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The final look at the 2011 Dental Assisting Digest salary survey

Jan. 18, 2012
Here’s a look at what you told us during the annual DAD salary survey. We had 419 responses. Thank you all for your input!
Click here to see how this year's answers compared to last year's responses.Also, here are some of your comments …Certification should be mandatory for every state. Employment opportunities in the field are numerous, and the role of the dental assistant is becoming more technical, allowing DAs to function at a higher level than in the past. Great advancements are in place for the profession.Lack of effective leadership, appreciation, respect, and education of dental assistants is the current state and future downfall of our profession.There needs to be legislation to make it mandatory for dental assistants to be trained in every state. This would be beneficial to the assistant and the doctor! The nature of the job lends itself to this being a necessity. I don't understand why there are states that have not done this. If someone could enlighten me on this subject I would appreciate it! Having worked in the field for many years now, I have seen in numerous cases why this is necessary, and yet no one seems to know why our state does not make it a requirement to be certified.Assistants should treat their job as a profession. We should continue to learn as much as we can to remain valuable as members of our team and to stay interested in the profession.Go into a different profession because assisting does not pay what it should.If someone wants to be a dental assistant and they apply themselves, they can make a very good living.I like my job but it does not have a long-term future for an increase in wages. I've been a certified assistant for over 25 years and it is depressing how financially I am at the top of my wage level. Dental assistants work very hard most days, probably the hardest in the office, and are paid the least. In my experience the dental assistant is treated as the peon. The dentist is the dentist, the hygienist is the queen because she "produces," the office person can make or break appointments so she must be kept happy, but the assistant is just the assistant.I hope that dentists will continue to appreciate the value of skilled dental assistants on the financial viability of dental practices. It has been my good fortune to work for several docs who recognized my value to their practice and compensated me appropriately. Unfortunately, the current economic conditions make those opportunities few and far between.Dental assisting is evolving. When trying to elevate the profession to be recognized for its importance to the dental team, there is much inconsistency in education. Some programs train students to become dental assistants in six weeks. This is ludicrous. A yearlong program is pushing it. A minimum of two years across the board should be required to become a dental assistant.Even after 30 years, I still feel like it's a great profession.Not enough young people are coming into the field. There needs to be a national campaign to advertise and make dental assisting more appealing.We need to maintain a professional attitude and work ethic, and maybe someday our profession will be as respected as it should be.