How to Become a

Dental Lab Technician

The complete career guide to be a Dental Lab Technician: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $40,520
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 10.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Dental lab technicians craft dental appliances based on specifications provided by dentists. They work in labs and create dentures, veneers, crowns, braces, and mouth guards, among other dental appliances. Dental lab technicians primarily interface with dentists and rarely—if ever—work with patients.

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What is a Dental Lab Technician?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in dental lab technician roles:

  • Craft dental appliances such as dentures, crowns, veneers, braces, removable bridges, and mouth guards
  • Ensure delivered appliances match specifications supplied by dentists, are free of rough spots and imperfections, and look like natural teeth when applicable
  • Work with metal, plastic, wax, and porcelain
  • Craft dental-appliances by hand or oversee the production and accuracy of appliances created by computer-guided machinery

A Day in the Life

Dental lab technicians work in one of two places: either in commercial dental laboratories or in individual dental offices that maintain their own small dental labs. Those that work in commercial laboratories never interact with patients, but those working in small labs could rarely have some interaction with patients under the dentist’s supervision. The primary role of the dental lab technician is behind-the-scenes patient care through the creation of natural-looking and functional dental appliances.

Dental lab technicians create dental appliances using impressions supplied by dentists. They create any types of appliances a patient might need. For patients with no teeth, lab technicians create dentures. For those with missing teeth, lab technicians create implants, bridge crowns, and removable bridges. They also create crowns and veneers for patients with cosmetic concerns or severe decay, and they create braces for teeth straightening and mouth guards that prevent teeth grinding during sleep.

Depending on the type of lab the technician works in, he/she may craft appliances by hand, or may oversee the creation of appliances by a computer-guided machine. In either scenario, the dental lab technician is responsible for ensuring the produced appliances match specifications, are free from rough spots and other defects, and look like natural teeth when applicable. The goal of the dental lab technician is to produce products that fit patients properly and look natural when installed.

Typical Work Schedule

Most dental lab technicians work full-time hours. Overtime may be required on occasion, but is rare.

Projected Job Growth

Demand for dental lab technicians is expected to grow in coming years due to an increased number of people carrying dental insurance and increased demand due to more affordable costs.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: Dental Lab Technician
  • Mid-Career: Lab Technician Supervisor, Dental Lab Manager
  • Late Career: Dental Lab Owner, Dental Laboratory Technician Educator

Typical Employers

Most dental lab technicians work for commercial dental labs that employ dozens of technicians to process orders from dentists’ offices. However, some dental offices may maintain in-office dental labs, so some dental lab technicians work in these smaller laboratories that employ fewer technicians.

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How To Become a Dental Lab Technician

No formal higher education is required to become a dental lab technician. Applicants need only to have a high school diploma. They’re generally hired as helpers that receive on-the-job training, and start their careers creating very basic dental appliances. After time and a lot of training, they may qualify to begin creating more advanced appliances like crowns and braces.

While no formal higher education is required, some aspiring dental lab technicians get a head start on the competition and make themselves more competitive for open positions by pursuing a certificate in dental laboratory technology. These certificate programs are offered through community, technical, and vocational colleges and can replace some of the on-the-job training required for newly hired dental lab technicians with no formal experience.

After gaining several years of experience, dental lab technicians may qualify for promotions into positions like lab technician supervisor or lab manager. Additionally, some dental lab technicians go on to own and operate their own dental labs late in their careers. Some may also acquire jobs educating aspiring dental lab technicians late in their careers, though most educator jobs will require applicants to hold at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify for open positions at junior colleges and vocational schools.

Dental Lab Technician Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Dental Lab Technician salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Dental Lab Technician's can make an average annual salary of $40,520, or $19 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $28,570 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #519 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Dental Lab Technician. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Dental Lab Technicians

  • 0.8%   Doctorate
  • 1.8%   Masters
  • 13%   Bachelors
  • 16.6%   Associates
  • 33%   College
  • 29.1%   High School
  • 5.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Dental Lab Technician job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 4,200 jobs for a total of 42,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 10.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #167 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Dental Lab Technicians

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing 29,000 3,100 3%
Offices of dentists 5,000 900 1%
Self-employed workers 3,200 100 0%

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