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Dental laboratory technicians make or fix dental appliances to help dental patients achieve better oral health or improved oral functioning. A technician could create anything from bridges to crowns or dentures, as requested by a dentist, but also repair these items or make adjustments. Often, they learn their skills on the job, but may be able to specialize in crowns and bridges, complete dentures, ceramics, or other related areas. While they need to be able to work with their hands, they also need to know how to use various types of technologies and equipment to create the needed appliances.

Expectations vary based on the size of the dental laboratory. In some laboratories, a dental technician performs every stage of the procedure, while in others they perform just a few steps or processes, which may lead them to specialization. For this reason, there are many different job titles available for dental laboratory technicians, some of which include dental ceramist, dental technician, denture technician, porcelain technician, partial design and survey technician, or crown and bridge dental lab technician.

Dental Lab Technician Responsibilities

Whether they work for a a small or large laboratory, dental laboratory technicians often have many of the same responsibilities. In general, they may need to:

  • Bake porcelain onto metal framework by using porcelain furnaces
  • Build and shape wax teeth
  • Determine the design of dental products to be constructed
  • Fabricate, alter and repair dental devices such as bridges, crowns, dentures, inlays
  • Test appliances to ensure conformance to specifications and accuracy of occlusion
  • Prepare metal surfaces for bonding with porcelain to produce artificial teeth
  • Polish surfaces of frameworks and prostheses

Dental Lab Technician Job Characteristics

Most dental laboratory technicians work 40 hours per week and usually have their own workbenches. However, the size of a laboratory can vary significantly from very small to large, and from just a few people to hundreds of employees. Here's what else dental laboratory technicians can expect on the job:

  • There is usually minimal contact with the public
  • A significant amount of time may be spent bending or standing, including at their particular bench
  • They may face certain health risks when handling various materials, but these risks can be minimized by following established safety procedures
  • Labs are typically well-ventilated, well-lit and organized

Skills that are preferred in good dental laboratory technicians include:

  • Manual dexterity
  • Good vision
  • The ability to recognize very fine color shadings and shape variations
  • Technical skills to operate different kinds of machinery

Dental Lab Tech Salary and Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the following information about dental laboratory technicians nationwide:

  • Total Employed: 35,320, in 2014
  • Job Growth: 3% from 2012 to 2022
  • Average Salary: $40,140 in 2014

Those working in Alaska, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Montana had the highest mean annual wages, all above $46,000, in 2014. Individuals often can advance in their career by working in a large laboratory and becoming a supervisor or a person to help train new technicians, according to the BLS.

Education, Certification and Licensing

Most people enter the dental lab technician field through on-the-job training, although some community colleges and vocational schools offer educational programs. The Commission on Dental Accreditation in conjunction with the American Dental Association does provide accreditation for numerous dental laboratory technology programs at the postsecondary level. However, a high school diploma often is enough to start training on the job. According to the BLS, helpful high school courses include:

  • Art
  • Computer programming
  • Math
  • Science

Certification is not necessary to work as a dental laboratory technician, although six different certifications are available under the Certified Dental Technician (CDT) designation offered through the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology. These certifications include:

  • Crowns and bridges
  • Ceramics
  • Complete dentures
  • Implants
  • Orthodontic appliances
  • Partial dentures

Licensing is not needed to enter the dental laboratory technician field. However, those who work in other related occupations, such as the dental hygienist, do need to have state licensure.

Major Dental Employers

  • Laboratories
  • Health and personal care stores
  • Medical equipment businesses
  • Supplies manufacturing companies
  • Dentist offices

Resources

  • Commission on Dental Accreditation, American Dental Association
  • National Association of Dental Laboratories
  • National Board of Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology
  • American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics

Sources:

  1. Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/dental-and-ophthalmic-laboratory-technicians-and-medical-appliance-technicians.htm
  2. Dental Hygienist, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm
  3. Dental Laboratory Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes519081.htm

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Dental Laboratory Technicians

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Dental Laboratory Technicians jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Huntsville 320 $31,980
Hoover 230 $38,020
Birmingham 230 $38,020
Montgomery 90 $25,200
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage -2222 $55,040
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 900 $40,150
Mesa 900 $40,150
Phoenix 900 $40,150
Tucson 150 $45,770
Kingman 80 $28,260
Lake Havasu City 80 $28,260
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 130 $31,230
North Little Rock 130 $31,230
Little Rock 130 $31,230
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 1980 $40,420
Long Beach 1980 $40,420
Los Angeles 1980 $40,420
San Diego 460 $35,120
Carlsbad 460 $35,120
Ontario 410 $33,680
Riverside 410 $33,680
San Bernardino 410 $33,680
San Francisco 390 $41,970
Hayward 390 $41,970
Oakland 390 $41,970
Roseville 300 $43,740
Arcade 300 $43,740
Arden 300 $43,740
Sacramento 300 $43,740
Santa Rosa 140 $39,970
Fresno 110 $33,610
Bakersfield 110 $34,100
Santa Maria 110 $39,230
Santa Barbara 110 $39,230
Modesto 70 $-1,111
Stockton 70 $31,590
Lodi 70 $31,590
Vallejo 30 $31,840
Fairfield 30 $31,840
Oxnard -2222 $29,540
Thousand Oaks -2222 $29,540
Ventura -2222 $29,540
Chico -2222 $36,260
San Jose -2222 $54,490
Santa Clara -2222 $54,490
Sunnyvale -2222 $54,490
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 320 $38,250
Aurora 320 $38,250
Denver 320 $38,250
Colorado Springs 100 $47,810
Grand Junction 40 $30,570
Fort Collins 40 $41,110
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Hartford 100 $40,940
East Hartford 100 $40,940
Hartford 100 $40,940
Norwalk -2222 $43,650
Stamford -2222 $43,650
Bridgeport -2222 $43,650
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fort Lauderdale 830 $35,300
Miami 830 $35,300
West Palm Beach 830 $35,300
Clearwater 590 $44,640
Tampa 590 $44,640
St. Petersburg 590 $44,640
Kissimmee 340 $34,590
Sanford 340 $34,590
Orlando 340 $34,590
Ferry Pass 180 $25,310
Brent 180 $25,310
Pensacola 180 $25,310
Lakeland 160 $38,300
Winter Haven 160 $38,300
Jacksonville 150 $51,400
Bradenton 130 $32,000
North Port 130 $32,000
Sarasota 130 $32,000
Ormond Beach 100 $31,080
Deltona 100 $31,080
Daytona Beach 100 $31,080
Gainesville 90 $33,940
Palm Bay 90 $38,960
Titusville 90 $38,960
Melbourne 90 $38,960
Port St. Lucie 60 $28,540
Cape Coral 50 $27,880
Fort Myers 50 $27,880
Tallahassee -2222 $32,970
Immokalee -2222 $43,830
Naples -2222 $43,830
Marco Island -2222 $43,830
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 690 $35,160
Atlanta 690 $35,160
Sandy Springs 690 $35,160
Gainesville 190 $33,930
Albany 50 $19,790
Athens 40 $45,350
Clarke County 40 $45,350
Macon -2222 $30,730
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 100 $34,190
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 140 $39,280
Coeur d'Alene 70 $55,120
Idaho Falls 50 $39,830
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rockford 40 $-1,111
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 350 $37,670
Carmel 350 $37,670
Indianapolis 350 $37,670
Fort Wayne 100 $42,260
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cedar Rapids 140 $38,330
West Des Moines 90 $33,790
Des Moines 90 $33,790
Cedar Falls 70 $34,050
Waterloo 70 $34,050
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 90 $31,770
Topeka 40 $38,330
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 90 $51,410
Lexington 90 $51,410
Fort Knox 30 $31,040
Elizabethtown 30 $31,040
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bossier City 120 $32,680
Shreveport 120 $32,680
Baton Rouge -2222 $28,190
Lafayette -2222 $28,590
New Orleans -2222 $34,300
Metairie -2222 $34,300
Monroe -2222 $35,080
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 50 $43,420
Portland 50 $43,420
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 230 $35,370
Columbia 230 $35,370
Baltimore 230 $35,370
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town -2222 $34,770
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Warren 680 $37,720
Detroit 680 $37,720
Dearborn 680 $37,720
Flint 80 $36,000
Grand Rapids 50 $44,720
Wyoming 50 $44,720
Ann Arbor 30 $38,760
East Lansing -2222 $43,830
Lansing -2222 $43,830
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 30 $52,130
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 60 $43,970
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield -2222 $26,300
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 70 $35,540
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Grand Island 30 $-2,222
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 220 $33,110
Henderson 220 $33,110
Las Vegas 220 $33,110
Reno 40 $45,640
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 40 $36,790
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 60 $38,480
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Niagara Falls 280 $36,120
Buffalo 280 $36,120
Cheektowaga 280 $36,120
Rochester 100 $49,450
Utica 50 $31,220
Rome 50 $31,220
Syracuse -2222 $37,510
Troy -2222 $40,940
Schenectady -2222 $40,940
Albany -2222 $40,940
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 180 $48,600
Morganton 130 $30,650
Lenoir 130 $30,650
Hickory 130 $30,650
High Point 90 $37,240
Greensboro 90 $37,240
Asheville 80 $47,290
Salem 70 $41,260
Winston 70 $41,260
Chapel Hill 60 $37,750
Durham 60 $37,750
Wilmington 40 $22,930
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 370 $40,590
Elyria 370 $40,590
Akron 130 $39,500
Columbus 120 $33,500
Toledo 40 $38,660
Dayton -2222 $47,200
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tulsa 140 $37,630
Oklahoma City 80 $37,980
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Eugene 50 $41,050
Medford 40 $44,330
Redmond 30 $44,540
Bend 30 $44,540
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Carlisle 190 $35,070
Harrisburg 190 $35,070
Pittsburgh 140 $38,680
Lancaster 90 $40,530
Barre 70 $35,180
Hazleton 70 $35,180
Wilkes 70 $35,180
Scranton 70 $35,180
Lebanon 30 $29,760
Erie 30 $36,810
Hanover 30 $46,680
York 30 $46,680
Altoona -2222 $25,330
Reading -2222 $38,960
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 140 $18,170
Carolina 140 $18,170
San Juan 140 $18,170
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
North Charleston 100 $39,870
Charleston 100 $39,870
Florence 40 $44,920
Spartanburg -2222 $37,400
Mauldin -2222 $41,310
Greenville -2222 $41,310
Anderson -2222 $41,310
Sumter -2222 $51,750
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rapid City 50 $29,440
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 110 $25,520
Murfreesboro 110 $25,520
Davidson 110 $25,520
Nashville 110 $25,520
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 650 $40,290
Dallas 650 $40,290
Fort Worth 650 $40,290
Sugar Land 440 $31,390
The Woodlands 440 $31,390
Houston 440 $31,390
New Braunfels 250 $35,950
San Antonio 250 $35,950
Round Rock 190 $24,570
Austin 190 $24,570
Lubbock 110 $26,520
Waco 110 $33,860
El Paso 60 $32,160
Port Arthur 50 $24,020
Beaumont 50 $24,020
Tyler 50 $29,330
Corpus Christi 50 $55,270
Amarillo -2222 $38,260
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 510 $34,200
Orem 130 $53,710
Provo 130 $53,710
Ogden 80 $41,440
Clearfield 80 $41,440
St. George 30 $40,680
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 70 $46,360
Burlington 70 $46,360
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 140 $46,130
Roanoke 60 $42,110
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tacoma 460 $44,810
Bellevue 460 $44,810
Seattle 460 $44,810
Tumwater 120 $31,440
Olympia 120 $31,440
Spokane 100 $39,670
Spokane Valley 100 $39,670
Bellingham 50 $42,360
Richland 50 $48,490
Kennewick 50 $48,490
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Madison 130 $37,010
West Allis 110 $44,940
Waukesha 110 $44,940
Milwaukee 110 $44,940
Racine 100 $33,430
Eau Claire 30 $24,430
Green Bay -2222 $42,540

Most Popular Industries for :
Dental Laboratory Technicians

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Miscellaneous Manufacturing 35,350 83% $33,700
Medical Office 6,090 14% $34,920
Government 580 1% $51,950
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Results:  9
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Programs
  • Bachelor Degree in Dental Hygiene
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  • With West Coast University, you can choose to study healthcare online or any one of the 6 campuses located in California, Texas or Florida
  • West Coast University has developed programs with learning options to work around the demands of your life
Programs
  • Dental Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
  • Dedicated to providing career training since 1975.
  • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
  • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
  • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
  • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
  • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
Programs
  • Dental Assisting
  • Offers programs in nursing, medical assisting, pharmacy technology, dental assisting, and more.
  • Six Campuses across Northern CA: Fremont, San Jose, Sacramento, S. San Francisco, Hayward, and Concord.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, with programmatic approvals from the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians and the Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating since 2010.
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Sacramento
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Programs
  • Dental Assisting
  • Offers a free trial period so students can attend classes before paying tuition.
  • Provides blended courses that combine traditional classroom instruction with online learning.
  • Lets students connect with peers at any time, and instructors during office hours with online chat rooms.
  • Gives students the chance to participate in externships and clinical training work under the general supervision of college staff.
  • Has accelerated programs that allow students to take the same coursework in a shorter timeframe.
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Anaheim
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Programs
  • Dental Assistant
  • Offers career placement assistance services to recent graduates.
  • Approved to accept international students who wish to study in the United States.
  • Programs include Medical Office Specialist, Medical Assistant, Dental Lab Technician, and Healthcare Administration.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
  • Main campus is located in Van Nuys, California, north of Los Angeles.
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Panorama City
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Programs
  • Certificate - Dental Assistant
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
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Fresno
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Programs
  • Dental Assistant

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

About Education Corporation of America

Education Corporation of America's institutions broaden access to postsecondary educational opportunities.

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Bakersfield
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Programs
  • Dental Assisting
  • Offers medical and cosmetic programs, including dental assisting, massage therapy, cosmetology, esthetics, and more.
  • Features a public salon and spa where students may get real-world experience.
  • Offers scholarship opportunities for students wo qualify.
  • Accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 2 separate Vacaville campuses, one is for medical careers and the other is the beauty academy.
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Vacaville
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Programs
  • Dental Assistant
  • Features the Success Education Program, with numerous scholarship opportunities to students who qualify.
  • Offers a paralegal program and several healthcare programs including pharmacy technology, medical assisting, massage therapy, and diagnostic medical sonography.
  • Provides an active Placement Assistance Program for all qualified gradutes.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • 7 southern California campuses available in West Covina, Pomona, Pasadena, Glendale, Riverside, Santa Ana, and Long Beach.
  • Part of the Success Education Colleges (SEC) group.
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West Covina
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Dental Laboratory Technicians.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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