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The 12 best states for young dental assistants

Sept. 18, 2012
A few weeks ago, I was given an assignment to determine the best states for young dental hygienists and assistants to live and work.

September 24, 2012

A few weeks ago, I was given an assignment to determine the best states for young dental hygienists and assistants to live and work. I took older articles from the DentistryIQ site that centered on the best states for those professionals, then I compared them to lists from other websites such as Huffington Post and CNN regarding the best places for young people to live. Points were assigned in a very complicated process that ended up being simplified into a small table that we included with each article, and we got some very unexpected answers from the method. For instance, Utah came out to be the best state for a young dental assistant to live. As Mark Hartley said in one of the best statesarticles: “We, uh, didn’t check for the proximity of beaches or ultra-cool nightclubs in this ranking.”

This time, my method for determining the most fun states to live in as a young dental assistant was anything but scientific. That’s the honest truth, and I can say it and hope that The Editors Across the Office agree with my unconventional and unexplainable ways and publish this because, well, “fun” isn’t really scientific, is it?

That’s my logic and I’m sticking to it.

Besides, when you get really scientific, you have North Dakota, Iowa and Utah topping your list, and you know what those states spell? Probably many things, but not F-U-N.

Anyway, some people around the internethave made some claims about fun places for young adults andyoung professionals to live, and someone also made some claims aboutcities with cultureto brag about. So I took their claims and combined them with our claims into this little snowball of an unscientific conglomerate and made a nice little list. I took the top cities for young professionals (in terms of having a social life) and listed them under our top states for dental assistants.

Let’s get started.



We ranked Minnesota third for one category on our list for dental assistants: salary. That is in consideration of the cost of living as well, so things look good there for earners in the dental assisting field. What makes Minnesota really special for you young dental professionals is that many of their cities are ranked on the Top 100 list, but Minneapolis/St. Paul ranked eighth as the best city for young professionals and 15th for culture. Travel + Leisure ranked the cities high in terms of cleanliness (of the city), intelligence (of the people), parks, safety, and theater. This is good news for you hygiene-aware, intelligent, outdoorsy, and culturally-sensitive professionals. Not surprisingly, they sank to the bottom in terms of people having a good Valentine’s Day (men can be so sensitive if you don’t send them roses), a bad Spring Break (could it be the freezing northern temperatures?) and – a big one – winter. It got last place for winter. So, ya know, bring a coat I guess.



You’re already thinking Boston and I haven’t even written anything yet. We ranked Massachusetts as fourth for salary, and it’s in the top of every list I’ve come across because of the city of Boston. Seems it has a lot to offer by way of sports and patriotism. Whether you drink beer or tea, you’ll have plenty to do in this city, as it ranks fifth for historical sites and monuments and third for classical music, to please all of you high-brow DIQ readers. Its people are the third most intelligent and there are tons of young, single people with whom you can visit at all hours of the day and night, because it’s also one of the safest cities. Just don’t go there for barbeque, as it ranks 34th. What else is bad about Boston? The drivers and the winter. You know what to do about winter from Minnesota. My advice on driving? Take public transportation. My mother’s advice? Be a defensive driver.



Let’s move West for a moment. Washington was ranked sixth for salary on our list, and the city of Seattle is an appetizing option for many a young person. Good thing you don’t have to work in a coffee shop like the rest of the unemployed 20-somethings out there and you can enjoy what the city has to offer. And what is that, you ask? Well, coffee, obviously. Also, intelligent people, a tech-savvy and athletic populous, and an exciting, cultural environment. People say the fall and winter are no good, but that’s probably why they have such good coffee there. They also say that the barbecue is sub-par (I’m honestly not sure how barbecue is a consideration, but it’s not bumping my home state of Oklahoma up any), but it doesn’t really go with coffee anyway.



Colorado received 10th place for salary ranking, which is great considering the low cost of living in most of its cities, especially Denver. You can rent a one-bedroom in a trendy area for around $700 a month and have all of your amenities, and probably a park, within walking distance. Denver is the 10th best for young professionals, 18th for culture, and fifth for young adults. Its other bragging rights? Well, 300 days of sun a year can’t be beat, but Denver also was ranked the most pet-friendly city with the most athletic residents and the best microbrews. And don’t fret – if Denver isn’t your scene (those pesky mountains to the West can be so pretentious), many other Colorado cities ranked in the Top 100.



What do we know about North Carolina right now? That its capital of Raleigh ranked second on Forbes’ list of Best Places for Business and Careers, and first for the Most Wired and Safest cities. Those are pretty good factors already. Now, consider that we ranked it 13th for salary, and it’s listed as the 17th best city for young professionals. Greensboro comes in close behind at number four for Business and Careers and as the 32nd best city for young professionals. Looking for theater and arts? Greensboro is your haven in North Carolina. Several more cities from this state are listed in the Top 100 cities, so take a few road trips while you’re there and give yourself plenty of options when you start considering a life in North Carolina. Also, if you’ve been missing barbecue on this list, it’s not stated in any polls I’ve come across, but I’m pretty sure that North Carolina can sate your appetite in that area.



We ranked California as the 14th best state for a dental assistant salary, which should be music to your ears, because many of its cities ranked low for affordability. Now that we have that ugly aspect out of the way, let’s discuss how great it is. Many California cities ranked in the Top 100 list, but the ones that did particularly well for young people and offer a great variety of cultural experiences are San Francisco, San Diego, and Sacramento, in that order. San Francisco offers a diverse population that is pedestrian friendly, and it houses plenty of fine-dining and ethnic food restaurants to visit when you’re tired from walking (but don’t get barbecue, because like most awesome cities on this list, it’s no good). Not feeling those cold weather states such as Minnesota and Massachusetts? San Diego is ranked number one for weather and Spring Break (take that, Milwaukee/St. Paul!). Not to leave Sacramento out, it ranks as the 35th best city for singles on the Forbes list. There is plenty to do when you’re not working, and many opportunities in this warm, sunny state.



No, we’ve never put D.C. in a ranking before, but I couldn’t possibly leave it out of this one. D.C. is a new Mecca for young people, and it has the stats to prove it: Washington is the fifth best city for young professionals, the third best city for culture, and the fourth best city for young adults. I’m sure there is a Forrest Gump tour you can go on as well, and maybe, like Forrest, you’ll meet three U.S. presidents just for “doing what you’re told.” (Sorry, but it’s a great movie.) D.C. is also fifth best for safety, singles, and being wired, according to Forbes. It’s a great place for museums and historical sites (ranked first and second, respectively), and you don’t need a car to live there, because it’s sixth for public transportation and pedestrian friendliness. What is it lacking as a city? Wild weekends, sports-crazed citizens, and affordability, according to Travel + Leisure. I think you can see that the pros weigh much more than the cons here.



New York made it into the top 20 for our salary list at number 19, and, although New York City is the reason for the state making it on our list, there are four other cities in New York that made the Top 100 ranks in Money magazine. Everyone has an idea of what New York City is – whether you’ve seen that idea realized or not – and this paragraph won’t contradict it. The listing on Forbes is simple: NYC is the best for theater (hello, Broadway!), diversity, style, classical music, and luxury stores. It is the worst of the top 35 cities for peace and quiet, cleanliness, and affordability. (Might I refer you to the original list if you are deterred by these characteristics?) It is the number one city for young professionals and the second best for culture (see number one below). Of course, it’s also great for nightlife, shopping, restaurants, and people watching. Ya know, if you’re into that kind of thing.



Georgia is the 22nd best state for dental assistant salaries, but Atlanta is the third best city for young adults and the 29th best for culture. It has a pretty mild winter as well, so if you aren’t keen on the northern states but have something against the West coast, head to the South for this peachy city. What else has Atlanta got to offer? Well, the food – particularly the barbecue. It’s also a bit more affordable than other cities on this list, but it still boasts a healthy handful of luxury stores, so you don’t have to go all the way to NYC for designer goods if you’re into the Dixie scene. As for America’s Favorite Cities, it’s one of the most dangerous, only beating out Baltimore for the absolute last spot.



Wisconsin is in the middle at number 25 regarding salaries, but it has two cities in particular that make it shine as a beacon for young dental assistants who are itching to move somewhere new and exciting. Madison is ranked as the best city for young adults and is filled with college students and 20-somethings that are a part of the many start-ups in Madison. The culture, when the weather permits, is outdoorsy and culturally-oriented, and there are many exhibits and outdoor activities to choose from when you’re looking. Milwaukee is the 20th best city for young professionals and the second safest city on the Forbes list. It’s also the ninth best for singles, so get ready to mingle! It’s known as the City of Festivals, so if you’re like me and you’re into walking around and eating weird foods that you can only eat at festivals, Milwaukee just might be the place for you.



If you’ve been waiting since New York to see which city is number one for culture, wait no longer. Philadelphia is here to entertain you and exceed every one of your culturally-attuned expectations – and more! Perhaps you are into eating food and walking around, but you either hate festivals or you just can’t wait for them to come around. Worry not, for Philly comes in second place for street food. Yes, that’s a category, and yes, it’s more important than barbecue. The city also comes in first for “sports-crazed” citizens, which means you’ll never have to cheer on a team alone. Maybe you’re a little more sophisticated and street food and sports aren’t your thing: might I interest you in a tour of some historical monuments and then invite you to a classical concert? Because Travel + Leisure says Philly is the best city for that. I know I’ve painted a nice picture so far, so let me be fair: Philly got low scores for friendliness, cleanliness, and safety. But hey: street food. Not into the potential danger of city living? There are three other Pennsylvanian cities that are in the Top 100, so look around!



No, Texas did not make the top 30 for dental assistant salaries. It landed a spot on our list at 38th, but that’s okay, because Texas’ cities are generally more affordable than most cities on this list. Four of its cities ranked as some of the best for young adults and young professionals and offer a plethora of cultural events and after-work activities to keep you busy and entertained in your free time. Austin, named “The Live Music Capital of the World,” is the 11th best city for young professionals and the second best for young adults. It made the culture list at 26, and claims to have some of the best barbecue in the country and the most off-beat, tech-savvy, athletic young people around. Austin claims to be “weird,” which means that there is a lot to do and see in this city. The other three on the young people list were Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. In order to show both sides, I should tell you that it’s not the best place to go for the 4th of July, as it is often over a million degrees in Texas. Also, luxury stores are few and far between in Austin, but you may be able to find more in Dallas. Big city scene not for you? Five other Texas cities made the Top 100 list.

Is your city on this list? Should it be? Go to our Facebook pageand let us know what was a hit and what was a miss. If you have a good enough point, we might just make an edit to this article and give you the credit.

Number of times barbecue was mentioned in this article: 9

Lauren Burns is the editor of Proofs magazine and the email newsletters RDH Graduate and Proofs. She is currently based out of New York City. Follow her on Twitter: @ellekeid.