If you have ever needed a filling, crown, dentures or other dental implants, then you’ve already—without realizing it—been on the receiving end of work by a dental laboratory technician. Dental laboratory technicians, or DLT for short, are just one of the career paths within the dental industry. If you are interested in learning more about this career, including how to go about becoming a dental laboratory technician, consider the following essential information about DLTs.
What is a Dental Laboratory Technician?
A dental laboratory technician is a technician who works at a dental lab. They are responsible for creating various types of dental implants and appliances, which include but aren’t limited to:
- Dentures, partial or full
DLTs use impressions of a patient’s teeth, gum tissue, or entire mouth to create dental appliances and implants using numerous materials, including ceramics, porcelain, alloys, and more. They are also required to follow the detailed written instructions provided by the patient’s dentist, which will include information regarding materials and other requirements necessary for the patient’s implant.
Requirements for becoming a Dental Lab Technician
The requirements for becoming a DLT will vary depending on where you live. Some areas require certain degrees or certifications in order to work as a DLT, while other areas do not.
If you are not legally required to obtain a DLT related degree or certification in your area, then you may be hired into the position and receive all of your training on-the-job. However, regardless of whether or not it is legally required, it is generally recommended that you receive at least either a certification in Dental Laboratory Technology or a related degree, such as a Dental Technician degree.
Average salary and career prospects for a Dental Lab Technician
The average salary for a Dental Lab Technician is about $37,690 USD–or an hourly age of about $18.12 USD. The salary and hourly wage of a DLT can depend on a number of different factors, which include: location, level of education and certification, level of experience, and place of employment. For example, in the United States, DLTs who work in the District of Columbia have a median hourly wage of $30.21 USD per hour; while DLTs who work in Delaware have a median hourly wage of $13.27 USD per hour.
The career prospects of a dental lab technician may depend on whether or not they intend to advance to a different dental lab career. Dental lab technician supervisors earn slightly more money—around $38,000 USD per year—while dental ceramists, who specialize in ceramic dental appliances, earn around $44,000 USD per year.
The demand for dental lab technicians will continue to grow in the next few decades, as the demand for dental services overall continues to increase.
If you are considering a technician career in a dental lab, you should consider at least obtaining a certification in dental lab technology or a related degree. While they may not be necessary in your area, they will help better prepare you for your career and increase the chances being hired.