How to Become a Dental Lab Tech

How to Become a Dental Lab TechMedicine is one of those career paths that simply screams its evergreen status from the highest of mountaintops. It is, in essence, immune to recessions. In fact, given the populace doesn’t have the money to take proper care of itself during a recession, traffic to the curative rather than the preventative branches of medicine should be expected to increase. By selecting a career under the umbrella of medicine, you can take advantage of this job security.

High School or GED
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Consider the dental laboratory technician. Normally, when dealing with medicine, finding rewarding work within the career path requires one or more college degrees, years of training, and a significant student loan investment on the part of the burgeoning professional. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and the dental laboratory technician happens to be one of them. It’s surprising how easy this career is to access considering the average yearly wage of just over $35,000 per year.

A dental laboratory technician does not work directly with patients most of the time. Instead, these technicians are the individuals responsible for the creation of dentures, crowns, bridges, and other dental prostheses. In essence, they are the craftsmen behind the medicine, fabricating what is necessary once those with a medical background have determined what that is.

This makes the dental laboratory technician an interesting niche career that allows those with the mindset of a craftsman to fall under the safe umbrella of medicine in much the same way the radiologic technologist does so for those with artistic minds.


Given its divorce from actual medical practice, the dental laboratory technician does not require college training to qualify for the position; a high school diploma or GED is considered to be enough. Given the specialized fabrication skills necessary, extensive on-the-job training as an assistant to a dental laboratory technician or technicians is required to become one yourself.

Still, in a down economy, investment in a new hire on the part of an employer should be expected to be low. There is a large pool and employers believe that biding their time for an individual who already has all of the qualifications necessary is a better investment.

As such, there are a number of 2-year degree programs available at various vocational schools and community colleges that give you the credentials necessary to become a dental laboratory technician right out of the gate. For those seeking more of an edge, there are some 4-year degree programs available, but these are few and far between as the market has yet to find a need for credentials of this magnitude for such a career path.

Remember, there is always the risk of becoming overqualified for a position. Even if you can make the argument that you will be happy in a position for which you are overqualified, employers will mull over this claim with the belief that anything for which you are appropriate qualified, which will likely pay more, will draw you away like a moth to a flame.

Industry Trends

Given the current trend for the industry of custom manufacturing is to move from handmade products to products made by machines using very precise software, it is of import that those like the dental laboratory technician pick up computer programming skills. This is true for those who are seeking a new position within the field as well as for those who already have seniority within their particular places of work. The world is always in flux; the worst thing that can happen is for you to allow complacency to take away what you have already worked to achieve.

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