If you are considering becoming a dental assistant, you may be curious to know just how the dental assistant salary stacks up by state. There are a number of factors which can cause variances in the dental assistant salary from one state to the next. The lading factors that influence the state by state salaries are the cost of living within a state and, perhaps more importantly, the demand for dental assistants in a particular area.
The dental assisting field is unique in that there are many areas of the country where the demand for dental assistants is exceeding the number of qualified candidates in the labor force. There have been many speculations from experts in the industry as to why this is occurring (one of which is that the dental assistant salary is not sufficient to entice people to enter the field). Nonetheless, this trend is causing some interesting salary trends in certain parts of the country. Generally, states with very high costs of living are where the highest salary levels are found within any profession, however, for dental assistants, the shortage of qualified candidates is causing the biggest pay increases.
In 2008, for example, the states where the dental assistant salary was the highest turned out to be:
New Hampshire $40,000
The interesting thing to note here is that none of these states have extremely high costs of living. The major factor influencing the dental assistant salary in these states is simply a shortage of dental assistants.
Cost of Living
Some states throughout the US are known for their high cost of living and this generally has a major impact on the dental assistant salary. When the cost of things like housing and food is high, employers must pay higher wages in order to attract qualified job candidates. What we found to be particularly interesting here is that the state with the highest cost of living, California, has a median dental assistant salary of only around $34,000. This is far below the top paying state, Alaska. This trend seems to imply that the state of California has a surplus of dental assistants relative to its cost of living index. This trend is not unique to California, either.
If you are considering becoming a dental assistant, be sure to conduct thorough research on the dental assistant salary in your own state to gain a better idea of what you might expect to earn in this profession.