This time of year is all about growth. Have you thought lately about growing your dental assisting salary?

We’ve heard that one of the most popular questions among dental assistants is typically: “How much money do dental assistants make?” Those who already are working as a dental assistant may have set their sights on increasing their pay, but they may be seeking tips about how to do this.

Look no further for advice! We know that the dental assistant’s salary can vary for many reasons, including location and experience. Here, we take a closer look at five key factors to consider when you’re striving to land that pay raise.


1. Take on More Responsibilities

Dental assistants with more experience and more credentials tend to earn more per hour than those who are new to the field. For example, Expanded Functions Dental Assistants (EFDAs) typically earn more because they have taken on extra responsibilities and can perform additional functions in the dental office.

Allowable expanded functions and dental assisting job titles vary by state, but some examples of expanded functions credentials that you might be able to earn are EFDA, RDAEF or EDDA, to name a few. If you’d like to grow your salary by way of performing expanded functions, the first step is to brush up on the requirements in your state.


2. Earn DANB Certification

Becoming DANB certified is often one of the ways to meet partial requirements to be eligible to perform expanded functions. Earning certification also is a great way to potentially boost your income. DANB’s salary survey finds that dental assistants who hold DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification earn more than those who are not certified — over $2 more per hour, or more than $3,500 per year!

Additionally, our survey shows that CDA certificants also reported receiving more workplace benefits, such as paid vacation time and holidays, compared with those who are not certified.


3. Consider Your Practice Type and Job Location

The type of practice you work in also can affect your income. For example, surveys have shown that CDA certificants who work in specialty practices typically make more than those employed in general dental practices. The location of your practice can affect your paycheck as well. Generally, dental assistants who work in major metropolitan areas tend to earn more than dental assistants who work in smaller towns. Some states tend to pay higher wages. Read more about what states pay dental assistants the most.


4. Do Your Research

Research shows that those who ask for raises are more likely to receive them. But before you do this, it’s important to also do your homework so that you’ll be prepared for this conversation with your employer. First, you’ll want to outline all the ways you’ve contributed to the dental practice in the past year. You’ll also want to look up the average wages for dental assistants in your area. You can look up salaries for all dental assistants or salaries for DANB CDA certificants. Once you’ve gathered your information, you can start thinking about how to ask your employer for a raise.


5. Build Your Experience

As in any role, as you spend more time working in a dental setting, you’ll have opportunities to hone your skills and demonstrate your abilities. You’ll also be able to gain more knowledge and possibly expand your role to include more allowable duties. (Of course, always be sure to check your state requirements before taking on any new duties in the office.) As you grow in experience, you’re likely to be compensated accordingly.

Our salary survey shows that CDA certificants who are just starting out in the profession can make nearly $17 per hour, while those with more than 36 years of experience can make over $23 per hour.

How have you grown your dental assisting salary?