Dental Assistant Salary Guide and Career Outlook

Dental assistants living in the United States win $31,109 per year, those living in Canada come close with C$38,899 ($31,007) per year, while those from the UK make only £17,810 ($24,148) each year. A dental assistant salary in Australia is a bit higher, about AU$39,960 ($31,460) per year, while in New Zealand it stands at NZ$42,473 ($30,798) per year.

Same professionals working in India barely make Rs 200,000 ($3,144) per year, while those from South Africa win a little bit more, about R82,788 ($6,669) per year. Further, our article will give information on the dental assistant salary in all these different countries and on how experience, industry, and skills impact the pay. Moreover, the benefits of the job and the future prospects of becoming a dental assistant are covered.

Young female smiling at the camera.

How Much Does a Dental Assistant Make per Year by Country?

Dental Assistant  Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Pay $15.36 C$19.87 ($15.84) £8.15 ($11.05) AU$22.25 ($17.52) NZ$19.74 ($14.31) Rs 96.15* ($1.51) R46.99 ($3.79)
Annual Pay $31,109 C$38,899 ($31,007) £17,810 ($24,148) AU$39,960 ($31,460) NZ$42,473 ($30,798) Rs 200,000 ($3,144) R82,788 ($6,669)

* These figures were estimated based on the annual pay, assumed 40 hour work week

Dental Assistant Salary Influencing Factors

Payscale provides meaningful data about the pay in these countries. Limited information was found for dental assistants from India, however, we managed to gather the necessary information in order to cover all we needed. We also gathered information from the BLS.

1. Location

How Much Does a Dental Assistant Make in the US?

Dental Assistant Salary US Per Year Per Hour
Minimum $19,279 $11.02
Maximum $44,814 $20.96
Bonus $3,041 $1.46*
Overtime No additional pay $14.68 to $30.79
Total Pay $22,835 to $44,355

A (*) indicates that the hourly rate was not available and was extrapolated from the annual pay.

How Much Does a Dental Assistant Make in Canada?

Dental Assistant Salary Canada Per Year Per Hour
Minimum C$26,294 C$15.21
Maximum C$57,326 C$26.64
Bonus C$2,349 No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay C$14.85 to C$43.49
Total Pay C$31,269 to C$55,976

How Much Does a Dental Assistant Make in the UK?

Dental Assistant Salary UK Per Year Per Hour
Minimum £14,268 £6.59
Maximum £30,000 £12.11
Bonus £550 No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay £10.00
Total Pay £14,112 to £26,444

How Much Does a Dental Assistant Make in Australia?

Dental Assistant Salary Australia Per Year Per Hour
Minimum AU$21,448 AU$19.26
Maximum AU$55,174 AU$38.85
Bonus AU$2,027 No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay AU$19.64 to AU$40.28
Total Pay AU$35,673 to AU$55,925

How Much Does a Dental Assistant Make in New Zealand?

Dental Assistant Salary New Zealand Per Year Per Hour
Minimum NZ$31,579 NZ$16.03
Maximum NZ$63,800 NZ$23.71
Bonus NZ$2,936 No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay NZ$15.57 to NZ$37.10
Total Pay NZ$33,282 to NZ$50,176

How Much Does a Dental Assistant Make in India?

Dental Assistant Salary India Per Year Per Hour
Minimum Rs 96,320 Rs 46.30*
Maximum Rs 494,602 Rs 237.78*
Bonus No additional pay No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay Rs 96,644 to Rs 490,217

The (*) means that the hourly rate was extrapolated from the annual pay.

How Much Does a Dental Assistant Make in South Africa?

Dental Assistant Salary South Africa Per Year Per Hour
Minimum R40,880 R31.32
Maximum R140,694 R87.83
Bonus R10,476 No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay R14.54 to R155
Total Pay R41,525 to R145,349

2. Experience

Beginning dental assistants in Australia make around AU$44,000 per year, while experienced professionals make just about AU$52,000 each year. In Canada, an entry-level dental assistant earn about C$38,000  per year, while employees with more than 20 years on the job can make C$50,000 every year. Dental assistants in New Zealand start off at NZ$39,000 per year and get around NZ$47,000 each year after 20 years experience.

In the United Kingdom, the same professionals start at ₤17,000 per year, only to get a raise up to ₤18,000 yearly after 5-10 years on the job, then the salary goes back to ₤17,000 by the end of their career. In the United States, they experience a consistent growth in salary from $29,000 per year to $40,000 by the end of their career. The pay growth for dental assistants in South Africa is linear from R71,000 per year to R118,000 after 20 years in the field.

3. Industry

The majority of dental assistants in the United States work in dentist offices. In other countries like Australia, dentists can work in the public sector which is under the guidance of the government or in private dental clinics. While in Canada dental care is not covered as part of a health care plan and people need to get their dental care through private dentists.

  • Government – $40,040;
  • Offices of dentists – $36,920;
  • Offices of physicians – $34,750;

There are skills valued more in some countries than others. In the United States, the skills valued are order inventory, periodontics, and oral surgery. In Australia, these skills are radiography, office administration, and reception while sterilization skills do not contribute to an increase in pay. Meanwhile, in Canada, the valued skills are orthodontics, general dentistry, and oral surgery.

Schedule & Working Hours

Dental assistants enjoy a daily schedule that is the same as dental offices. Occasionally, they may work evenings or weekends but this depends on their office. In the United States, 1 in 3 dental assistants worked part-time. Some of the dental assistants that work part-time will work for multiple dental offices to equal full-time hours. Most dental assistants in India work full-time.

Bonuses & Benefits

A dental assistant career is a professional job and will enjoy many of the perks of the position such as vacation time and life insurance. Even though they enjoy less flexibility than their superiors because they are under the direction of the dentist or dental hygienist. However, the majority of dental assistants do not receive full healthcare benefits. This can be seen in the table below.

Country United States Canada United Kingdom Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Medical 35 22 14 2 5 10
Dental 39 43 21 32 39 100 19
Vision 15 12 14 1 2 1

Career Outlook

In the United States, dental assisting is one of the 25 fastest growing occupations, making it an excellent career choice. The highest paying state in the United States is Alaska at $44,560 dollars. The areas in the United States that pay more than average are Seattle, Charlotte, and New York while Los Angeles pays less than average.

In Australia, the valuable locations are Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Perth while those who work in Melbourne do not work in as favorable of a location. The western side of Canada pays more than the eastern side, while in South Africa, dental assistants who work in Cape Town earn less than the median. In India, there are more than 287,200 dental assistants, this number dictates how valuable this job is to dentist offices in India.

Conclusion

Finally, dental assistants earn one of the lowest salaries in dental care. However, they also can begin their career sooner than their colleagues, dentists or hygienists. In addition, they are not responsible for growing a business, coming up with projects, or deciding medical care. The job outlook is extremely positive and there are global opportunities to be a dental assistant in many different countries.

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