physical Therapist Assistants390$31.48$65,480$51,010$56,300$65,000$75,560$81,800
Dental Assistants890$21.53$44,790$34,180$38,490$44,430$51,040$58,820
Medical Assistants2820$17.92$37,270$27,970$32,100$36,650$41,190$49,490