Busy dentists would have trouble keeping up with appointments, finding patients' records and processing payments without dental receptionists. Dental receptionists also explain procedures to patients and families, obtain patients' names, addresses and insurance information when they're new, and maintain files of patients' X-rays, medications and appointment dates. If you can picture yourself answering phones and speaking with patients, dental assistants and dentists eight hours per day, the job of dental receptionist may be perfect for you. In return, expect to earn an average salary of slightly over $30,000 annually.
Salary and Qualifications
Receptionists and information clerks in dentist offices earned $31,350 as of May 2102, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or $15.07 per hour. But these data didn't include dentists who worked in hospitals, nursing homes and for government agencies, although the overall differences after including these salaries were negligible. All dental receptionists earned average salaries of $31,000 per year, according to the job website Simply Hired, or $14.90 per hour, based on 40-hour workweeks. To become a dental receptionist, you usually need a high school diploma and at least two years' experience working as a receptionist in a medical facility. You also need a courteous demeanor, the ability to to sit for long periods, and communication, customer service, organizational and computer skills.
Income by Region
Average salaries for dental receptionists varied somewhat among the four U.S. regions in 2013. In the Northeast region, they earned the lowest salaries of $28,000 in Maine and the highest of $38,000 in Massachusetts, according to Simply Hired. Those in the Midwest made $24,000 in South Dakota and $33,000 in Minnesota, which represented the lowest and highest earnings in the region. If you worked as a dental receptionist in the West, you'd earn the lowest salary of $25,000 in Montana or the highest of $35,000 in Alaska or California. Expect to earn $24,000 or $49,000, respectively, in Mississippi or the District of Columbia, which were the lowest and highest salaries in the South.
You can expect to earn more as you gain experience as a dental receptionist. For example, once you have five years' experience, you may qualify for a higher-paying job. You may also receive annual increases that boost your salary. You'll likely earn more with a large dentistry company that employs multiple dentists, as larger companies have more revenue to support higher salaries. Your salary would be higher in states such as California and Massachusetts due to higher living costs, which employers usually factor into compensation packages.
The BLS doesn't include job trend data for dental receptionists. It does include job opportunities for receptionists and dentists, which it expects to increase 24 and 21 percent, respectively, faster than the average growth rate of 14 percent for all occupations. Many dentists are self-employed or work with partners. When they open their dental practices, they need to hire dental receptionists for various administrative duties. You'll also find more job opportunities as baby boomers continue to age and need more dental procedures. Cosmetic services such as teeth whitening are also popular, which should increase demand for your services in this field and have a positive impact on your salary.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Receptionists: Job Outlook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Dentists: Job Outlook
- HealthcareJobsite.com: HealthPartners: Dental Receptionist
- iHireDental: Dental Receptionist
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Receptionists and Information Clerks
- Simply Hired: Average Dental Receptionist Salaries
- Simply Hired: Average Dental Receptionist Salaries in ME and MA
- Simply Hired: Average Dental Receptionist Salaries in MT, AK and CA
- Simply Hired: Average Dental Receptionist Salaries in MS and DC
- Simply Hired: Average Dental Receptionist Salaries in SD and MN