5 steps to asking for a raise

growing stacks of coins

Many dental assistants want to ask for a raise and earn more money, but this can be a difficult conversation to have with your employer. Before you bring up the subject, it’s important to be prepared. The results of DANB's Dental Assistants Salary and Satisfaction Survey point to some strategies to successfully ask for and receive a raise.

1. Know your state requirements

The first step is to look up the dental assisting requirements in your state so you can learn about the available dental assisting job titles and what duties dental assistants are allowed (or not allowed) to perform. DANB’s search-by-state map makes it easy to look up this information for any state.

2. Earn credentials

The next step is to earn the credentials recognized or required in your state. If your state allows dental assistants to perform expanded functions, you can boost your career outlook by earning this designation. Each state might have a different title for this level of dental assistant. Some states have an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA) designation, for example, while other states might have a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) or RDA in Expanded Functions (RDAEF) designation. Other states might give this role another name. Aim to hold the highest title available in your state.

Most states recognize or require DANB exams and certification as one of the steps to earning a state credential. Earning DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification can help you take your career to the next level.

DANB’s salary survey results show that those who hold DANB certification and a state EFDA credential asked for and received raises more often than those without any credentials. And dental assistants with credentials were more likely to receive a raise without asking. To maximize your potential salary, earn DANB certification and any state credentials you can — the numbers show that it pays off!

3. Demonstrate your value

If you want to ask for a raise, you’ll want to show your employer why you deserve one. A good place to start is by taking notes on all the ways you help the practice run smoothly and how the duties you perform impact patient care and practice profitability. Keep this list updated and add to it as your responsibilities grow. Offer to do what is required to perform additional duties allowed in your state. Or ask your employer for assistance in getting you ready to help the practice in this way. When you’re ready, you can share this with your employer.

4. Do your salary research

DANB’s salary survey report includes useful information about how much dental assistants who hold CDA certification earn based on their credentials, experience, and location. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics also publishes dental assistant salary information for all dental assistants; this is a good resource if you do not hold CDA certification. You can use this data to prepare a raise request that you think is fair based on state or national averages.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask

Often, just starting a dialogue with your employer can get the ball rolling on your raise request. Even if you're not sure they'll give you a pay increase, go ahead and prepare your case for why you believe you deserve a salary increase and bring this information to your employer. Chances are good that your request will at least be considered!

Learn more: How to approach your employer about a raise