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
Your salary will depend on which category you are in here. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics at bls.gov 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
|In USD as of Jan 4, 2014||
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
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
|El Centro, CA||120||18.24||37940|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division||10340||16.85||35050|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||15340||17.09||35550|
|Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Division||2980||19.16||39840|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||1000||15.93||33140|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||4560||15.80||32870|
|San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA||3250||18.02||37480|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||5300||20.72||43100|
|San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division||2320||22.73||47280|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||2760||18.31||38090|
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA||320||17.98||37390|
|Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA Metropolitan Division||5000||17.59||36590|
|Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA||520||16.25||33800|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||380||17.47||36340|
|Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA||610||21.33||44360|
|Yuba City, CA||140||17.01||35380|
|Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area||180||20.07||41750|
|North Coast Region of California nonmetropolitan area||400||17.43||36250|
|North Valley Region of California nonmetropolitan area||50||16.87||35100|
|Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area||210||18.47||38410|
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.
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