Certified Dental Technician Schools: How to Choose

Feb 27, 2019

Dental technician programs train students to fit, create and set dentures, ceramics, crowns and other orthodontic pieces. Certificate and associate's degree programs approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) are available at select colleges throughout the U.S.

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When looking for dental tech programs, it is essential that they are certified by the American Dental Association (ADA); relocation may be necessary for students due to the relative scarcity of ADA-approved programs in many states. The ADA provides a list of certified dental technician programs via its website.

Schools for Dental Technicians

The following schools offer ADA-accredited dental technology programs, either as associate degrees or certificates.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Pima County Community College Tucson, AZ 2-year, Public Associate $1,974 (in-state)
$8,610 (out-of-state)
Los Angeles City College Los Angeles, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $1,220 (in-state)
$6,810 (out-of-state)
McFatter Technical College Davie, FL 2-year, Public Certificate $6,526 (in-state)**
Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids, IA 2-year, Public Associate $4,194 (in-state)
$5,034 (out-of-state)
Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN 4-year, Public Associate $8,080 (in-state)
$19,408 (out-of-state)
Louisiana State University-Health Sciences Center New Orleans, LA 4-year, Public Associate $10,014 (in-state)
$19,998 (out-of-state)
Middlesex Community College Bedford, MA 2-year, Public Associate $4,514(in-state)
$9,458 (out-of-state)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School Website

School Selection Criteria

Here are some important considerations for selecting a dental technician program.

  • Certificate options prepare students for credentialing through the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBCDLA).
  • Students may choose associate programs for extra education and potential to transfer into a bachelor's program.
  • Look into programs that offer internships and practicums at facilities in the local area.
  • Some programs prepare students as generalists in the field, while others offer specialties on which they can focus their studies.

Certificate Programs for Dental Technicians

ADA-certified certificate programs for dental technicians can be completed in as little as one year. Completion should qualify students for NBCDLA certification. Coursework commonly includes studies in permanent, removable and partial dentures. Required classes may explore anatomy of the head and neck, communications, ceramics, and crowns.

Associate's Degree Programs for Dental Technicians

ADA-certified associate's degree programs for dental technicians qualify students for national certification and can typically be completed in two years. Some associate's degree programs differ from certificate programs by requiring a significant amount of general education requirements, while others focus almost solely on additional dental education courses. Advanced coursework may examine fabrication, construction, aesthetics, anatomy, and repair.

Accredited certificate and associate programs are available from several colleges across the country. Potentially choose a program with the most offerings, and decide on your desired level of education as well.

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