Dental lab technicians are the men and women who fabricate crowns, bridges, dental implants, and other complicated prostheses. Dental laboratory technician degree programs teach students how to use complicated devices and follow very precise techniques and procedures.
Featured Schools with Dental Laboratory Technician Degrees
- Medical Careers Institute: Columbia, SCEverest College: Ft. Worth SouthCarrington College California: Citrus Heights
Within dental practices, lab technicians fill a critical role in facilitating advanced procedures and techniques, and the only way to find a place in this career is with a dental lab technician degree.
Lab technicians must stay current on all recent advances in technology and materials used in the trade, and be able to adapt their skills to each patient, per the recommendations of the presiding dentist.
Though dental lab technicians rarely see the patients in person, their work is what will make or break the success of patients’ long-term restoratives.
A well-trained dental technician can produce dental prosthetics that can make its wearer forget they have anything but a mouth full of natural teeth.
Types of Dental Laboratory Technician Degrees Available
Dental laboratory technician degree programs are available as one-year certificates, two-year associate’s degrees, and four-year bachelor’s degrees.
Those seeking to break into the field and begin working immediately may want to consider the certificate or associate route, as they offer the ability to begin a career within a year or two.
Those seeking to attain more lucrative positions and advance within the industry, or possibly pursue graduate work in the field of dental technologies may want to consider the bachelor’s degree.
Dental Laboratory Technician Average Salary
- The average salary for dental laboratory technicians is $35,140 per year
What a Dental Laboratory Technician Degree Teaches You
All dental laboratory technician degree programs teach students general knowledge about working in a dentistry lab. Students learn about the ceramics, metals, and other materials commonly used in dental prosthetics.
Dental laboratory technicians are taught the techniques for using dental fabrication tools, and the associated safety procedures and professional ethics.
Certificate programs teach students lab techniques and the ability to create basic dental prosthetics. Associate’s degrees delve further into the practice, teaching the creation of more advanced implements, as well as prosthetic repair.
Bachelor’s degrees go further still, instructing students in biology and anatomy of the mouth, as well as the ability to create more advanced prosthetics, such as removable implants and prosthodontics.
Questions to Ask About Dental Laboratory Technician Degree Programs
1. Do I want to dedicate my career to helping people overcome major dental problems?
2. Can I follow complicated procedures, using advanced technology, in order to create perfect recreations of teeth?
3. Do I have precise attention to detail, and the ability to follow through with complex projects from inception to completion?
Sources: ada.org; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Dental Laboratory Technicians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/dental-laboratory-technicians.htm (visited February 24, 2013).