What Are Dental Assistant Salaries?
Dental assistant salaries can vary by location and experience level. The 2017 median pay for Dental Assistants nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $37,630 per year, or $18.09 per hour. Dental assisting is among the top 25 fastest-growing occupations in the United States. There are almost 12,000 people employed as dental assistants in the state of Pennsylvania and this number is predicted to grow by almost 8% in the decade to 2024. With the baby-boomer generation aging, they require more complex and advanced dental care. This means job security for dental assistants.
In the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ area there are 860 total dental assistants employed. The mean hourly wage is $16.87, with a mean annual salary of $35,080. To see other areas and State statistics visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Dental Assistant Non Monetary Compensation
According to the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc’s Salary Survey, dental assisting certificants receive numerous additional benefits including paid holidays, paid vacation, 401(k) or pension plans, free dental care and paid sick leave. Beyond monetary rewards, those surveyed reported that certification benefited them personally and professionally — including greater pride, increased knowledge, greater confidence, and standing out from others when applying for a job.
Dental assisting is a safe and rewarding career path. If you are someone who is looking for a career change, or just starting out, this path is a great option. You will be able to work directly with patients to provide them the best dental care and there are many opportunities opening up in this field. If you would like to learn more about this career path, check out the American Dental Association’s page on Dental Assisting or visit our home page.
What Is A Dental Assistant
A dental assistant works directly with dentists to help maintain an organized, efficient patient care experience. If you are someone who enjoys helping patients, using your hands, and being a part of a care team, this work is a good fit for you. Dental assistants help relax patients as they prepare to see the dentist. They get patients ready for the dentist by performing preliminary examinations and taking readings such as blood pressure measurements. They follow up with patients to explain routine at-home dental hygiene practices. Depending on your experience level and which dental practice you work out of, you may be also be responsible for front office management, procurement, and inventory management.
Dental assistant tasks may include but are not limited to:
- Assisting a dentist with treatments and procedures
- Taking and developing dental radiographs (depending on state requirements)
- Communicating post-surgery instructions to patients
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments and equipment
- Preparing the examination room
- Ensuring the comfort of patients both before, during and after dental treatment
- Taking dental radiographs
- Applying sealant and fluoride
- Taking and recording the patient’s medical history and vital signs
- Educating patients regarding post-surgery or post-treatment oral care
- Educating patients on effective oral hygiene strategies
- Managing patient traffic
- Referring patients to other specialty dentists
Lehigh Valley School of Dental Assisting
Lehigh Valley School of Dental Assisting is a private school not recognized by the US Department of Education (and therefore ineligible for Federal financial aid) but licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Licensed Schools. The school teaches basic dental science, dental x-ray skills and prepares students for certification exams. The school is in Whitehall, PA, just northeast of Allentown.