Job outlook Dental Assistant in Canada

People working as a dental assistant have different job prospects depending on where they work in Canada. Find out what the future holds for them in your province or territory. These outlooks are applicable to all Dental assistants (NOC 3411).

Job opportunities over the next 3 years

Explore future job prospects by province and territory.

Location Job outlook
Newfoundland and Labrador Fair
Prince Edward Island Fair
Nova Scotia Fair
New Brunswick Fair
Quebec Good
Ontario Fair
Manitoba Fair
Saskatchewan Fair
Alberta Fair
British Columbia Fair
Yukon Territory Undetermined
Northwest Territories Undetermined
Nunavut Undetermined
Legend: The job opportunities can be: Undetermined Limited Fair Good

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Labour market conditions over the next 10 years

Take a closer look at the projected labour demand and supply for this occupation over the 2017-2026 period. For more information on future job trends, go to the Canadian Occupational Projections System.


SURPLUS: This occupational group is expected to face labour surplus conditions over the period of 2017-2026 at the national level. The section below contains more detailed information regarding the outlook for this occupational group.
Employment in 2016
Median age of workers in 2016
Average retirement age in 2016

Detailed analysis

In order to determine the expected outlook of an occupation, the magnitude of the difference between the projected total numbers of new job seekers and job openings over the whole projection period (2017-2026) is analyzed in conjunction with an assessment of labour market conditions in recent years. The intention is to determine if recent labour market conditions (surplus, balance or shortage) are expected to persist or change over the period 2017-2026. For instance, if the analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was insufficient to fill the job openings (a shortage of workers) in an occupational group in recent years, the projections are used to assess if this situation will continue over the projection period or if the occupation will move towards balanced conditions.

Over the 2014-2016 period, employment growth in this occupational group was stronger than the average for all occupations. However, the unemployment rate went slightly up, reaching 3.2% in 2016, remaining below the national average of 7.0%. The average hourly wage, in real terms, decreased over the period of interest. Hence, analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was sufficient to fill the job openings in this occupational group.

For Dental assistants, over the period 2017-2026, new job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) are expected to total 9,200, while 10,100 new job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) are expected to be available to fill them.

Although this occupational group has had balanced market in recent years, projected job seekers are expected to be superior to job openings, creating a surplus of workers over the 2017-2026 period. Job openings are projected to arise from both expansion demand and retirements. Employment growth is expected to represent more than 40% of job openings and is projected to increase at a similar pace than the average. As population grows and a larger share of individuals keeps their original teeth than previous generation did, the need to maintain and treat teeth is anticipated to continue to fuel the demand for dental care. However, this increase is expected to be slowed down by population aging as people retiring are less likely to be covered by dental insurance plans. In addition, dentists are anticipated to hire more dental hygienists over the projection period to increase the profitability of their practices, because dental hygienists are now authorized to perform acts that were previously restricted to dentists. This trend is expected to work against dental assistants because they are not authorized to perform as many acts. Retirements are anticipated to account for more than 45% of job openings, as the retirement rate in this occupational group is expected to be weaker than the national average. Workers in this occupational group are generally younger than in other occupations, but tend to retire at the same age in their career. With regard to labour supply, the majority of job seekers will come from the school system. This occupational grouping is very popular among school leavers, notably, because wages are relatively high compared to the educational requirements. Therefore, their number is more almost twice as high as the total number of job openings. New immigrants will also represent a significant pool of job seekers. Despite the fact that a lot of workers tend to leave this occupation, job seekers are projected to be significantly higher than job openings, which will create a surplus of workers.

What percentage of people in this occupation are self-employed?

The data from the Labour Force Survey (2015) regarding the proportion of people in this occupation who were self-employed are not sufficiently reliable to be published.

What proportion of people in this occupation work full-time?

According to the Labour Force Survey (2015), in Canada, 77% of workers in this occupation worked full-time, compared to the average of 81% for all occupations.

What is the proportion of women working in this occupation?

According to the National Household Survey (2011), in Canada, women represented 98% of workers in this occupation compared to the average of 48% for all occupations.

What percentage of people in this occupation are members of a union?

This occupation (Dental assistants) is part of a larger group called Assisting occupations in support of health services (NOC 341). According to the Labour Force Survey (2015), in Canada, the unionization rate for this group was 58%, while the unionization rate for all occupations was 31%.

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