A Dental Assistant's Salary: The Determining Factors
By Colin McLean
There are a number of factors that can affect one's dental assistant salary, like being employed in an area where competitive salaries are offered, or living and practicing in an area with a high cost of living.
Employment venues such as dental offices, physician offices, and jobs at the federal, state or local government level can also affect the size of a dental assistant's paycheck.
The Significance of a Dental Assistant Certification
Dental assistants should also take into consideration the impact that becoming a certified dental assistant (CDA) can have on earnings potential. The Dental Assistant National Board (DANB) is recognized as the national certification board for dental assistants. Their mission is to promote the common good by providing a high standard of credentialing services to the dental community. This is accomplished by creating dental assistant exams and recertification requirements.
Certification means that an individual has met the educational requirements and experiences established by the DANB. It also means that an individual continues to maintain his or her credentials by meeting the recertification (CEU's) requirements called for by the DANB.
Career Mobility Can Often Lead to Salary Increases
The DANB serves to enhance dental assistant career mobility for professionals looking to climb the career ladder. However, not all states require certification. Expanded functions for dental assistants, which can lead to promotions, assignments requiring more responsibility, greater job satisfaction and increased wages (career mobility factors) are quite often the result of dental assistants possessing a certification.
Employer Benefits in Hiring a Certified Dental Assistant
Employers know that a certification implies that dental assistants are wiling to take an extra step in the pursuit of excellence. Additionally, a stronger dental team can be built around certified dental assistants.
Patients may develop an elevated sense of comfort and confidence knowing members of the dental team have a high level of competence. Certified dental assistants may also fit into the category of being life-long learners willing to expand their knowledge and skills to keep pace with a dynamic and evolving industry.
One of the greatest factors that can affect one's dental assistant salary, in a positive way, is being seen as vital to a dental office's operations.