Medical Assistant Vs. Dental Assistant: What Is the Pay Difference?
Would you like a job performing administrative duties for a doctor or dentist? If so, you may want to consider a job as a medical assistant or dental assistant. Both of these positions are similar, but they do differ in job duties and pay. Read on to find out more. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Medical Assistant and Dental Assistant Job Duties
Medical assistants work for physicians, chiropractors and other healthcare professionals. The exact duties of this position may vary depending on your employer, but general duties include recording patients' blood pressure, pulse and other vital signs and assisting with examinations.
As a dental assistant, you may gather materials needed for x-rays, fillings and impressions. You may also prep patients and retrieve tools such as suction hoses for the dentist during a procedure.
Administrative duties for medical assistants and dental assistants are closely related. You may be expected to properly file medical records or insurance paperwork. Managing inventory of medical equipment and supplies is another job duty of medical assistants and dental assistants.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical assistants earned a mean hourly wage of $14.31 and a mean annual wage of $29,760 as of May 2010 (www.bls.gov). Dental assistants, on the other hand, earned a mean hourly wage of $16.41 and a mean annual salary of $34,140 in the same reporting year.
However, with a mean annual wage of $39,220, medical assistants who worked in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals earned some of the highest salaries in this field. Likewise, dental assistants working in specialty hospitals earned an average salary of $38,650 as of May 2010, making it one of the top-paying industries, according to the BLS.
The BLS reports that job openings for medical assistants were expected to grow at a rate of 34% from 2008-2018. This growth is attributed to a rising demand for more healthcare workers as the number of elderly patients increases.
Dental assistants are expected to experience a 36% growth in job openings during the same reporting decade. Job prospects are projected to be excellent due to the number of new dentists needing qualified dental assistants to perform routine procedures.
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