A dental technician, sometimes called a dental laboratory technician, creates prosthetics for dental use. These prosthetics include dentures, braces, and crowns. The technician is responsible for many “behind the scenes” procedures. Many dental technicians choose to attend college to learn the skills required for the job.
The skills that a student will learn while studying to become a dental technician include communicating and preparing the patient to receive treatment, taking X-rays, organizing and maintaining records, sterilizing any instruments used during a procedure, and preparing a chair for upcoming patients. The students at dental technician colleges must also learn how to take impressions of teeth and to teach others about proper oral health care procedures. The formal classes that a dental technician student must take include some general education courses like anatomy, math basics, and first aid. The more specific courses include Clinical Dental Procedures, Dental Equipment Use, and Radiography.
It is not absolutely necessary to attend college to become a dental technician, but it is definitely a good idea to get a formal education. The job market is extremely competitive with the economy in its current state and a dental technician with formal education is more desirable than a technician with on-the-job training. If a student is in a hurry, college can take just two years. Other programs, however, may take four years. Some students even continue on with education to move up in the field.
There are programs at vocational and community colleges for dental technician programs. Dental technician colleges will focus on the dental laboratory technology required for the job. Talking to a counselor at a local community college is a great first step to attending college to become a dental tech. While some general education requirements are necessary to get an Associate’s Degree, the program’s core focus is on the skills necessary to work in the field. Since the education requires a hands-on approach and on-the-job training, online programs are not generally available. It is also significant to note that many students may choose to intern or take a job in a clinic while attending school.
After taking all the courses required by the educational program, students may choose to become certified. Students may take the certification exam accredited by the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology in order to appear more desirable to potential employers. The exam consists of a practical exam in addition to two written exams. In order to become certified a dental technician student must either graduate from a program specializing in dental technology or work for five years in their desired field.