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Dental Technician School and College Degree Program Information

Dental technicians construct and repair dental prosthetics like braces, bridges, crowns, and dentures. Associate's degree programs in dental laboratory technology introduce students to materials and techniques used in the fabrication of dental prosthetics.

Essential Information

Dental technicians work for private medical manufacturers, laboratories, dental offices, and schools. While some dental technicians receive on-the-job training, many employers prefer technicians with an associate's degree. Students can focus on ceramics, orthodontic appliances, crowns and bridges, and partial or complete dentures. The programs combine lectures and hands-on training through an internship or training labs.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma.
  • Program Length: Approximately two years.
  • Other Requirements: Internship.
  • Online Availability: Some online courses and programs are available.

Associate's Degree in Dental Technology

A high school diploma is required for admission, and prospective students in dental technology benefit from a strong health science and chemistry background. Because dental lab technicians must pay attention to details like measurements and color matching, good hand-eye coordination is essential. A typical curriculum in a dental technician school program includes courses that introduce students to dental laboratory materials, dental anatomy, and orthodontic and pedodontic appliances. Many programs also have internship or laboratory assistant programs that provide hands-on experience. Courses usually include:

  • Orthodontics
  • Dental materials
  • Ceramic techniques
  • Dental laboratory practice
  • Crown and bridge

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Dental technician school graduates can find employment in commercial laboratories and as private contractors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, (www.bls.gov), reports that many laboratory technicians work in small private medical manufacturing businesses; others work in dental offices and specialized health care stores. Dental laboratory technicians can expect to see 7% job growth from 2012-2022. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for dental laboratory technicians was $36,830 in 2014.

Continuing Education Information

An associate's degree is the standard for most jobs in dental laboratory technology. The National Association of Dental Laboratories offers a voluntary certification exam that allows experienced dental technicians to become certified specialists, thus providing them with the necessary credentials required to operate their own laboratory. Many dental technicians advance to management or supervisory positions with experience; others may teach or work in medical sales or marketing.

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