The healthcare field is experiencing rapid growth. Even as the country suffers through a recession, jobs in healthcare continue to multiply. A medical or dental path is a secure choice for schooling, with a high probability of employment.
A highly rewarding and less mainstream dental profession is that of a dental technician.
What is a Dental Technician
The American Dental Association (ADA) refers to the field of dental technicians as both a science and an art. The ADA 1998 publication lists the traits of a quality dental lab technician as: skilled in using small hand instruments, accurate, artistic ability, and attention to minute detail. A profession where you work with your hands, dental technicians create dental prosthetics – replacements for lost natural teeth. These can range from dentures, crowns, and bridges.
Most lab technicians work in a small laboratory with a group of other technicians. However, there are larger laboratories with 100+ technicians, as well as some dental offices that also include a dental laboratory. The technician receives a patient prescription from the dentist, and works independently. The 2009 General Dental Council (GDC) publication notes that, “Dental technicians do not provide treatment or give advice to patients.” Techs make extensive use of artistic skills as they craft, mold, and shape dental prosthetics.
The educational requirement for a dental technician is a high school diploma, with many continuing on to a dental technician college. At the dental college, students will receive a dental technician certificate, making them far more competitive in the job market.
Why is this a good career
The Bureau of Labor Statistic found that in 2010 there were 40,900 dental laboratory technician jobs in the United States. While this figure is unlikely to change more than 1% between 2010-2020, it is still an in-demand and stable profession. The ADA 2009 publication lists some of the many career advantages of dental lab techs as: flexibility, independence, creativity, security, and personal fulfillment.
Creativity and artistry is at the core of the lab tech field – with professionals using fine motor tools to shape and create. Working in the mediums of plastics, metals, and porcelain, a laboratory technician’s artistic skill is key to his or her success. The dental tech field has many opportunities for advancement and growth, but also allows individuals to work independently, with almost no patient interaction.
Why Florida National University
Florida National University (FNU) is the only South Florida/Miami school that offers a dental laboratory technician program. The rigorous and comprehensive program fully prepares its students to enter the work force. FNU offers three on-campus programs: Dental Laboratory Technician (DT), Dental Laboratory Technician – full and partial dentures (DT CBP), and Dental Laboratory Technician Crown and Bridge and Porcelain (DT CBP.) Each program issues a diploma upon completion. FNU takes great pride in the quality of their program and the high standards and expertise of the professionals they create.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2012). Occupational outlook handbook, 2012-13 edition, Dental laboratory technicians. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/dental-laboratory-technicians.htm
General Dental Council. (2009). Scope of Practice. London: England. General Dental Council. Retrieved
American Dental Association. (1998). Careers in the dental profession: Word of mouth. Retrieved from http://www.ada.org/sections/educationAndCareers/pdfs/brochure_dentallab.pdf