Dental laboratory technician essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $36,090
- 2012, number of jobs: 36,790
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 1 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Dental laboratory technicians; what they do:
Although getting crowns, bridges, and dentures is not very fun, there is one person beyond the dentist you must thank for making the process go smoothly – the dental laboratory technician. Dental laboratory technicians actually create the crown, bridge, or dentures from the molds dentists make.
Although dental laboratory technicians typically have no patient interaction, they work very closely with the dentist. Following specific directions from the dentist, a dental lab tech must mix plaster and pastes to fill molds or impressions, cover and allow them to set and test the result with an apparatus that mimics the patient’s bite.
A dentist laboratory technician career sometimes includes making slight adjustments to new crowns, bridges, or dentures.
In addition to working on new crowns, bridges, or dentures, dental laboratory technicians fix broken or cracked dental appliances.
A dental laboratory technician career includes working with a variety of small hand tools and materials such as wax, plastic, and porcelain. A dental laboratory career also includes occasionally using computer programs.
Dental laboratory technicians may specialize in the following: orthodontic appliances, crowns and bridges, complete dentures, partial dentures, implants, and ceramics.
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Dental laboratory technicians job titles:
- Dental Lab Tech
- Dental Laboratory Tech
- Dental Ceramists
Dental Laboratory Technicians Education, Certification and License Requirements
A dental laboratory tech career requires a high school diploma and on-the-job training.
Formal education programs for dental laboratory technicians are also available at vocational schools, community colleges, and some universities.
Dental laboratory technician programs cover subjects such as:
- Dental anatomy
- Dental ceramics
- Partial dentures
- Computer skills
Dental laboratory technicians can obtain certification through the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology in six different specialty areas: Orthodontic appliances, crown and bridges, complete dentures, partial dentures, implants, and ceramics. Dental laboratory technicians may also earn a Certificate of Competency through the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology.
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Career Advancement Opportunities
A dental laboratory tech may advance in a large laboratory to a supervisory role and begin training new technicians. Some dental laboratory technicians advance to owning their own laboratory.
Dental Laboratory Technicians Job Outlook
Forecast: one percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for dental laboratory technicians, much slower than the average for all occupations.
The decreasing cost of cosmetic dental prosthetics increases the demand for them and the need for dental laboratory technicians to work on them.
Employment growth for dental laboratory technicians has decreased due to increased dental education and annual dentist office visits which results in more people keeping their original teeth longer or throughout their entire life.
Dental Laboratory Technicians Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $36,090
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $47,430
- 2012, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $27,640
Dental Laboratory Technicians Major Employers
- Dental laboratories