How to Become a Dental Assistant

Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the industry and company you apply for. Those looking for an entry positions will likely need at least a certificate degree or associates degree from an accredited program. Some states require you to pass an exam to earn a license.

Begin your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited colleges below that offer programs to help get you started in dental assisting.

Much Does a Dental Assistant Make?
$34,500 (national median salary, to view salaries in your state click on the “Best Places to Work” tab up top)

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:
+303,200 additional people employed

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS Dental Assistant page)

Discover the Best Places to Become a Dental Assistant

The state of California leads the nation in employment for dental assistants, with 45,510 currently serving in various industries statewide, and earning an annual mean wage of $37,730. Texas is second in employment, with 23,520 dental assistants occupying positions within the state, and making an average yearly salary of $32,740.

Being a dental assistant means having the choice to work in a variety of different environments. Each has its own unique opportunities for advancement, including;

  • Solo dental practices
  • Group dental practices
  • Oral surgery offices
  • Endrodontics (root canal treatment)
  • Periodontics (treatment of gum problems)
  • Prosthodontics (replacement of lost teeth)
  • Pediatric dentistry (treatment of children)

Employment and Salary Information by State for Dental Assistants

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Dental Assisting. The associated information has been gathered from the Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Employment and Information Data for Dental Assisting

Why Become a Dental Assisting?

As a dental assistant, you will be an integral part of the dental office team. In many ways you will be the face of the office, and will be expected to provide excellent care and customer service. You will work directly with the patient and with the dentist.

Your responsibilities may include providing the dentist with proper instruments during operation and performing clerical and laboratory duties. A career with many skills you can use throughout your life, you will take part in clerical tasks, develop people skills and learn the ins and outs of the dental industry. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dental assistant occupation is expected to grow more over the next five years than most careers that require a similar level of education.

Recommended Courses to Become a Dental Assistant

  • Dental Office Administration
  • Fundamentals of Dentistry
  • Dental Pharmacology
  • Dental Radiography
  • Clinical Dental Procedures
  • Dental Equipment Use and Care

Degrees to Help You Become a Dental Assistant

Associate of Applied Science
The Associate of Applied Science degree in dental assisting has been designed to enable students to earn a two-year degree preparing them for a career in the dental industry. Completion of this degree will provide students with advanced skills for employment in dental facilities.

Bachelor of Applied Science
A Bachelor of Applied Science degree in dental science is typically a four year program that prepares you for a career in dental assisting and beyond. You will be given a wide range of exposure and holistic outlook on the field of dentistry.

Certificate of Completion
A Certification of Completion in dental assisting is typically a specialized program offered by a trade school with a specific focus on the dental industry. You will receive highly specialized training to prepare you for a career as a dental assistant.