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Become An Appliance Technician

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Working As An Appliance Technician

  • Getting Information
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Stressful

  • $36,200

    Average Salary

What Does An Appliance Technician Do

Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians construct, fit, or repair appliances and devices, including dentures, eyeglasses, and prosthetics.

Duties

Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians typically do the following:

  • Follow detailed work orders and prescriptions
  • Determine which materials and tools will be needed
  • Bend, form, and shape fabric or material
  • Polish and shape appliances and devices, using hand or power tools
  • Adjust appliances or devices to allow for a more natural look or to improve function
  • Inspect the final product for quality and accuracy
  • Repair damaged appliances and devices

In small laboratories and offices, technicians may handle every phase of production. In larger ones, technicians may be responsible for only one phase of production, such as polishing, measuring, or testing.

Dental laboratory technicians use impressions, or molds, of a patient’s teeth to create crowns, bridges, dentures, and other dental appliances. They work closely with dentists, but have limited contact with patients.

Dental laboratory technicians work with small hand tools, such as files and polishers. They work with many different materials, including wax, plastic, and porcelain, to make prosthetic appliances. In some cases, technicians use computer programs to create appliances or to get impressions sent from a dentist’s office.

Dental laboratory technicians can specialize in one of six areas: orthodontic appliances, crowns and bridges, complete dentures, partial dentures, implants, or ceramics. Technicians may have different job titles, depending on their specialty. For example, technicians who make porcelain and acrylic restorations, such as veneers and bridges, are called dental ceramists

Ophthalmic laboratory technicians make prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. They are also commonly known as manufacturing opticians, optical mechanics, or optical goods workers.

Although they make some lenses by hand, ophthalmic laboratory technicians often use automated equipment. Some technicians manufacture lenses for optical instruments, such as telescopes and binoculars. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians should not be confused with dispensing opticians, who work with customers to select eyewear and may prepare work orders for ophthalmic laboratory technicians.

Medical appliance technicians construct, fit, and repair medical supportive devices, including arch supports, facial parts, and foot and leg braces.

Medical appliance technicians use many different types of materials, such as metal, plastic, and leather, to create a variety of medical devices for patients who need them because of a birth defect, an accident, disease, amputation, or the effects of aging. For example, some medical appliance technicians make hearing aids.

Orthotic and prosthetic technicians are medical appliance technicians who create orthoses (braces, supports, and other devices) and prostheses (replacement limbs and facial parts). These technicians work closely with orthotists or prosthetists.

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How To Become An Appliance Technician

Dental or ophthalmic laboratory technicians or medical appliance technicians typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training.

Education

Ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. There are some postsecondary programs available at community colleges or technical or vocational schools in dental laboratory technology and ophthalmic laboratory technology, but these are not common. High school students interested in becoming dental or ophthalmic laboratory technicians or medical appliance technicians should take courses in science, math, computer programming, and art.

Training

Most dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians learn their skills through on-the-job training. They usually begin as helpers in a laboratory and learn more advanced skills as they gain experience. For example, dental laboratory technicians may begin by pouring plaster into an impression to make a model. As they become more experienced, they may progress to more complex tasks, such as making porcelain crowns and bridges. Because all laboratories are different, the length of training varies.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians must pay attention to detail. Technicians must follow work orders and prescriptions accurately and precisely. In addition, they need to be able to recognize and correct any imperfections in their work.

Dexterity. Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians must work well with their hands because they use precise laboratory instruments.

Interpersonal skills. Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians need to be able to work effectively with others because they may be part of a team of technicians working on a single project. In addition, they need good communication skills to ensure safety when they work with hazardous materials.

Technical skills. Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians need to have an in depth knowledge of how different tools and materials work. They also must understand how to operate complex machinery. Some procedures are automated, so technicians must know how to operate and change the programs that run the machinery.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is not required for dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians or medical appliance technicians. However, technicians may choose to earn specialty certifications because they show professional competence in a specialized field.

The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC) offers certification as a Certified Dental Technician (CDT). Certification is available in six specialty areas: orthodontic appliances, crowns and bridges, complete dentures, partial dentures, implants, and ceramics.

To qualify for the CDT, technicians must have at least 5 years of on-the-job training or experience in dental technology or have graduated from an accredited dental laboratory technician program. Candidates also must pass 3 exams within a period of 4 years.

The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABCOP) offers certification for medical appliance technicians. Technicians are eligible for the certification exam after completing an accredited program or if they have 2 years of experience as a technician under the direct supervision of a certified medical appliance technician.

Advancement

In large laboratories, dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians may work their way up to a supervisory level and may train new technicians. Some may go on to own their own laboratory.

Medical appliance technicians can advance to become orthotists or prosthetists after completing additional formal education. These practitioners work with patients who need braces, prostheses, or related devices.

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Appliance Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

93.8%

Female

5.3%

Unknown

0.9%
Ethnicity

White

60.0%

Hispanic or Latino

19.1%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

5.9%

Unknown

4.2%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

Swedish

5.6%

Carrier

5.6%

Hindi

5.6%

Polish

5.6%

Croatian

5.6%

Italian

5.6%
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Appliance Technician Education

Schools

Bay State School of Technology

12.3%

Lincoln Technical Institute

8.8%

University of Phoenix

8.8%

Ferris State University

7.0%

Community College of the Air Force

5.3%

Hamilton Technical College

5.3%

Monroe Community College

5.3%

University of Texas at Austin

5.3%

Los Medanos College

3.5%

ECPI University

3.5%

University of Memphis

3.5%

Louisiana Tech University

3.5%

Vincennes University

3.5%

College of DuPage

3.5%

Ranken Technical College

3.5%

Ozarks Technical Community College

3.5%

University of California - San Diego

3.5%

A-Technical College

3.5%

Full Sail University

3.5%

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College

3.5%
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Majors

Heating And Air Conditioning

20.9%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

13.0%

Electrical Engineering

11.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

8.2%

Business

6.8%

Computer Science

5.1%

General Studies

5.1%

Automotive Technology

4.5%

Graphic Design

3.1%

Electrical And Power Transmission Installers

2.7%

Information Technology

2.7%

Education

2.4%

Criminal Justice

2.4%

Communication

2.1%

Mechanical Engineering

2.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.1%

Management

1.4%

Aviation

1.4%

Information Systems

1.4%

Engineering

1.4%
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Degrees

Other

47.4%

Associate

18.6%

Bachelors

14.0%

Certificate

13.3%

Diploma

3.7%

Masters

1.6%

License

1.2%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Real Appliance Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Medical Appliance Technician Tower Dental Laboratory Inc. Rockville, MD Mar 27, 2012 $68,869
Medical Appliance Technician Center for Orthotic & Prosthetic Care of Nc, Inc. Durham, NC Nov 03, 2009 $49,024
Medical Appliance Technician Center for Orthotic & Prosthetic Care of Nc, Inc. Durham, NC Aug 03, 2009 $49,024
Medical Appliance Technicians United Orthopedic Appliances, Inc. New York, NY Oct 24, 2013 $38,750
Medical Appliance Technicians Sunny Hills Prosthetic Services, Inc. Fullerton, CA Feb 04, 2013 $37,461
Medical Appliance Technicians Weil Foot & Ankle Institute, LLC Des Plaines, IL Jan 22, 2014 $34,986
Medical Appliance Technicians Ortho-Rite, Inc. New Rochelle, NY Apr 29, 2008 $32,870
Medical Appliance Technicians Ortho-Rite, Inc. New Rochelle, NY Apr 08, 2008 $32,870

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Top Skills for An Appliance Technician

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  1. Washers
  2. Order Parts
  3. Refrigerators
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Used a variety of hand tools, following troubleshooting specifications, to mount, assemble, and repair washers and dryers.
  • Determined and explained product malfunctions, order parts used to repair or replacement defective components.
  • Serviced and maintained all appliances on property From microwaves dishwashers washer and dryers ranges and refrigerators
  • Maintained professional customer service proficiency when dealing with challenging situations.
  • Prepared and sold broad range of customized merchandise to individuals and commercial accounts.

How Would You Rate Working As an Appliance Technician?

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Top Appliance Technician Employers

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