Dental assistants work with dentists in preparing patients for oral examinations. Prior to an oral examination, a dental assistant may sterilise various pieces of equipment and dental devices. A dental assistant may also instruct patients on how to care for their teeth. Dental assistants may also be responsible for preparing moulding compounds for making casts of a patient's teeth. Additionally, dental assistants have certain office duties and paperwork to complete. Dental assistants are often paid by the hour.
Dental assistants earn average hourly wages of £7.30 to £10.60, according to a 2011 survey by a leading salary website. On an annual basis, the hourly wages for dental assistants equate to salaries of £15,250 to $34,145 per year, based on a 40-hour workweek. Dental assistants can also earn overtime, bonuses and profit sharing, which can boost their total income to between £15,774 and £24,265. Comparably, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that dental assistants earn median annual wages of £21,047 per year. Additionally, StateUniversity.com states that the median hourly wages for dental assistants are £8.80 or approximately £18,414 per year, based on a 40-hour workweek.
Years of experience
Dental assistants can earn incremental increases as they gain experience in their field. For example, a dental assistant with less than one year of experience earns between £12,548 and £19,548 in annual salary. After one to four years of experience, a dental assistant can expect to earn an annual salary of £13,043 to £19,369. Dental assistants with five to nine years of experience earn salaries of £14,851 to £21,152 per year. Additionally, dental assistants who have 10 to 19 years of experience earn annual salaries of £15,542 to £23,973. And dental assistants with 20 or more years of experience can earn salaries of £16,342 to £26,625.
Type of employer
A dental assistant's salary can also vary considerably depending on her type of employer. For example, dental assistants tend to earn the highest annual salaries working for hospitals at £18,838 to £26,451 per year. The federal government also pays dental assistants higher annual salaries at £15,512 to £26,451. The annual salaries for dental assistants are less at private practices and non-profit organisations: £14,459 to £22,371 and £15,110 to £22,993, respectively.
Salary by state
Dental assistants also earn more in some states than others. In California, a dental assistant can earn a salary of £13,796 to £26,451 per year, according to a leading salary website. In New York, dental assistants earn £18,928 to £24,638. Dental assistants in Illinois earn annual salaries between £16,098 to £23,279. And dental assistants in Georgia earn salaries between £14,287 and £22,577 per year. Dental assistants tend to make the lowest annual salaries in Oklahoma at £11,496 to £16,882.