Dental Assistant Salary in California, CA

Being a dental assistant is a rewarding career, and is the fastest way to get your foot into the health care field. The dental assistant’s salary in California will depend on various factors like the population of the area, competitiveness of the market, and the living standards of the area. In this article, we’ll explore how much a dental assistant can make in California, and the factors determining this.

The Kinds of Dental Assistants in California

There are different levels of being a dental assistant depending on certifications and school a person has completed. California does have a high demand for dental assistants, but also is demanding with what they require to become a DA. Let’s look at the different categories of dental assistants:

  • Unlicensed Dental Assistant
  • Registered Dental Assistant
  • Registered Dental Assistant in extended functions
  • Nationally Certified Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant Salary in CaliforniaYour salary will depend on which category you are in here. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics at in 2012, California has the most dental assistants by far in America. There are $43,470 total with the second largest amount in Texas with $22,720. This means there are many opportunities in California, also there are over 50 accredited dental schools in California. The number of new DA jobs projected to be created from 2010-2020 is 5,300.


Average Dental Assistant Salaries in CA

dental assistant



Dental Assistants make an average of $36,660 annually in California, with the top end of the spectrum around $45,000, and the lower end around $26,800. Whether your at the top end of the spectrum or the lower depends on the list above. There is rapid advancement available, and if this is a career choice you can become Nationally Certified and be on the top end of the pay scale.

Dental Assistants (SOC code 319091) Salary in CA

Area name
Employment Number
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Salinas, CA41017.9337300
Chico, CAn/a16.6034530
El Centro, CA12018.2437940
Fresno, CA80016.4734250
Hanford-Corcoran, CA16019.8841340
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division1034016.8535050
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA1534017.0935550
Madera-Chowchilla, CA12019.2039940
Merced, CA19015.2931810
Modesto, CA55016.2933880
Napa, CAn/a18.5738630
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Division298019.1639840
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA100015.9333140
Redding, CA21017.1635700
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA456015.8032870
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA284017.8237060
Bakersfield-Delano, CA81014.0529210
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA325018.0237480
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA530020.7243100
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division232022.7347280
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA276018.3138090
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA32017.9837390
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA Metropolitan Division500017.5936590
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA52016.2533800
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA38017.4736340
Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA61021.3344360
Stockton, CA65015.8532970
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA61020.6242890
Visalia-Porterville, CA45016.7634860
Yuba City, CA14017.0135380
Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area18020.0741750
North Coast Region of California nonmetropolitan area40017.4336250
North Valley Region of California nonmetropolitan area5016.8735100
Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area21018.4738410

How to Get Paid More as a DA in California

Becoming better trained and more useful as a DA, will result in you making more money. These factors may influence which direction you take when starting out. The difference between the spectrum of salaries is around nearly $20,000, so choosing the best path to optimize your salary is key. Here are some of the requirements needed for each level, but remember this is only an overview.

While in other states an unlicensed DA can start out with on-the-job training, in California an unlicensed DA will have to show proof of completing a course approved by the California Dental Board, which adheres to the California Dental Practice Act. The DA will also have to take a course in infection control approved by the CDB, and a course in hands-on simulated clinical scenarios approved by either the AAA or ARC.

Become a Dental Assistant in CA

To become a registered dental assistant you’ll have to complete a RDA program approved by the CDB and complete 15 months of on-the-job training. You’ll have to take various other courses and then apply for a license as an RDA with the Dental Board of California. To become Nationally Certified you’ll have to graduate from an accredited DA program and then take the DANB exam.

California’s Best and Worst Paying Locations

California is such a large state, so which areas are the best for DA’s salaries? One of the highest paying areas is in Anaheim, where the average DA makes $37, 231, also in Petaluma where the average is $36,626. Some of the worst salary averages were in Bakersfield, with an average of $34, 912, and Sacramento with $35,315. Mostly though, the averages are very close throughout the state, so money doesn’t need to be the determining factor. Compared to other states California is about average, the top average for salaries being in New Hampshire, where a DA makes an average of $43,480.

As you can see a dental assistant salary in California depends on the many different factors we’ve gone over here. The field is growing and it remains the quickest and easiest way to get your foot into the health field. The benefits of being a DA are great, and the pay can be great too, if your willing to grow with the job over time. Dental assistants are a vital job for the dental industry, and California has the greatest need and demand for them.

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it. From the moment you enter ourschool, to graduation and beyond, we are right there with you.


  • Dental Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
  • Medical Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
Locations: Encino
Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process. Here at NCC we understand the importance of education, and that the healthcare industry is in constant need of trained professionals. Our short term allied health programs will give you the skills and the knowledge to become a part of the exciting healthcare field. In addition to providing career training, we offer our graduates employment assistance. At NCC you are not just a student; you are part of a community that includes faculty with industry specific experience and administrators committed to education, and your success in your career objectives.


  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
Locations: Panorama City

Why Brightwood?

Real-World Training

We keep education relevant by employing instructors with real-world experience in the field, who bring their career backgrounds to the classroom. Our programs are continually assessed by faculty, staff and members of the business and education communities to help ensure your studies align with your career goals. Programs offered by Brightwood College focus on local employment needs, in areas such as allied health, nursing and technical and professional programs.


  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
Locations: San Diego
Successful careers begin at the Milan Institute. We offer quality hands-on training, experienced faculty and a staff committed to helping you realize your goals.


  • Registered Dental Assistant
  • Administrative Medical Assistant
  • Medical Assisting
Locations: Visalia

Unitek College – About Us

Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. Your training at Unitek College will position you to take advantage of the rising demand for experts in allied health, nursing, and technology professions. Our programs include Medical Assisting, Pharmacy Technician, Dental Assisting, Vocational Nursing, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing: RN-to-BSN Degree Completion.


  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Assisting
Locations: Sacramento
  • Works closely with an advisory board from the medical community to ensure that their curriculum, equipment and instruction are current and relevant.
  • Offers special tuition pricing for Veterans, Active Duty Military and spouses/qualifying dependents of all Active Duty, National Guard and Reserves.
  • ABHES-accredited:  An  advantage upon graduation
  • Short-term education:  Programs range from 10 months to 2 years
  • Blackboard Learn mobile allows students to complete assignments on the go.


  • Diploma - Medical Administrative Assistant
  • A.S. - Healthcare Technology and Systems
  • Diploma - Healthcare Technology and Systems
Turn your talents into a career. Nationally recognized and accredited Platt College offers degree programs in Graphic Design, Multimedia, IT Networking and Paralegal.


  • Medical Assisting
Locations: Alhambra

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started


Congratulations! Your interest in California College San Diego is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a new career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.


  • Medical Specialties (AOS)
Locations: National City

You can prepare for a new career with help from Charter College. Our accelerated Associates Degree, and Certificate programs are designed to help you complete your education as quickly as possible. We offer year-round classes and flexible scheduling - study anytime from anywhere. We provide students not only with the technical skills necessary for success, but also job search and placement assistance so you can find new opportunities after graduation.


  • Certificate - Medical Assistant
Locations: Oxnard

Do you want to start working toward a career that actually makes you excited? If so, an education from West Coast University (WCU) could be the perfect choice for you! This accredited, private University has a history that dates back over 100 years. Today, WCU offers health care degrees that will help prepare you and educate you on the current trends and issues within the health industry.


  • Bachelor Degree in Dental Hygiene
Locations: Anaheim

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