An orthodontic assistant works under the supervision of an orthodontist and performs clinical and administrative duties to assist an orthodontist with daily responsibilities. Although education and licensing requirements for orthodontic assistants vary by state, obtaining one or several dental or orthodontic assisting credentials can increase employment opportunities. In April 2011, PayScale estimated wages for an orthodontic assistant based on 1,095 individuals reporting their wages.
Orthodontic assistants typically receive hourly wages, and many report receiving bonuses and profit sharing. The average hourly wage ranges from $10.32 to $20.42 per hour. Average profit sharing ranges from $492 to $3,117 per year and average bonuses range from $99 to $1,525 per year. The total average compensation for orthodontic assistants ranges from $21,337 to $42,999 per year.
Orthodontic assistants can voluntarily obtain credentials, and some states require certification or a license to perform clinical responsibilities such as x-rays. Orthodontic assistants who obtained a dental x-ray license earn average salaries ranging from $12.09 to $17.78 per hour. Those who obtained the Certified Orthodontic Assistant credential earn average salaries ranging from $14.51 to $18.53 per hour and those who obtained the Expanded Function Orthodontic Assistant credential earn average salaries ranging from $14.44 to $17.84 per hour.
Among those reporting their wages to PayScale, the largest majority – 40 percent – has between one and four years of experience and earns average salaries ranging from $11.40 to $15.20 per hour. Those with five to nine years of experience earn average salaries ranging from $14.55 to $17.75 per hour. Those with 10 to 19 years of experience earn an average of $15.50 to $20.02 per hour, and those with over 20 years of experience earn an average of $16.39 to $22.02 per hour.
Dallas, Texas employed the largest amount of orthodontic assistants, where average salaries range from $13.37 to $20 per hour. The highest salaries were in New York City, where average salaries range from $16.50 to $28 per hour. In Portland, Oregon, average salaries range from $13.36 to $19.11 per hour. In Chicago, Illinois, average salaries range from $13.47 to $16.94 per hour.