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The results of our dental front office staff survey are in!

Jan. 13, 2022
DentalPost conducted the largest and most comprehensive dental front office staff survey, and the results are in. Where do you fall?

From late July through early September 2021, DentalPost and Endeavor Business Media, publisher of Dental Office Manager Digest, partnered to conduct the largest and most comprehensive dental professional salary survey of its kind. From compensation to job turnover, this article will cover some of the key numbers and insights from responding dental office managers, billing specialists, and front desk team members.

Office managers

Four out of five office managers work for private general dental practices. The majority developed their administrative skills while on the job, without formal education in dental practice management.

The vast majority (86%) work in private dental practices, and 67% work in practices with fewer than 11 team members, including clinical staff.

They tend to work long hours.

Among the dental professionals surveyed (dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, office managers, billing specialists, and other front desk staff), office managers and billing specialists reported the longest working hours per week. Additionally, one in five office managers said they also work a side job.

Even though 31% said they work more than 40 hours a week, over half of the responding office managers reported being satisfied with their hours.

The pandemic has increased their responsibilities.

A great percentage (65%) of office managers reported being impacted by additional responsibilities due to the pandemic. Only 25% said they are being compensated for those additional responsibilities.

Most are paid an annual salary.

Private and corporate dental practices compensate their office managers differently. Over half (56%) are paid by the hour in private practices, and a large majority (70%) of those working in corporate practices are paid an annual salary. 

Corporate practices pay more.

The total reported income for office managers working more than 30 hours a week revealed the average income of corporate office managers to be $9,530 more than the average income of private practice office managers.

Most are dissatisfied with their income.

During the last two years, nearly 72% of responding office managers had received a pay raise. Despite this, only 43% are satisfied with their total income.

The number looking for a new job has decreased slightly. 17% looked for a new job last year, and 15% plan to look in the coming year. 12% plan to retire in the next four years, 43% in the next 10 years.

Of the 3% of responding office managers who provided open commentary in their survey responses, we saw a mix of negative and positive experiences, including a desire for higher pay, health benefits, and expressed unhappiness about working in the COVID-19 world.

97.5% of office managers receive employee benefits.

42% of responding office managers reported they receive bonuses, predominantly based on production and overhead.

Billing specialists

One in three responding billing specialists has had medical-dental cross-billing training. Like office managers, they tend to work long hours each week, with 20% working more than 40 hours. The vast majority (88%) are paid hourly, and 82% work in private practices.

Billing specialists reported wages ranging from $13 to $36 per hour. Their average full-time income is $44,500. Their median income is $42,000.

More than 70% had a pay increase in the last two years, and over 40% are dissatisfied with their income. One in three billing specialists plan to seek a new job in the next year.              

Other dental front office team members

One third of front office team members who did not identify themselves as office managers or billing specialists plan to seek a new job in the next year. In open comments, many expressed feeling underpaid and underappreciated. The survey results indicate this group of dental workers may be the most at risk for turnover.

67% received a pay increase in the last two years. They reported wages ranging from $11 to $39 per hour, and an average income of $39,750. Their median income is $43,160, which is similar to the average and median incomes reported by billing specialists. 39% say they are dissatisfied with their income.

Note to employers: Most of those who are dissatisfied with their wage and planning to apply for a new job did not receive a pay raise in the last two years.

For the comprehensive report on all surveyed dental front office positions, please visit dentalpost.net.

About DentalPost

As the largest dental job board in the industry, connecting 900,000 dental employees with 70,000 dental practice employers, DentalPost is uniquely positioned to partner with Dental Office Manager Digest in keeping dental front office managers and their teams informed of the latest data and survey results surrounding compensation, working environments, hiring, and career decisions. Founded in 2005 by registered dental hygienist Tonya Lanthier, DentalPost leads the dental industry in metric-based career matching, including personality tests, work culture preferences, skill matching, and career goal assessments. Learn more about DentalPost and view the comprehensive 2022 Dental Salary Survey Report at dentalpost.net.