Dental Laboratory Technician Career Plan

Dental laboratory technicians make and repair everything from retainers to realistic artificial teeth. Are you interested in using your art and science skills to become a dental lab tech? Here are some steps to get you started.

  1. Take advantage of high school opportunities. Your diploma is the foundation for laboratory education and employment. In addition to basic coursework like science and composition, you may want to take classes in art and shop. Explore metals or ceramics – you’ll be using these materials on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also recommends computer courses.

  2. Do some career exploration to confirm your job choice. If you’re 20 or younger, you may want to contact Learning for Life, an organization that helps young people with their career explorations. The organization lists building a dental crown among the things that prospective health students may get a chance to do. There are also some good resources on the web. You can find an educational video on the National Association of Dental Laboratories site.

  3. Depending on needs in your area – and your own professionalism — you may find someone willing to train you. You can try pounding the pavement with resume in hand or checking your state’s workforce site. Otherwise, enroll in a formal program that is CDA accredited. You may have to pass technical requirements for admission. For example, you may need to make a wax carving.

  4. Complete professional coursework.

  5. Pursue Recognized Graduate status by taking a test offered by the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology. It’s not required, but it’s an asset.

  6. Use networking and online resources to find a position. You can visit the NADL site for career-related resources.

Personality Traits: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manual dexterity and artistic aptitude are important traits for dental lab techs. Laboratory technicians should also be comfortable working alone; there isn’t as much patient interaction as there is in many health careers.