DANB CDAs Earn More, According to Salary Survey

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CHICAGO (Dec. 15, 2010) – The Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) has just published the results of its biennial salary survey. DANB’s 2010 Salary Survey shows that DANB Certified Dental Assistants (CDA) continue to earn more and stay in the profession longer than non-certified assistants. DANB’s results are based on a 17 percent response rate to its survey of a national sample of CDAs. DANB targeted a 10 percent response rate to be able to generalize results to the full CDA population.

According to the survey, DANB CDAs who work full-time (73 percent) report a median salary of $18.73 per hour, which is up $0.73 from 2008. The median salary for full- and part-time DANB CDAs is $18.50 – $2.04 higher than non-certified assistants, who earn $16.46 per hour, according to adjusted figures from a May 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey.

“I believe DANB Certification has everything to do with my wage,” according to one respondent, who notes she went from making $15 to $19 within the last year. “I believe with the confidence in my knowledge and abilities that I gained from being DANB Certified, I always worked a little harder, pushed a little further, and feel very successful.”

Many DANB Certificants share the results of the salary survey with their employers when asking for a raise. “Thanks to your survey I was able to show it to my dentist and get the recognition I deserved,” one DANB CDA said.

DANB CDAs tend to stay in the profession longer and have more loyalty toward their employers. According to DANB’s 2010 Salary Survey, DANB CDAs have been in their current positions for an average of 8.7 years and in the profession an average of 15.7 years. DANB CDAs increase office efficiency and often take on additional responsibilities such as infection control; laboratory functions; expanded duties, as allowed in their respective states; and providing in-office training to other staff.

DANB Certificants receive benefits such as 401(k)/pension plan (61 percent), free dental care (56 percent), health insurance (54 percent), reimbursement for CDE (52 percent) and reimbursement for certification or state registration renewal (30 percent).

Beyond higher pay, DANB CDAs cited personal benefits to maintaining DANB Certification, including self-gratification (87 percent), pride (78 percent), employer recognition (55 percent), elevating the profession (48 percent), patient respect for credentials (45 percent) and recognition in the dental community (41 percent).

In addition, many DANB Certificants strongly believe in the important role DANB Certification plays in patient safety and public protection. “I would like to see more state dental boards require DANB Certification to practice as a dental assistant in the state in which they live,” one CDA notes.

Although each state has different requirements for dental assistants, earning and maintaining DANB Certification demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning, and is an objective measure of dental assisting knowledge and abilities. There are DANB Certificants in every state, with more than 33,000 DANB Certificants nationwide.

About DANB

DANB is recognized by the American Dental Association as the national certification board for dental assistants. DANB's certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. DANB serves the public by promoting a means of identifying qualified and competent dental assistants and by measuring and promoting excellence in oral healthcare delivery. As a Mark of Dental Assisting Excellence, DANB Certification is a source of pride for those who achieve it. Currently, there are more than 33,000 DANB Certificants nationwide, and DANB Certifications and Certificates of Competency are recognized or required in 38 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs. For those dental assistants who meet the eligibility and exam requirements, DANB Certification may be earned in the areas of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) and/or Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA). In addition to these two national certifications, DANB offers Certificates of Competency in Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) and Infection Control (ICE). The RHS and ICE exams are components of the CDA exam, and ICE is also a component of the COA exam. Individuals may take these components separately in order to earn Certificates of Competency. Passing either or both of these exams demonstrates a dental assistant's competency in these two areas that are important to the health and safety of oral healthcare workers and patients alike.

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