New data reveal dental assistant workforce trends

Dental assistants group

The latest research from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) uncovers new insights about the dental assistant workforce. DANB’s Dental Assistants Salary and Satisfaction Survey contains in-depth data on dental assistant pay, workplace satisfaction, and employer loyalty. The report also features year-over-year comparisons, highlighting trends in the dental assistant workforce outlook.

The new data are timelier than ever, given the critical shortage of dental assistants across the country. The findings in DANB’s 2022 Dental Assistants Salary and Satisfaction Survey can serve as a valuable guide for dental practices on how to create an environment that attracts and retains quality dental assistants.

Download the report

Report highlights

There are several key findings from the report:

  • Although about two-thirds of dental assistants reported being satisfied with their job, satisfaction levels have declined in recent years.
  • There is room for improvement in workplace recognition and appreciation, as just over half of dental assistants said they felt valued by their employer.
  • Nearly one in five dental assistants reported changing jobs within the last year, with the top reasons being better pay, feeling underappreciated, and difficult team dynamics.
  • Just over half of surveyed dental assistants received a raise within the last year, with the average increase being $1 to $2 per hour. Most salary increases were offered as part of a regular review or for outstanding performance.
  • DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification benefits both the dental assistants who hold it and the dental practices who employ them. CDAs personally valued their certification and said it brought them greater pride, higher confidence and increased knowledge. Compared to dental assistants who are not certified, CDAs reported higher job satisfaction, had greater employer loyalty, and were more likely to view dental assisting as a career.

The research results indicate several strategies to attract and retain skilled dental assistants. Dental practices should consider supporting dental assistants in pursuing additional training and education, encouraging them to earn certification and other credentials, offering bonuses or raises for earning credentials, and fostering an overall culture of recognition and appreciation.

Download the report.

About DANB and the survey

DANB is recognized by the American Dental Association as the national certifying board for dental assistants. DANB exams and certifications are recognized or required by 38 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs. DANB’s Dental Assistants Salary and Satisfaction Survey is one of the most comprehensive, longitudinal studies on dental assistant workplace compensation, benefits, and satisfaction. The findings in the 2022 report are based on a 7% total response rate from survey invitations sent to more than 58,000 dental assistants.