What is the Average Dental Assistant Salary?
And 6 Other Questions about the Career
It should be no surprise to hear that the dental industry is booming in Colorado. Careers in the field can provide stability, great pay and an opportunity to help others. And while you may not have the time or funds needed to become a dentist, you still have great options in the field. Dental Assisting is a solid choice for those looking to get into a professionally satisfying career fast. It’s not just a job—it’s a calling.
What’s more, there’s huge demand for more Dental Assistants in Colorado — so it’s a great time to get ahead by beginning your training. You probably have some questions about the career before you decide to jump in. To help guide your decision, we’ve put together a list of common questions that you might have and answered them.
6 frequently asked questions about Dental Assistants
1. How much money do Dental Assistants make?
The median annual wage for Dental Assistants in the U.S. was $36,940 in May 2016, with the top 10 percent earning more than $52,000 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You should know that pay does vary by employment setting. For example, a dental assistant who works at a college or university might earn less than average, while one who works in a hospital would likely earn more than the average.
2. Where do Dental Assistants work?
If you guessed dental offices, you’re pretty much right. The vast majority of Dental Assistants work in the offices of dentists — 9 in 10, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other places you could find work as a Dental Assistant are hospitals and clinics.
3. What is the job outlook for Dental Assistants?
Worried about finding a job after graduating with a diploma in Dental Assisting? You shouldn’t be. The truth is, Dental Assistants can even be picky about where they work. With employment projected to grow 19 percent through 2026, the role is expanding much faster than the average for all occupations. With demand for skilled employees high, you could be looking at some very competitive wages.
4. What do Dental Assistants do every day?
You’d probably like to know how you’ll be spending your time at work. Most Dental Assistants spend a lot of time working with patients. It’s your job to make sure they’re comfortable, maintain their appointments and records, and help out with procedures.
You’ll also get to know your dentist very well. Every day, you’ll assist them by cleaning equipment, preparing their stations for procedures and lending a hand during those procedures. Over time, you’ll learn to anticipate the needs of your dentist, your patients and the office as a whole.
5. How do you become a Dental Assistant?
Becoming a dentist takes many years, and a large financial investment. Dental Assisting is much more accessible. To become a Dental Assistant in Colorado, you’ll need to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam for certification.
Most programs take about a year, but there are opportunities to finish your diploma in as little as 10 months. During your training, you’ll learn everything you need to succeed in the industry, while gaining practical, hands-on experience. That way, you can start your first day on the job with confidence and field-tested talent.
6. What kind of person makes a good Dental Assistant?
Not sure if you’re up for the task? Don’t worry — the skills needed to be a great Dental Assistant can all be learned during a short-term training program. Still, it can be helpful to have some key personality traits that will help you succeed with the responsibilities of the career:
- Good with your hands
- Interpersonal skills
- Listening skills
- Organizational skills
Could you be a Dental Assistant?
If you like the idea of working with people and want to join the dental industry in a supporting role, then you could be a Dental Assistant. The short training period, coupled with a promising job outlook and steady salary, are all appealing reasons to join this profession.