dental assistant program Toronto
23 Dec 2019

How To Make Up to $50 000 a Year as a Dental Assistant

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    When looking at starting a new career, there are many things you’ll want to consider, such as time to be certified or complete your education, opportunities in your city, and the average starting salary. This is especially important when you live in a city like Toronto and are balancing rent, food, and fun along with your new career. Typically, starting salaries will fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, but you can leverage some of these to your advantage.

    Luckily, a career as a dental assistant run in a variety of job titles and salary ranges depending on your preferred career path, along with your education and experience level. Continue reading to learn more about different career paths in dental assisting and what you can expect to make throughout your career, depending on your chosen path.

    Your Career as a Dental Assistant

    As a dental assistant, you can pursue jobs in a variety of tasks and descriptions, such as polishing, hygiene instruction, whitening, and operating dental radiographers. You may also find work in administration, research, or education, if you’d prefer to work outside of the field. Overall, work as a dental assistant was one of the fastest-growing jobs in Canada in 2018, increased over 125% from 2015, according to Global News.

    In Toronto, the median wage currently sits at $21.43 an hour, which matches the national average. However, this can go as high as $30 depending on your education level and job title. As a new grad, you can make around $22 an hour as a certified dental assistant, level 2, a certification that you can obtain at Cestar College through their one-year-long Dental Assistant program. However, the average wage for all level 2 dental assistants is $24.10 according to the Ontario Dental Assistants Association, regardless of experience or education, and is recommended to increase based on the cost of living increases. It is important to note that this is not the recommended minimum or maximum wage by the association.

    Certain paths may be more lucrative than others, but salaries typically start in the high $20 000 range, and you can make up to $50 000- $60 000 a year with experience and time! We’ll explore possible career paths and their related salary outlooks below in more detail.

    Bird’s eye view of a dental chair

    Career Pathways

    When evaluating career options as a dental assistant, there are three main overarching categories of jobs that you can choose from. These include private practice, military services, and public health. Each of these comes with their own related salary ranges that again can be influenced by a variety of factors. We’ll break each of these down in more detail here and evaluate their pros and cons.

    One of the most lucrative and widely prevailing options for dental assistants in Toronto comes through private practice jobs. These can be at independent dental clinics, retirement homes, or cosmetic clinics for services like teeth whitening, among other alternatives. Dental assistants may also work in surgical practices such as orthodontics or periodontics, which can also command higher salaries. Depending on your level of education and experience, you can make up to $60 000 a year working in private practice roles. Job roles may be less varied and come with higher price tags for clients but can garner you a higher salary, work in more specialized fields, and potentially better benefits and perks, depending on your employer.

    You can also find work in the military as a dental assistant, where salaries can reach up to $45 000 a year, as a government employee. There are also added benefits that you won’t find in private careers, such as possible paid education, signing bonuses, and increases based on your rank. Additionally, you can receive basic military training and the opportunity for specialty and advanced training in areas such as field dental support and emergency dental support. As a military dental assistant, you may work either in a military dental clinic, or mobile unit if in the field with your unit, which you should take into consideration before accepting a position.

    Finally, you can pursue a career in public health, which can include a variety of possible job descriptions. You can provide dental assistants in a public health facility, low-income neighbourhoods, hospitals, or in schools. You can also pursue a career as an educator, either in public services or at post-secondary institutions like Cestar College. There are also opportunities available as a research assistant to help discover new technologies or methods that can be used in the field and improve all related services. Similarly to military careers, salaries can range up to $46 000 a year. While less than potential salaries in private practice, there are a wide variety of opportunities in public health that may be more rewarding or engaging.

    However, with any potential career path, much of your salary can be affected by your experience level and education. The salary ranges outlined here are all averages but can fluctuate depending on these factors. In order to be prepared for your new career and set yourself up for success, you’ll want to ensure you have the best possible education, which you can find at Cestar College in Toronto.

    Dental assistants looking at x-rays

    Get Started with Cestar

    Cestar College is a Toronto-based school offering a one-year Dental Assistant program that, upon completion, will ensure you receive your Intra-Oral Level 1 and 2 certification. Their comprehensive program will have you prepared for any career path you should choose as a dental assistant. With a combination of in classwork, knowledge testing, and practical experience in an internship position, you will be ahead of the rest after completing your degree, with industry connections and real patient care experience. This can set you up for success with your new career, whichever path you choose, public, government, or private.

    Contact Cestar today to learn more about their program, prospective career paths, and financial aid options to kickstart your new career as a dental assistant, and start preparing for your future, today!


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