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Careers: Dental Laboratory Technician

Dental laboratory technicians are independent members of the dental team who work in laboratories. They make all types of dental restorations, prostheses and appliances. Dental lab technicians use laboratory techniques to make crowns and bridges, veneers, mouthguards, orthodontic retainers, complete dentures and removable partial dentures.

EDUCATION
A high school diploma is required. Formal training includes two years of education in an accredited dental laboratory technology program at a college or vocational-technical center.

DEGREE
Graduates of an accredited dental laboratory technology program receive a certificate or associate degree (AS). After graduation or sufficient, on-the-job training (apprenticeship), the student is qualified to take the national board examination for certification in dental laboratory technology. After passing the certification exam, the student becomes a certified dental technician (CDT).

AVAILABILITY OF PROGRAMS
There are four accredited dental laboratory technology programs in Florida. They are located at community colleges, vocational-technical centers and private institutions.

COST OF EDUCATION
The cost to complete a dental laboratory technology program ranges from $1,200 to $3,500 in a public program and up to $15,000 in a private program.

FINANCIAL AID
There are several private, state, and federal loans available for qualified applicants.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES
There are more than 1,000 private registered dental laboratories in Florida. Also, many dentists employ dental laboratory technicians who work directly for their offices.

SALARY
Dental technician salaries start at $6 to $8 per hour depending on geographic area. A technician can become certified in crown and bridge, ceramics, full dentures, partial dentures or orthodontics. A fully trained technician's salary can range from $26,000 to $48,000 yearly.

BENEFITS
Benefits vary depending upon the policies of individual dental laboratories or dental offices.

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