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The 7 Highest Paying Medical/Dental Instruments Jobs

A dental hygienist working in dental/medical instruments
Written by Amanda Nunez

Modern medicine has benefited from centuries of advancements, and the medical dental instruments industry has had huge impacts on the healthcare industry. Afterall, we’ve been creating and crafting medical instruments since we began treating one another for illnesses and ailments. As technology advanced, so did our ability to diagnose and treat certain conditions using advanced medical and dental instruments. 

Work in medical and dental instrumentation requires specialized training, which also often means specialized roles within the medical environment—and compensation to match that skill level. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the best paying careers in the Medical/Dental Instruments field to help you make an informed decision about your career

Dental Assistant

A dental assistant assists dentists during patient visits, such as taking x-rays. Working closely with doctors means having to carry a similar understanding of oral health, being familiar with the tools dentists use, and being able to assist during dental procedures such as teeth cleaning and filling. 

A dental assistant can expect to make approximately $62,000 annually with an associate degree from a dental assistant program. 

Physician Assistant

Physician assistants have a lot of autonomy when it comes to treating patients, including utilizing medical instruments to diagnose illnesses, creating and implementing treatment plans, identifying and prescribing medications, and more. A physician assistant may also serve as someone’s primary care physician. 

This role pays an average of $100,000 and involves mastery of a wide range of medical instruments. To become a physician’s assistant, you’ll have to complete your bachelors degree as well as a graduate program in PA school.

Dental Hygienist

If you’re familiar with the role a physician assistant plays in a medical setting, you’ll have some idea of what a dental hygienist does in a dentist’s office. Someone in this position may utilize instruments to examine the mouth for signs of various oral afflictions, clean teeth and provide fluoride treatments, and create and implement treatment plans that can take the form of anything from brushing to flossing.

A dental hygienist can make approximately $72,000 after completing an associate’s degree. If you’re looking for a good place to practice as a dental assistant, try a private dental practice. Pay wise, working at a private practice is the best field in dentistry, and the salary of dental hygienists in that setting should scale accordingly.  

Implant Coordinator

An implant coordinator can work at a doctor or dentist office to make sure they have all the necessary tools at their disposal to complete surgeries on patients. This job isn’t necessarily about knowing how to use instruments. It’s more about learning how to coordinate instruments for other professionals. Thus, it is a great position for people who may want to go into the medical industry but may not want to worry about the particulars of patient care. 

An implant coordinator can expect to make approximately $45,000, and should possess a bachelor’s degree and great communication skills. 

Radiologic Technologist

If you’re fascinated by the capabilities of machines to capture internal images of the body, radiology is the right field for you. What started as radiography has morphed into radiology, which includes all methods of capturing images of things obscured by a person’s skin or bones. This includes x-rays, but it also includes imaging methods that don’t use radiation, like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. 

Radiologic technologists are kind of like photographers who position their subjects for the right shot and utilize their equipment to snap those images. Then, others trained to read the images, diagnose patients, and provide physicians with the necessary information to administer treatment. As the operators of sometimes large, potentially dangerous and oftentimes expensive machines, radiologic technologists are compensated well for their work. 

Someone in this position should make around $60,000. They also have the flexibility to work in a number of different settings, including a private office, urgent care, clinics or hospitals of any size.

Respiratory Therapist

The number of people who experience trouble breathing are increasing every year. In fact, you most likely know someone who deals with one of many possible breathing ailments. That means that respiratory therapists may be in demand for years to come, with open positions expecting 12% projected 10-year growth. 

Respiratory therapists evaluate the condition of people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and other conditions that directly impact a person’s ability to breathe normally. This is done with an array of medical instruments, including a peak flow meter and spirometer, while treatment occurs through other instruments like nebulizers and inhalers. 

Respiratory therapists make approximately $65,000 a year in an entry level position. With more experience and their extremely nuanced skill set, they can expect to make up to 180K per year. For instance, respiratory therapists can even undergo additional training and become adept at administering sleep studies. There, they’ll encounter both temporary and long-term breathing issues that may be treated with a CPAP breathing machine or one of its alternatives. 


The sonographer is the master of the ultrasound, utilizing the ultrasound machine to render and examine the internal workings of the human body. Ultrasound operators are known as diagnostic medical sonographers, but they can also apply for the positions of diagnostic imaging sonographer or diagnostic ultrasound technician. They’re all names for the same job. 

This specialization can expect an annual pay of approximately $70,000, with work mostly taking sonographers into hospitals and doctor’s offices. 

Land a Job in Medical/Dental Instruments With TJN

There’s a wide breadth of positions that deal with medical or dental instruments. Some are general and require knowledge about a number of different tools in a certain field. Others are defined by specific instruments, certain tasks or a nuanced collection of ailments that people are trained to deal with. 

Whichever path you choose, TheJobNetwork can help you find the career you’re looking for. Visit the job board to learn more about available positions. 

About the author

Amanda Nunez