4 factors affecting which jobs dental assistants take

2020 03 06 00 15 1617 Rixse Robynn2 20200306001056

Earlier in March, Dental Assistant Recognition Week began to bring attention to the contributions that dental assistants make each day. But, how do you get those dental assistants who are willing to go above and beyond for your practice each day?

Find out what job factors matter the most when dental assistants are considering positions, and adjust accordingly to land the best and the brightest.

The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) did the work for you. The board's 2018-2019 Dental Assistants Salary and Satisfaction Survey, which included responses from about 1,500 dental assistants in the U.S., identified four personal and professional factors that are most important when they are deciding on which jobs to take. Check out those factors here:

1. Salary

Robynn Rixse.Robynn Rixse.

The average dental assistant's salary as of February 26, 2020, was $37,913, according to salary.com. Wages for dental assistants can be quite diverse from state to state and office to office. Experience, education level, the number of available candidates, and the number of other offices in the area hiring can influence salary. A shortage of qualified dental assistants in specific areas can help increase the hourly rate for dental assistants there.

Studies show that Minnesota; Washington, DC; New Hampshire; Alaska; and North Dakota are the top five states and districts when it comes to providing the best pay to dental assistants.

Nevertheless, dental assistants across the U.S. have voiced their concerns that what they bring to their teams isn't reflected in their incomes. It is important for assistants to remember that these positions have other benefits that increase the value tally of that job.

2. Work/life balance

Dental assistants have opportunities to achieve better work/life balance, which was ranked No. 8 out of 10 by U.S. News and World Report, than other positions. For instance, those who work in retail often must work nights and weekends. Not having to work those schedules is a definite benefit of working as a dental assistant, especially for those who have a family. This was a major contributing factor for me to join the profession 30 years ago.

3. Insurance benefits

Insurance benefits are listed as one of the top five job factors considered important by dental assistants, but not every office provides this benefit. For those offices that recognize the value a dental assistant can bring to the office and want to stand out in both the recruitment and retention of qualified candidates, offering this benefit would be a great way to show it.

4. Feeling like a valuable member of the team

Placing a monetary value on feeling like you are part of the team may be difficult, but it's invaluable to dental assistants. Saying thank you and showing assistants that your practice is a "we" and not an "I" workplace should never be discounted.

Everyone in the practice, including dental assistants, want to know that they play an important role in delivering optimal levels of dental care to patients.

Knowing what factors matter to dental assistants creates a win-win situation. Dental practices add to their skilled teams and assistants get recognition, benefits, and support they seek.

Robynn Rixse, CDA, EFDA, MADAA, is the current president of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA).

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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