Dental Assistant

Average Dental Assistant Salary Nationwide


Overview and Basic Information


Dental assistants are key to the life of a dental office. From taking care of patients to handling clerical duties, dental assistants are the heroes in the office who do it all. Those who make a career as a dental assistant enjoy a fun profession that offers something new every day.

Example dental assistant job description

Our busy family dental office is seeking an organized and detail-oriented individual to fill the open role of dental assistant. The dental assistant is responsible for getting treatment rooms ready for patients, cleaning dental tools and keeping a clean office environment. Dental assistants also play a primary role in making patients feel welcomed and comfortable before their treatments. If you are a go-getter who enjoys a lively office environment and helping people smile brighter, this job is for you! 

Typical duties include:

  • Maintain patient records by taking dental histories and medical histories

  • Take and monitor vital signs during dental treatment

  • Assist the dentist with patient care during cleanings, orthodontic treatments and oral surgeries.

  • Assist the dental hygienist in providing care to the patients' teeth

  • Assist the office manager in scheduling appointments and answering phones

  • Apply topical anesthetic and sealants during dental procedures. 

  • Maintain a clean treatment room and welcome area

  • Follow sanitation guidelines and sterilize dental instruments

  • Take dental x-rays

  • Give instructions on proper dental care, oral hygiene practices and postoperative instructions

  • Provide comfort to nervous patients

  • Answer telephones and schedule appointments as needed

  • Maintain inventory of dental supplies and place orders


  • High school diploma or GED

  • Current Certified Dental Assistant certificate endorsed by the American Dental Association

  • Communication skills

  • Organizational skills

  • Interpersonal skills 

  • Proven bedside manner

  • Customer service skills

  • Knowledge of dental tools

  • Basic computer and technology skills

Preferred qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree

  • Previous experience in a dental office

Common questions about dental assistant jobs

How much does a dental assistant make?

Dental assistants enjoy both part-time and full-time jobs while earning an average of $18.59 per hour. 

What are the education requirements?

All dental assistants are required to hold a high school diploma or GED. Most states also require a Dental Assistant Certification and some employers prefer a Bachelor’s degree. 

Career paths for dental assistants

It is common for dental assistants use their role as a way to get started in the dental field. Many dental assistants advance to dental hygienists or dentists in the future. 

The future of dental assistants

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the future for dental assistants looks great! Over the next ten years, dental assistant positions are expected to grow up to 11%, which is much faster than the average job.

Are you interested in Hiring a Dental Assistant

Post jobs, find employees and manage your workforce with Snagajob