Working in the dental field is an exciting, rewarding and viable career choice. Of the many paths available in the field, that of the dental technician is very promising in terms of career satisfaction and steady employment. Dental technicians work in dental labs creating bridges, crowns, dentures, veneers and other prosthetic devices. Dental technicians work with molds taken from patients by dentists to create a customized fit for each device. A person interested in learning how to become a dental technician should have good hand to eye coordination and manual dexterity, as the job requires steady hands and strong attention to detail to create the perfect fitting prosthetic.
Some dental technicians typically train on the job, however a formal training with certification is available and is strongly recommended for those who enter this field. Dental technicians are different from dental hygienists, although the two are sometimes confused. A dental technician does not come into contact with a patient’s mouth like a dental hygienist does unless there are extraordinary circumstances with the specialized dental prosthetic that he or she created that must be addressed.
The primary path for how to become a dental technician typically involves two to three years of learning on the job, either in a dental office or in a medical facility that produces orthodontic devices. Additionally, there are dental schools across the United States that offer dental technician courses accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). While there is a broad education in general dental laboratory work at these schools, most dental technician students choose an area of study to focus on, such as crowns and bridges, veneers and porcelains, or dentures.
The length of the educational training of a dental technician is usually two years, where the student receives a certificate or Associate’s Degree upon completion. There are some schools that offer four-year degrees (Bachelor’s) in Dental Technology, although these are not required to become a dental technician. Prospective dental technicians may also receive certification from the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC).
As of 2011, the beginning salary of a dental technician was $35,000 a year. After some years on the job, with promotions and demonstrated expertise, dental technicians can make up to $75,000 per year.
Dental technicians play an important role in the health and well being of people. They offer a valuable service that nearly every human being requires in order to live a comfortable and healthy life. Learning how to become a dental technician and earning a good living by helping others makes this decision an attractive career choice for many.