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Working As a Dental Laboratory Technician

  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $46,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Dental Laboratory 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 A Dental Laboratory 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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Average Yearly Salary
$46,000
Show Salaries
$33,000
Min 10%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
Annandale, VA
Highest Paying State
Maine
Avg Experience Level
5.8 years
How much does a Dental Laboratory Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Dental Laboratory Technician in the United States is $46,568 per year or $22 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $33,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $64,000.

Real Dental Laboratory Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Dental Laboratory Technicians Dean McNeel, DDS Fayetteville, AR Jun 05, 2014 $108,000
Dental Laboratory Technician Newtech Dental Laboratories, Inc. Lansdale, PA Jul 16, 2015 $105,341
Dental Laboratory Technician Newtech Dental Laboratories, Inc. Lansdale, PA Sep 21, 2013 $81,236
Dental Laboratory Technicians Andy Dental Laboratory Andover, MA Jul 15, 2014 $69,077
Dental Laboratory Lead Technician Tooth and Nail Dental Laboratory Austin, TX Aug 22, 2016 $63,669
Dental Laboratory Technician American Dental Designs Inc. Montgomeryville, PA May 18, 2015 $62,610
Dental Laboratory Technician Newtech Dental Laboratories, Inc. Lansdale, PA Aug 17, 2014 $62,209
Dental Laboratory Technician Newtech Dental Laboratories, Inc. Lansdale, PA Aug 12, 2015 $62,209
Dental Lab Technitian/Implant Technical Specialist UNI Dental Laboratory Inc. Natick, MA Sep 30, 2015 $60,000
Dental Laboratory Technicians Bay View Dental Laboratory, Inc. Chesapeake, VA Feb 06, 2013 $60,000 -
$110,000
Dental Laboratory Technicians Par Orthodontic Laboratory, Inc. Laguna Hills, CA Jul 11, 2014 $59,091
Dental Laboratory Technician Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation Bethel, AK Nov 17, 2015 $57,720
Dental Lab Technician Richard M Lyons New York, NY Sep 25, 2015 $55,640
Dental Laboratory Technicians Summit Dental Lab, Ltd. Waco, TX Feb 06, 2014 $54,434 -
$80,000
Dental Lab Technician American Dental Designs, Inc. Montgomeryville, PA Mar 11, 2016 $47,819
Dental Lab Technician Ranah Kim DMD PC Newtown, PA Oct 24, 2016 $47,819
Dental Laboratory Technicians Grove Dental Clinic Falls Church, VA Oct 26, 2016 $47,500
Dental Laboratory Technicians Hi-Point Dental Lab, Inc. Rolling Meadows, IL May 01, 2013 $47,000 -
$47,200
Dental Laboratory Technicians Metropolitan Dental S.C. Berwyn, IL Mar 05, 2013 $46,966
Dental Laboratory Technician Alpha Dental Laboratories, Inc. Waretown, NJ Sep 18, 2015 $46,821
Dental Laboratory Technician Max Dental Lab, Inc. Annandale, VA Mar 23, 2015 $46,675
Dental Laboratory Technicians Songs Dental Studio Inc. Monterey, CA Aug 05, 2014 $46,500
Dental Laboratory Technician-Implant American Dental Designs Inc. Montgomeryville, PA Oct 09, 2016 $42,000
Dental Laboratory Technician-Implant American Dental Designs Inc. Montgomeryville, PA Sep 14, 2016 $42,000
Dental Laboratory Technician (Denture) American Dental Designs Inc. Montgomeryville, PA Dec 09, 2016 $42,000
Dental Lab Technician Newton Dental Laboratories Garden Grove, CA Nov 29, 2016 $41,538
Dental Laboratory Technician Parks Dental Orthodontics Laboratory Inc. NJ Nov 01, 2013 $41,260
Dental Lab Technician Studio of Master's Touch, Inc. Barrington, IL Dec 14, 2016 $41,080
Dental Laboratory Technician Ohkims Dental Rowland Heights, CA Mar 27, 2015 $40,706
Dental Laboratory Technicians Jeong-Ho Roh DDS, Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 21, 2014 $40,373

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Top Skills for A Dental Laboratory Technician

  1. Porcelain Crowns
  2. Dental Procedures
  3. Custom Trays
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Wax up, Opaque, Building of porcelain crowns and bridges
  • Ensured dental examinations and dental procedures were carried out timely and according to military requirements.
  • Fabricated custom trays, base plates, bite rims, bleaching trays and mouth guards.
  • Corrected dental irregularities by manufacturing fixed or removable appliances.
  • Utilized preventative measures in prosthetic devices by working with non-precious metals, acrylic pastes and resins.

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Top 10 Best States for Dental Laboratory Technicians

  1. Maine
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Washington
  4. Arizona
  5. New Hampshire
  6. New York
  7. Indiana
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Idaho
  10. Alaska
  • (47 jobs)
  • (216 jobs)
  • (196 jobs)
  • (128 jobs)
  • (53 jobs)
  • (451 jobs)
  • (102 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)

Dental Laboratory Technician Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,247 Dental Laboratory Technician resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Dental Laboratory Technician Resume

View Resume Examples

Dental Laboratory Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

47.2%

Male

41.3%

Unknown

11.5%
Ethnicity

White

61.7%

Hispanic or Latino

16.2%

Black or African American

10.3%

Asian

8.0%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.9%

Polish

9.4%

French

6.3%

Arabic

6.3%

Russian

3.1%

Vietnamese

3.1%

Mandarin

3.1%

German

3.1%

Italian

3.1%

Portuguese

1.6%

Thai

1.6%

Czech

1.6%

Cherokee

1.6%

Hebrew

1.6%

Cantonese

1.6%

Hmong

1.6%

Carrier

1.6%

Ukrainian

1.6%

Korean

1.6%
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Dental Laboratory Technician Education

Schools

Community College of the Air Force

10.6%

University of Phoenix

9.2%

Durham Technical Community College

7.8%

Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne

7.1%

Kirkwood Community College

5.7%

Portland Community College

5.7%

Erie Community College

5.0%

Lexington Community College

4.3%

J Sargeant Reynolds Community College

4.3%

Texas State Technical College - Harlingen

4.3%

School of Health

4.3%

Columbus State Community College

3.5%

University of North Alabama

3.5%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.5%

Indian River State College

3.5%

Diablo Valley College

3.5%

Bates Technical College

3.5%

New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York

3.5%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.5%

Remington College

3.5%
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Majors

Dental Assisting

38.4%

Business

10.1%

Biology

5.8%

Advanced Dentistry And Oral Sciences

4.3%

General Studies

3.8%

Fine Arts

3.7%

Health Care Administration

3.2%

Nursing

3.1%

Education

3.0%

Graphic Design

3.0%

Psychology

2.8%

Criminal Justice

2.7%

Medical Assisting Services

2.7%

Liberal Arts

2.4%

Computer Science

2.2%

Communication

1.9%

Management

1.8%

Medical Technician

1.8%

Accounting

1.8%

Information Technology

1.5%
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Degrees

Other

31.9%

Associate

24.9%

Bachelors

22.0%

Certificate

10.1%

Masters

4.6%

Diploma

4.4%

Doctorate

1.7%

License

0.3%
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