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Career profile Dental Laboratory Technician

Also known as Crown and Bridge Dental Lab Technician, Dental Ceramist, Dental Laboratory Technician (Dental Lab Tech), Dental Technician (Dental Tech), Denture Technician, Metal Finisher, Model and Dye Person, Orthodontic Laboratory Technician (Orthodontic Lab Technician), Porcelain Technician, Waxer

Dental Laboratory Technician

Also known as Crown and Bridge Dental Lab Technician, Dental Ceramist, Dental Laboratory Technician (Dental Lab Tech)

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$27,060 - $67,010 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
  • Quality Control Analysis
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Design
  • Medicine and Dentistry
Core tasks
  • Read prescriptions or specifications and examine models or impressions to determine the design of dental products to be constructed.
  • Apply porcelain paste or wax over prosthesis frameworks or setups, using brushes and spatulas.
  • Test appliances for conformance to specifications and accuracy of occlusion, using articulators and micrometers.
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What does a Dental Laboratory Technician do?

Dental Laboratory Technicians construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.

What kind of tasks does a Dental Laboratory Technician perform regularly?

Dental Laboratory Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Read prescriptions or specifications and examine models or impressions to determine the design of dental products to be constructed.
  • Test appliances for conformance to specifications and accuracy of occlusion, using articulators and micrometers.
  • Melt metals or mix plaster, porcelain, or acrylic pastes and pour materials into molds or over frameworks to form dental prostheses or apparatus.
  • Create a model of patient's mouth by pouring plaster into a dental impression and allowing plaster to set.
  • Fabricate, alter, or repair dental devices, such as dentures, crowns, bridges, inlays, or appliances for straightening teeth.
  • Place tooth models on apparatus that mimics bite and movement of patient's jaw to evaluate functionality of model.
  • Remove excess metal or porcelain and polish surfaces of prostheses or frameworks, using polishing machines.

The above responsibilities are specific to Dental Laboratory Technicians. More generally, Dental Laboratory Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

What is a Dental Laboratory Technician salary?

The median salary for a Dental Laboratory Technician is $42,110, and the average salary is $45,230. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Dental Laboratory Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Dental Laboratory Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Dental Laboratory Technicians earn less than $27,060 per year, 25% earn less than $32,480, 75% earn less than $54,380, and 90% earn less than $67,010.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Dental Laboratory Technicians is expected to change by 12.4%, and there should be roughly 4,900 open positions for Dental Laboratory Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$42,110
Typical salary range
$27,060 - $67,010
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
12.4%

What personality traits are common among Dental Laboratory Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Dental Laboratory Technician are usually higher in their Realistic, Investigative, and Conventional interests.

Dental Laboratory Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Dental Laboratory Technicians typically have strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Lastly, Dental Laboratory Technicians typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Dental Laboratory Technician tend to value Support, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Dental Laboratory Technicians strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Dental Laboratory Technicians moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Dental Laboratory Technicians moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Dental Laboratory Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Dental Laboratory Technicians, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Dental Laboratory Technicians need?

Working as a Dental Laboratory Technician usually requires a high school diploma.

Dental Laboratory Technicians need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Dental Laboratory Technicians

  • 4.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 26.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 34.7% completed some college coursework
  • 16.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 14.4% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.2% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.8% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Dental Laboratory Technicians

Dental Laboratory Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, design, or medicine and dentistry knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Dental Laboratory Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Important Abilities needed by Dental Laboratory Technicians

Dental Laboratory Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Dental Laboratory Technicians need abilities such as finger dexterity, near vision, and arm-hand steadiness in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Dental Laboratory Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Visualization
The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

Critical Skills needed by Dental Laboratory Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Dental Laboratory Technicians frequently use skills like reading comprehension, critical thinking, and quality control analysis to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Dental Laboratory Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Time Management
Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.