Dental Assistants Really Have Something to Smile About.

Recent reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the employment of dental assistants is expected to grow 18 percent in the next decade, which is much faster than the average for all occupations in the United States.

As a vital member of a dentist’s staff, Dental Assistant’s perform a wide variety of tasks including providing patient care, taking X-rays to keeping records and scheduling client appointments.

According to government projections, there should be more than 58,000 new openings for dental assistants up to the year 2024.

The need for dental assistants can be attributed to:

  • Research linking oral health and general health
  • Younger generations visiting the dentist more regularly
  • Expanded health insurance, which has led to more patients

As the need for dental care rises, so does the need for qualified dental assistants. Claudia Pohl, former president of the American Dental Assistant Association, sees an evolution in the field.

“The responsibilities of dental assistants are expanding, partially to facilitate more people getting access to care in this country,” Pohl told U.S. News. “It’s not in patients’ best interests to receive treatment from someone who isn’t fully qualified.”

U.S. News ranks job satisfaction high for the career, with dental assistants saying the stress level is average, work flexibility is above average and the opportunity for advancement and salary increases is high.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median salary for dental assistants at $34,500 per year, but that number varies by region.

A survey on found that most dental assistants report working full time, averaging between 36 and 37 hours per week. They also reported higher salaries if they had more than three years of experience and had worked for the same employer for multiple years.

The Business in 2015 report ranks dental assistant as the 10th top job, with a projected annual growth rate of 25%.