DANB Certified salary

We looked at the 2016-2017 dental assistant survey made by the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB®) to get some new insights. Let’s answer together the big question, “What benefits do I have by holding DANB’s® certification?”


CDA® (Certified Dental Assistant) earn more money

DANB’s® survey results show that a full-time CDA® earns a median salary of $20.46 an hour compared to a non-certified dental assistant, who earns $17.76. (Resource: 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics). This is about $2 more per hour! It may seem like a lot, but let’s say you are working 40 hours a week, you earn about $4000 more per year. This is the math:

  • $2 x 40 = $80
  • $80 x 50 = $4000 (There are 52 weeks in the year, but let’s assume that you take 2 weeks off).

This map provided by the DANB® gives you an excellent view of the wages across the country too. Please take your time to review the areas that interest you.

Average salary map


CDA® certificants perform important duties

Dental assistants who have their CDA® certification from the DANB® are more likely to perform key duties around the dental office than non-certified dental assistants. Those duties include infection control, lab functions, and expanded functions. Of course, the rules are different for each state, but in general, we can say that dental assistants who are CDA® certified contribute more to office productivity, efficiency and profitability.

Because dentists and office managers know that Certified Dental Assistants™ are directly helping the office generate more revenue, they also get more respect. It pays off to go the extra mile to be certified.


CDA® certificants are more likely to get raises

According to the DANB’s® survey (available on their website), Certified Dental Assistants™ more often received salary raises. The statistics are as follows:

  • Among CDA® certified professionals, 70% received a raise in their current position
  • Among non-CDA® certified professionals, 39% received a raise in their current position

Being officially certified by the DANB® gives you a leverage to negotiate, whichever practice you are a part of. If you use your title to your advantage, your chances of being rewarded are higher compared to dental assistants who are NOT DANB® certified.

Full-time CDA certificants


CDA® certificants have a higher job satisfaction

  • Among DANB® CDA® certificants, 89% reported high job satisfaction
  • Among NON-DANB® CDA® certificants, 78% reported high job satisfaction

That is over 10% difference! The abstract value may not provide an immediate grasp on the benefits of being DANB® certified but think about this: You are 10% happier every day than the other dental assistant who is NOT certified. Being happy at your job benefits everybody – yourself, your employer, your co-workers, and your patients.


CDA® certificants have more job benefits

There are many other positive sides to being certified by the DANB®. The DANB® provides detailed statistics, but to sum it up:

  • CDA® certificants receive more paid vacation
  • CDA® certificants receive more paid holidays
  • CDA® certificants receive more paid sick leave
  • CDA® certificants receive more paid vacation
  • CDA® certificants receive more retirement plan
  • CDA® certificants receive more reimbursement for CE credits

Disclaimer: SmarterDA is a Dental Assisting Exam Prep solution. SmarterDA is NOT affiliated with the DANB®. All the statistics above are also available for anyone to see on the DANB® website.

That said, we wanted to highlight some of the monetary benefits the CDA® title may give you. Let’s be honest, those $$ matters to all of us. Through this article, we attempted to provide data that can help you decide whether you want to take the CDA® exam or not. And if you are already a CDA®, we hope that you feel better about yourself!


More about the DANB® certifications

There are five different certifications and the different components that you need to pass in order to obtain that title.

Component examinations are as follows:

  • National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA®): Radiation Health and Safety (RHS®), Infection Control (ICE®) and Anatomy, Morphology, and Physiology (AMP)
  • Certified Dental Assistant (CDA®): General Chairside Assisting (GC®), Radiation Health and Safety (RHS®) and Infection Control (ICE®)
  • Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA®): Orthodontic Assisting (OA®) and Infection Control (ICE®)
  • Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA®): Coronal Polish (CP), Sealants (SE), Topical Anesthetic (TA) and Topical Fluoride (TF)
  • Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA®): Anatomy, Morphology, and Physiology (AMP), Impressions (IM), Temporaries (TMP), Isolation (IS), Sealants (SE) and Restorative Functions (RF)


If you have any questions, email us at support@smarterDA.com or visit the DANB® website! And again, you can see the PDF called Dental Assistant Salary Survey from the DANB® by clicking here. We wish you the best in everything you do!


SmarterDA Team