Job Duties of Dental Lab Technicians
Duties of dental lab technicians include manufacturing a bridge or a crown or dentures prescribed by dentists to the patients. Dentists sent the exact size and shape of patient's mouth to dental lab technicians in the form of molds. Using suitable prosthetic device over the computer the technician prepares a wax model and gets approval of doctors or patient and uses it to create a final product of metal or porcelain prosthetic. A single dental lab technician can do all the above required; or they can even specialize in any one of these as bridges or crowns, or in ceramics, dentures, or other orthodontic appliances.
Educational Qualifications of Dental Lab Technicians
Dental lab technicians need to have a bachelor's degree or other relevant formal education. The National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education has related four accredited programs offering an associates degree or a certificate.
Whereas there are a few labs, that hire dental technicians who only possess a high school diploma. Such labs have facility of apprenticeship programs under which dental lab technicians receive an on-the-job training. These dental lab technicians can function independently after completion of on-the-job training for around three and four years and acquire knowledge equal to that of a qualified candidate.
Work Environment of Dental Lab Technicians
Dental lab technicians work in laboratory settings for an average of 40 hours a week plus overtime, if required. They generally have no direct contact or a very little contact with patients and spend most of their duty hours standing. They use Bunsen burners and other instruments in their laboratories for their dental fittings. For their eye and mouth protection from dust and metal as well as plaster they wear goggles and a mask.
Salary and Remuneration of Dental Lab Technicians
It has also been observed that dental technicians are paid the highest average wage in Washington D.C. As per the study of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics below mentioned are the average annual salary ranges of dental lab technicians:
- The first quartile salary - $20,740
- The second quartile or median salary - $34,170
- The third quartile salary - $58,140
- Working for federal government - $51,560
- Working for private dentists - $36,870
- Working in Washington D.C.- $63,460
As per the study of the labor statistics, the job opportunities of dental lab technicians are lower than average increase of job opportunities in the decade. There is only 4% increase in job opportunities compared to a standard average of 12% increase among all other occupations. Though there is a low average increase, the market is not tough for qualified dental lab technicians to find jobs as the industry still remains lesser prioritized and there is lesser number of qualified graduates than available open job opportunities.