How Much Do Dental Assistants Make?

Dental assistant helping a dentist with a young patient

If you want to become a dental assistant, you want to understand more about how much dental assistants make and whether it is a decent salary. Dental assistants’ pay depends on several factors, such as specific responsibilities and roles, location, education, and professional experience.

A typical dental assistant’s salary in the United States is between $36,000 and $54,000 annually. However, this amount can increase or decrease depending on the state in which you work.

How Much Do Dental Assistants Make in CA?

Dental assistants typically make between $37,000 and $60,000 in California annually. The salary of a dental assistant can range so greatly due to a few factors, such as years of experience, skills, education, certifications, and location.

Keep in mind that there are a number of certifications you can obtain to increase your income as a dental assistant.

How Much Do Dental Assistants Make a Month?

A dental assistant’s monthly income can vary depending on the yearly salary. For example, if you are a new dental assistant and earn $37,000 per year, you can expect your monthly wage to be about $3,083.

If you make $45,000 annually, your monthly income should be around $3,750. If you make $60,000 annually as a dental assistant, your monthly income will be approximately $5,000.

Factors That Affect a Dental Assistant’s Salary

These are some of the most critical factors affecting a dental assistant’s salary.


A dental assistant’s salary can fluctuate based on their education. If you earn your dental assistant certificate, you can expect your salary to be higher than if you did not complete the certificate program.

While you can work as a dental assistant without completing your certificate program, your job duties and responsibilities will be minimal, as you will not legally be allowed to perform as many duties. When completing a dental assisting program, you can increase your job opportunities and earn a higher salary.


The area where you live, and work can affect your salary as a dental assistant. When you work in a bigger city as a dental assistant, you typically make more money than in a small town.

According to a DANB survey covering how much dental assistants make an hour, certified dental assistants in large urban areas earn a median hourly wage of $25. In contrast, certified dental assistants in rural areas make a median of $23 per hour. On average, dental assistants in small urban areas earn $20 per hour.


The more experience you gain working as a dental assistant, the more valuable you become to your employer. Therefore, you may earn a higher salary because of your experience. This is the average amount your salary as a dental assistant will increase with more experience:

  • 1 to 2 Years – $20 per hour
  • 3 to 5 Years – $22 per hour
  • 6 to 10 Years – $23.50 per hour
  • 10 Plus Years – $25 per hour

How Much Do Dental Assistants Make? FAQs

These are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding becoming a dental assistant and a dental assistant’s salary.

What is the highest-paid Dental Assistant?

The highest-paid dental assistant typically earns $60,000 per year at most, but that amount can change depending on your location, experience, certifications, and skills. It is essential to remember that it can take a few years to reach that type of income, as the starting salary range is usually around $37.000 annually.

Can you live off a Dental Assistant salary?

You can certainly live off a dental assistant salary. Even if you make $37,000 annually as your salary, it is enough money to cover bills and basic living needs as a single-income household. As your experience as a dental assistant increases, so should your salary, making living off a dental assistant’s salary more manageable.

Is it worth it to be a Dental Assistant?

It is worth it to be a dental assistant, as it is a fulfilling and rewarding career. As a dental assistant, each day is different from the other. This career is fast-paced, exciting, pays well, and offers reliable employment and many career opportunities.


Now that you know how much dental assistants make, you can start your journey to becoming certified.

If you want to become a Dental Assistant, The Howard Health Academy can help you realize your career goals. You can complete our Dental Assistant program in as few as ten months to become eligible to take the state exam.

Learn more about our Dental Assistant Program at The Howard Academy today.

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