Dental assistants are below average when it comes to happiness.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, dental assistants rate their career happiness 3.0 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 32% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy dental assistants are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Dentist
3.0
$160k
Physician assistant
3.0
$122k
Health services manager
3.0
$101k
Occupational therapist assistant
3.0
$62k
Surgical technologist
3.0
$49k
Dental assistant
3.0
$39k
Medical transcriptionist
3.0
$30k
Diagnostic medical sonographer
3.0
$78k
Optometrist
3.0
$124k
Hearing aid specialist
2.9
$60k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are dental assistants happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do dental assistants find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as dental assistants?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are dental assistant’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are dental assistants making the best use of their abilities?

Are dental assistants happy with their salary?

Dental assistants rated their satisfaction with their salaries 2.8/5. Dental assistants tend to be quite unhappy with their salary, with very few reporting satisfaction with their pay.

We asked dental assistants how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

2.8 out of 5 stars

1615 dental assistants

5 Star
12%

12% of dental assistants rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
18%

18% of dental assistants rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
29%

29% of dental assistants rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
21%

21% of dental assistants rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
19%

19% of dental assistants rated their compensation 1 stars

Do dental assistants find their jobs meaningful?

On average, dental assistants rate the meaningfulness of their work a 2.8/5. While most dental assistants aren’t very fulfilled by their work, some people may still manage to find meaning in it.

We asked dental assistants how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

2.8 out of 5 stars

1626 dental assistants

5 Star
15%

15% of dental assistants rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
19%

19% of dental assistants rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
24%

24% of dental assistants rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
21%

21% of dental assistants rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
21%

21% of dental assistants rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as dental assistants?

Dental assistants rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.8/5. The majority of dental assistants find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked dental assistants how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

3.8 out of 5 stars

1732 dental assistants

5 Star
37%

37% of dental assistants rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
29%

29% of dental assistants rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
18%

18% of dental assistants rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
8%

8% of dental assistants rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
7%

7% of dental assistants rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a dental assistant’s work environment?

As a whole, dental assistants rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.5/5. A solid majority of dental assistants enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as a dental assistant.

We asked dental assistants how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.5 out of 5 stars

1731 dental assistants

5 Star
27%

27% of dental assistants rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
27%

27% of dental assistants rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
24%

24% of dental assistants rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
14%

14% of dental assistants rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
8%

8% of dental assistants rated their work environment 1 stars

Are dental assistants making the best use of their abilities?

Former dental assistants on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 3.2/5. Most dental assistants are satisfied with how well their abilities are skills are made of use.

We asked dental assistants how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

3.2 out of 5 stars

1741 dental assistants

5 Star
21%

21% of dental assistants rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
22%

22% of dental assistants rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
25%

25% of dental assistants rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
18%

18% of dental assistants rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
14%

14% of dental assistants rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars