DANB certification leads to higher pay and greater job satisfaction for dental assistants

Smiling dental assistant in front of shelf with supplies

The results of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) 2018-2019 Dental Assistants Salary and Satisfaction Survey are now available. Once again, the results of the latest survey point to many benefits of holding DANB certification — including higher earnings, greater job satisfaction, and more personal and professional benefits. 

Higher earnings and more raises

According to survey results, dental assistants who hold DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant™ (CDA®) certification reported earning $2 more per hour compared to all dental assistants, most of whom are not DANB-certified. Nationally, dental assistants who hold CDA certification earned a median hourly wage of $20.76 compared to $18.59*, the median hourly wage of all dental assistants.

Additionally, the survey shows that CDA certification is tied to income growth — as 68% of CDA certificants reported receiving a raise in their current position, compared to the 52% of non-certified assistants who received a raise.

“As a result of renewing my certification, I was promoted to lead assistant and given a significant raise,” one CDA certificant said.

Greater satisfaction

CDA certificants also reported high or very high job satisfaction (82%), compared with those who are not certified (75%). Additionally, CDA certificants were more likely to agree or strongly agree that dental assisting is a career, not just a job – this sentiment was reported by 88% of CDA certificants vs. 83% of non-certified assistants.

“Having a DANB certification is not only for personal satisfaction, but it is also a determinant in how you are perceived and received in the dental community,” one CDA certificant said. “It opens doors and moves you to the top of the list when applying for jobs.”

Higher satisfaction is also seen in the relationship with their employer. When dental assistants were asked if they feel valued by their employer, 60% of those who hold CDA certification agreed or strongly agreed, compared to 58% of non-certified assistants.

The survey also identified a link between job satisfaction and pay: CDA certificants with very high job satisfaction reported the highest salaries, earning $5 more per hour than those with very low job satisfaction.

“Dental assistants deserve respect and fair pay — dental assisting is a career!” said one CDA certificant.

More personal and professional benefits

Along with increased pay and higher job satisfaction, the survey revealed numerous personal benefits to holding CDA certification, including pride, self-improvement, increased knowledge, higher pay, standing out when applying for jobs, and greater confidence. 

CDA certificants also reported receiving professional benefits, such as paid vacation (88%), paid holidays (84%) and retirement plans (70%).

All of these factors could be why CDA certificants are committed to the profession and believe in the value of certification. In fact, 99% of those surveyed said they plan to renew their DANB certification, and 93% said they would encourage others to earn certification.

“My advice to new or current dental assistants is to make earning DANB certification a goal for yourself because you never know where you might end up,” one CDA certificant shares. “Opportunities happen and if you hold DANB certification, you are likely to have more success in your dental assisting career because you hold a national certification and stand apart from the rest.”

To learn more, visit http://danbcertified.org

*Figure from the 2018 Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Results are based on a 14% total response rate from a stratified random sample of more than 6,000 CDA certificants and more than 4,000 non-certified dental assistants who passed DANB’s RHS, ICE or CP exam. The consistency of data from 2001 to present supports the conclusion that these results are representative of the population.