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Dental Assistant Or Medical Assistant: Who Makes More?


If you’re choosing between a career in medical assisting or a dental assisting, pay may be the deciding factor. Dive into the salaries of each career for a better understanding of what will work best for you.

How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?

Medical assistants play a crucial role in the office by assisting physicians on both the clinical side and the administrative side. This challenging role will leave you feeling fulfilled and rewarded by helping to make a difference in your community.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual pay in 2019 was $35,720. Seasoned medical assistants can make significantly more, with the top 10% earning $47,250 on average (bls.gov). It’s also important to remember that your salary will likely be determined by the type of environment you work in and the location of your work.

By specializing in a specific area, medical assistants have the opportunity to make even more. This opportunity may open doors to not only better pay, but also new and exciting challenges and rewarding responsibilities.

It's also good to note that at this point, the medical assisting career field appears to have a promising future with a projected growth of 23% between now and 2028 (bls.gov). This growth leaves medical assistants with a peace of mind, knowing that their services will be needed in the upcoming years. Overall, medical assisting is a great option for someone looking for stability, opportunity for advancement, and a decent salary.

Interested in learning more about becoming a medical assistant? Click here to find medical assistant training near you.

How Much Do Dental Assistants Make?

Dental assisting is a stable career with a high projected growth in the upcoming years. Not only is dental assisting ranked as one of the best healthcare support jobs, but it also pays higher than medical assisting on average. The average dental assistant makes $41,170 per year as of 2019. (bls.gov). Compared to the average medical assistant salary, that’s an extra $5,450 per year or $454 per month that could be put into savings, used for vacations, emergency funds, etc.

Like medical assisting, dental assisting gives you the opportunity to specialize in a particular area. By doing so, you will open yourself to new opportunities which would likely lead to higher pay. In addition to having the ability to specialize, it will also be nice to know that dental assisting is expected to see a high growth rate in the upcoming years. BLS reports an expected growth rate of 11% between now and 2028, much faster than average.

When deciding what type of workplace that you're interested in, it’s important to take into consideration that different types of workplaces have different average salaries for dental assistants. For example, a dental assistant working in a government setting makes an average of $3,520 more than dental assistants do that work in physician office settings. Additionally, with more experience comes a higher salary. The top 10% of dental assistants make $54,800, likely with years of experience and dedication.

Bottom Line

While dental assistants make more than medical assistants, your passion and personal preference should be what makes the final decision for you. Although the setting of each career is quite different, they’re similar in the fact that both are essential to keep offices running smoothly. A unique set of challenges and opportunities will be presented to you in either career, making each day different from the last. Both medical assisting and dental assisting will leave you feeling fulfilled knowing that you’ve made a positive impact in both healthcare and the community.

Interested in finding a dental assistant training? Find a school near you.

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