A career as a Certified Dental Laboratory Technician can help you build the foundation you need to transition into other progressive roles in the healthcare industry. As you WILL learn in this guide, a Certified Dental Laboratory Technician can specialize in other relevant specialties in DENTISTRY with greater responsibilities, a higher salary, and benefits. Not to mention, it’s a career choice that’s HIGHLY in demand. In fact, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the –

“Employment of Dental Laboratory Technicians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

 With that said,

To help you along in your journey, our Dental Lab Technician career guide explores areas such as educational requirements, roles, duties of a Dental Lab Technician, career paths to salaries, and a breakdown of the written and practical examinations.


Table of Contents

What Does A Dental Lab Technician Do?
Overview Of The Steps To Become A Dental Lab Technician (CHART)
Dental Lab Technician Educational Requirements And Prerequisites
Dental Lab Technician Continuing Education (CE) Requirements
Renewing Your Dental Lab Technician License
Understanding The Certified Dental Lab Technician (CDT) Exam
How to Transfer Your Certified Dental Lab Technician License to Another State
Certified Dental Lab Technician Career Paths
Dental Lab Technician Salary
Dental Lab Technician Industry Statistics
Dental Lab Technician Industry Earning Potential by State
Dental Lab Technician Highest Paying US Cities
Choosing The BEST Dental Lab Technician Program For You
Search Dental Lab Technician Jobs In Your Area
Additional Resources


What Does A Dental Lab Technician Do?

As a Dental Laboratory Technician, you will be working closely with dentists to plan, design, and construct dental prostheses for individual patients. Not only that, you WILL be working with complex equipment and a broad range of materials to create tooth replacements that are realistic and aesthetically pleasing, as well as functional. With that said,

Some of your duties MAY include:

Determining which materials and tools will be needed to create dental prostheses

Inspecting final products have been designed as per dentists instructions

Inspecting prostheses for quality and accuracy

Providing training to other dental laboratory technicians

Repairing damaged equipment and devices

Updating dental laboratory policies and procedures (SENIOR ROLE)

Polishing, measuring, testing dental prostheses


Overview Of The Steps To Become A Dental Lab Technician (CHART)

 





Dental Lab Technician Educational Requirements And Prerequisites

Before you can become ELIGIBLE for the Dental Lab Technician’s written and practical examinations, you WILL need to SUCCESSFULLY meet the educational requirements. The good news is the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology has provided THREE (3) paths to becoming licensed. With that said,

Let’s explore each PATHWAY below:

PATHWAY 1 – EDUCATION (ACCREDITED)

The candidate MUST SUCCESSFULLY graduate from an ADA-Accredited Program for Dental Laboratory Technology or MUST have completed the Department of Defense Laboratory Technician course.

After completing the above requirements, the candidate has two (2) options to become ELIGIBLE for the Dental Lab Technician exams and become licensed  – (HIGHLIGHT)

OPTION 1

The candidate MUST complete/document at least two (2) years of training and/or experience after graduation.

Next,

The CANDIDATE must SUCCESSFULLY PASS the following exam – Written Comprehensive.

After PASSING the first exam (written comprehensive), the CANDIDATE has four (4) years to complete the remaining two (2) – Written Speciality and Practical Exam

OPTION 2

Within one (1) year of GRADUATION, the candidate MUST SUCCESSFULLY PASS the Recognized Graduate exam (substitute for the Written Comprehensive)

Next,

After PASSING the RG exam, the CANDIDATE has four (4) years to complete the remaining two (2) – Written Speciality and Practical Exam

PATHWAY 2 – EDUCATION (NON-ACCREDITED)

If the CANDIDATE graduated from a NON-ADA-ACCREDITED Dental Lab Technician program, they CAN become licensed by completing the following –

Within one (1) year of GRADUATION, the candidate MUST SUCCESSFULLY PASS the Recognized Graduate exam (substitute for the Written Comprehensive).

Next,

The candidate MUST complete/document three (3) years of training and/or work experience in dental laboratory technology after graduation.

Next,

After PASSING the RG exam, the CANDIDATE has four (4) years to complete the remaining two (2) – Written Speciality and Practical Exam

PATHWAY 3 – EXPERIENCE

The candidate MUST have training and/or experience working in dental laboratory technology for at least five (5) years. This experience CAN Include formal apprenticeships and training courses.

Or,

The candidate can COMPLETE required continuing education (CE) and experience as STATED by the Nation Board of Certification (NBC) here –

Four (4) years of experience and 75 hours of CE, or

Three (3) years of experience and 150 hours of CE, or

Two (2) years of experience and 225 hours of CE

PLEASE NOTE: When completing the continuing education (CE) requirements, they MUST meet the following criteria: • A minimum 1/3 of hours must be approved by NBC, ADA CERP, or AGD PACE. • A maximum 1/3 of hours can be claimed through a mentorship program with a CDT, DMD, or DDS. • A maximum 1/3 of hours can be claimed as self-study.

Next,

The CANDIDATE must SUCCESSFULLY PASS the following exam – Written Comprehensive.

After PASSING the first exam (written comprehensive), the CANDIDATE has four (4) years to complete the remaining two (2) – Written Speciality and Practical Exam


Dental Lab Technician Continuing Education (CE) Requirements

Once you have SUCCESSFULLY obtained your Dental Laboratory Technician license, you WILL need to complete the continuing education (CE) requirements to maintain your license. As a Certified Dental Lab Technician (CDT), you MUST RENEW your license every five (5) years as per the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology 

Every year, the candidate MUST earn twelve (12) hours of Continuing Education credits in the following – one (1) hour Regulatory Standards – six (6) hours Scientific, and five (5) hours Professional Development.


Renewing Your Dental Lab Technician License

As just mentioned above, you can RENEW your license by completing the Dental Lab Technician (CDT) continuing education (CE) requirements.

Please read section – Dental Lab Technician Continuing Education (CE) Requirements





Understanding The Certified Dental Lab Technician (CDT) Exam

After you have fulfilled the Certified Dental Lab Technician Educational Requirements and Prerequisites, you will NOW be ELIGIBLE to sit for the CDT examinations. To become FULLY certified, you will have to SUCCESSFULLY PASS the following examinations: the Written Comprehensive examination (or the Written Recognized Graduate examination, if eligible); The Written Specialty examination; and the Practical examination (in the same specialty area as the Written Specialty examination).

In this section, we will explore the examination structure, registration, scoring, etc

WRITTEN COMPREHENSIVE

FEE

The TOTAL COST of the Written Comprehensive is $255.00.

STRUCTURE

The candidate has up to two and three-quarter (2 ¾) hours to complete the examination. And the candidate MAY use as much or as little of this time as they require.

The Written Comprehensive examination is computer-based, consisting of 160 questions. These questions will be delivered in a multiple-choice format. Each question will have four (4) possible answers, and the candidate MUST select the BEST answer.

The topics covered in the Written Comprehensive examination are the following: oral anatomy, tooth morphology, materials science, health & safety, fundamental theory and terminology across the specialties tested by the NBC (Ceramics, Complete Dentures, Crown & Bridge, Implants, Orthodontics, and Partial Dentures).

You can view the TMC exam outline here – CDT Handbook and Application

SCORING

The candidate’s FINAL SCORE will be based upon the number of questions answered correctly.  All grades/scores are based on a standard the NBC believes represents basic competence in dental technology

WRITTEN SPECIALTY

FEE

The TOTAL COST of the Written Specialty is $255.00.

STRUCTURE

The candidate has up to one and a half (1 ½) hours to complete the examination. And the candidate MAY use as much or as little of this time as they require.

The Written Comprehensive examination is computer-based, consisting of 80 questions. These questions will be delivered in a multiple-choice format. Each question will have four (4) possible answers, and the candidate MUST select the BEST answer.

The topics covered will test the candidates’ knowledge in his or her chosen specialty area.

You can view the TMC exam outline here – CDT Handbook and Application

SCORING

The candidate’s FINAL SCORE will be based upon the number of questions answered correctly. All grades/scores are based on a standard the NBC believes represents basic competence in dental technology

THE PRACTICAL

FEE

The TOTAL COST of the Practical examination is $555.00.

STRUCTURE

The Practical examination is hands-on, where the candidate will demonstrate their competence over a range of procedures usually associated with their chosen specialty.

You can view the TMC exam outline here – CDT Handbook and Application

SCORING

A candidate will be evaluated by three (3) NBC Examiners who WILL use their experience and professional judgment when grading the candidate. The NBC examiners use SCORE SHEETS to grade the candidate and return these SHEETS to the NBC Headquarters for compilation/determination of all candidate’s OVERALL grades.


How to Transfer Your Certified Dental Lab Technician License to Another State

The Dental Lab Technician Certification is a Nationally recognized qualification, and therefore can be used across any State. Hence, if you decide to relocate to another STATE at any point, your certification will remain valid. We recommend contacting the STATE’s Board of Dentistry to determine if any forms or recertifications exams are required.


Certified Dental Lab Technician Career Paths

Once you have become a Certified Dental Lab Technician and have GAINED relevant experience, you WILL have the opportunity to transition into SPECIFIC specialties. Each one of these specialties come with GREATER responsibilities and a more diverse skillset. Not to mention, the upside to transitioning into a specialty is that you WILL be rewarded with HIGHER SALARY and more comprehensive benefits. As a Certified Dental Lab Technician, you MAY also transition into other roles like from a “technician” into a “team manager” and then into an “operations manager.” With that said,

Information on the various specialties available to Dental Lab Technician’s can be found here – The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology. Here are the MOST COMMON SPECIALTIES –

Crowns and Bridges, Complete Dentures, Ceramics, Partial Dentures, Orthodontics, Implants,





Dental Lab Technician Salary


The average annual salary for a Dental Laboratory Technician is $44,690, with the average Dental Laboratory Technician hourly pay being $11.38.

Figures are reflective as of November 2020 (Indeed.com)


Dental Lab Technician Industry Statistics

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Dental Lab Technician Industry Earning Potential by State

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Dental Lab Technician Highest Paying US Cities

 

Figures are reflective as of November 2020 (Indeed.com)


Choosing The BEST Dental Lab Technician Program For You

Attending a QUALITY/REPUTABLE Certified Dental Lab Technician program is ESSENTIAL to provide you with a strong foundation and prepare you for what’s ahead. As a Certified Dental Lab Technician, you will be working closely with dentists to plan, design, and construct dental prostheses for individual patients, so you will require both an in-depth knowledge of your responsibilities and a skillset to perform them too. With that said,

It’s ESSENTIAL to take into consideration various FACTORS before selecting a Dental Laboratory Technician training program. Therefore, we have listed common questions you should consider before finalizing your choice:

1) Has the Certified Dental Lab Tech program been ACCREDITED by the American Dental Association (ADA)?

To be ELIGIBLE to write the Certified Dental Laboratory Technician examinations, you MUST graduate from an accredited training program. Hence, you should ask yourself before choosing a program if it meets the American Dental Association (ADA) requirements and standards. Graduating from a NON-ACCREDITED dental lab tech program will NOT provide you with the foundation, skills, and knowledge you need to successfully perform your job and WILL make you INELIGIBLE for the written/practical examinations.

2) What is the LENGTH of the Dental Laboratory Technician training program? Full-time, Part-time, or Online?

Before choosing a program, it is IMPORTANT to re-evaluate your priorities and your flexibility. Some schools offer only full-time training programs, and this MAY NOT fit into your schedule, especially if you are working part-time. However, some schools offer a Dental Lab Technician training program, both part-time and online, which MAY suit you much better than a full-time program. With that said, choose a program that WILL fit into your schedule BEST and one which allows you to GAIN the MOST value in terms of knowledge, skills, and more.

Another critical point to note is that choosing a part-time program MAY increase the pace at which the training is provided by compressing the curriculum into a shorter period. This learning style MAY NOT be suitable to you and MAYBE too fast lowering the OVERALL value you gain from the program itself. In this case, a FULL-TIME program may be a better option.

3) Are there any applicable student reviews/ratings about the Certified Dental Lab Technician Program Offered?

One of the BEST sources of information on the quality of education the school/training program provides is reading the reviews left by those currently attending the program or those who recently graduated from it. You can find reviews on the program’s quality by doing a quick search on Google or, if you have more time, by visiting the campus to GAIN feedback from the current students. We also encourage you to visit the campus and speak to the program director to ask specific questions about the training so you can understand what value it can provide for you specifically.

4) Does the Dental Lab Technician program offer opportunities to transition into other progressive roles or further education? How about work opportunities?

As A Dental Lab Technician, you WILL have opportunities to progress through your career, leading to more responsibilities, higher pay, and benefits. However, you MAY have to further your education and write additional exams related to the specialty to progress into these other prospective roles. With that said,

If you plan to specialize in specific areas as a dental lab technician, you want to attend a training school that WILL help you in your journey by offering other certification programs after graduation. Not only that, it’s equally IMPORTANT to choose a training school that works closely with employers in the healthcare profession because this can lead to accelerated job opportunities after you GRADUATE from the program.

5) Where is the Certified Dental Lab Technician program located?

Some accredited/reputable training programs MAY be located in another city, requiring you to travel every day for hours. This schedule MAY NOT be suitable for you because of your current work, life, and family situation. We encourage you to consider where the Dental Lab Technician program is located before finalizing your choice.


Search Dental Lab Technician Jobs In Your Area



Additional Resources

How to Become a Medical Laboratory Technician – A Complete Guide
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How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant – A Complete Guide
How To Become A Respiratory Therapist – A Complete Guide

 



Author: careercrawlers

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