Dental Assistant Salary in California 2024: Explore detailed analysis and insights on dental assistant salaries, factors influencing pay, and regional differences across California.

Dental assistants play a crucial role in the smooth operation of dental practices, performing a variety of tasks from patient care to administrative duties. In California, the demand for skilled dental assistants is strong, driven by a growing population and increasing awareness of oral health. Understanding salary trends is essential for both aspiring dental assistants and those already in the field looking to advance their careers. This comprehensive guide provides detailed insights into the salary landscape for dental assistants in California for 2024.


Average Salary for Dental Assistants in California 2024

As of 2024, the average salary for dental assistants in California is competitive compared to national figures. On average, a dental assistant in California earns approximately $52,470 per year according to the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS also states that the state with the most employed dental assistants is California.


According to the BLS, the average salary for dental assistants nationally is $46,540, making California a relatively high-paying state for this profession.This figure can vary based on several factors, including experience, education, and location within the state. 


Factors Influencing Dental Assistant Salaries in California

Several factors influence the salaries of dental assistants in California, including experience, education, the type of dental practice, and geographic location. Understanding these factors can help dental assistants maximize their earning potential and make informed career decisions.


Experience and Education

Experience is a significant determinant of salary for dental assistants. Entry-level positions typically start around $35,000 annually, while those with several years of experience can earn upwards of $55,000 according to


Education also plays a vital role; dental assistants with formal training and certification from accredited programs often command higher salaries. According to the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), Certified Dental Assistants earn approximately $4.00 more per hour than their uncertified counterparts. Certification can be gained in California through programs like the one offered at National Career College. Check out the details of NCC’s Dental Assisting Program


Type of Dental Practice

The type of dental practice can influence earnings. Dental assistants working in specialized practices, such as orthodontics or oral surgery, may receive higher pay compared to those in general dentistry due to the specialized skills required.


Location within California

Location is another critical factor. Urban areas tend to offer higher salaries compared to rural regions. For instance, dental assistants in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles generally earn more than their counterparts in less densely populated areas.


Dental Assistant Regional Salary Differences Across California

Dental assistant salaries in California vary widely depending on the region. Metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego offer higher wages compared to rural areas, reflecting differences in the cost of living and demand for dental services.


Dental Assistant Salary in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the top-paying cities for dental assistants in California. The average salary for a dental assistant in Los Angeles is approximately $52,000 annually based on’s data. This higher wage reflects the city's high cost of living and the demand for dental services in a densely populated urban center. NCC’s Dental Assisting Program is located in the Los Angeles area in the San Fernando Valley. 


Salaries in Other Major Metropolitan Areas

In San Francisco, dental assistants can expect to earn around $58,000 per year, while in San Diego, the average salary is closer to $50,000. These cities also have high living costs, contributing to the higher wages. (based on data from


Rural Areas vs. Urban Areas

In contrast, dental assistants in rural areas may see lower salaries, often ranging from $38,000 to $42,000 annually. However, the lower cost of living in these regions can balance out the lower pay.


Dental Assistant Benefits and Compensation Packages

Beyond base salaries, dental assistants often receive comprehensive benefits packages. These typically include health insurance, paid time off, retirement plans, and sometimes bonuses or profit-sharing. Benefits significantly enhance overall compensation, making the total earnings package more attractive.


Dental Assistant Benefits in Los Angeles

According to the total average compensation package in Los Angeles is worth roughly $75,000 per year. Here is a breakdown of the benefits and their median monetary value: 


Core Compensation

Base Salary           $52,345

Bonus                     $79


Value of Benefits

Social Security      $4,010

401K/403B            $2,569

Disability                $839

Healthcare             $6,371

Pension                  $2,202

Time Off                 $6,654


Total Compensation $75,067


Dental Assistant Job Outlook

The job outlook for dental assistants in California is promising. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) projects a growth rate of 7% nationally for dental assistant positions from 2023 to 2033, faster than the average for all occupations. In California, this is even higher with a projected growth rate of an astounding 21%. This growth is driven by ongoing research linking oral health to overall health, increasing the demand for preventative dental services.


Dental Assistant Career Advancement Opportunities

Dental assistants can advance their careers by gaining additional certifications. NCC’s Dental Assistant Program offers certifications in Radiation Safety, Infection Control, and Coronal Polishing certifications approved by the Dental Board of California.


Furthermore, obtaining specialized training in fields such as orthodontics, periodontics, or dental radiology can enhance your qualifications. These specializations often lead to higher salaries and more advanced roles within dental practices.


Start Your Dental Assisting Career with National Career College

Looking to begin a rewarding career as a dental assistant? National Career College’s Dental Assistant Program in Los Angeles is designed to equip you with the essential skills and certifications needed for entry-level employment. Our comprehensive program provides hands-on training and foundational knowledge to help you succeed in your chosen field.


Discover how NCC can help you start your career journey today! Explore NCC’s Dental Assisting Program