A dental laboratory technician’s main duty is to tend to prescriptions from dentists. When a dentist requires dentures, crowns, bridges or any prosthetics for a patient’s dental needs, the dental lab technician is the one who constructs them and even services them later on in the piece. Once the dentist has measured various dimensions of the patient’s mouth, these instructions are sent to the technician who then constructs them using wax or plastic impressions of said patient’s mouth. Some of the materials they work with are wax, porcelain, plastic, plaster and also gold and some other metals. They use all sorts of tools for carving as well as shaping, and electric equipment too. The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that the annual median dental laboratory technician salary was $37,980 last year nationwide.
It’s not uncommon for dental lab technicians to specialize in a particular niche within their field, such as working primarily on crowns or only with a particular material like porcelain. Sometimes picking one area on which to focus and becoming the best at it can lead to a significantly higher dental laboratory technician salary, closer to the upper percentile of $58,560. However, that pay scale is usually reserved for technicians with higher educational qualifications. Generally, a high school diploma is sufficient to begin a career as a dental lab technician. Most technicians receive their education and training on the job, if not through apprenticeship programs. They are trained by experienced technicians, who start them off on the simpler jobs of molding plaster. Now, those aspiring to become technicians tend to sign up for a formal training program soon after high school to get an edge over the other candidates and to become eligible for a higher dental laboratory technician salary.
This career path is right for you if you have good eyesight, sense of color and dexterity with your hands as the job demands precision. You can apply for jobs directly at dental offices and laboratories. Even if you have no experience, they’re usually happy to take you on as a trainee. It is possible to work as a dental lab technician through school placements as well, while you complete your education. If you are just starting out and have no experience, your dental lab technician pay could start off at $25,000. As your education on the job progresses, so will your income. If you manage to get a job in large facilities or laboratories, there’s a good chance you can go on to become a supervisor or manager.
The average dental laboratory technician salary is not expected to increase too much over the next three years and employment opportunities are not expected to grow too quickly. As civilization grows and dental hygiene in general improves, the number of people with dental issues will continue to decrease. However, in the big cities, there are plenty of entry-level and experienced dental lab technician jobs available. If you’ve been in the industry long enough and have some capital to invest, you can even start your own laboratory.
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