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Dental technician Dental technologist

Dental technicians design, make and repair the dental appliances used for improving a patients’ appearance, speech or ability to chew.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £58,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need:

You could study full-time, which is usually 3 to 4 years for a degree. You'll then apply for a job once you’ve finished your training.

If you want to study part-time, you’ll need to apply for a trainee post and train while you work. This could take up to 5 years.

You'll need colour-normal vision.

Health Careers has information on careers and training as a dental technician.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to understand technical instructions
  • practical skills and a steady hand
  • creative skills
  • the ability to concentrate for long periods of time

3. What you'll do

You’ll usually work in commercial dental lab. You could also work in a community or hospital dental service or the armed forces. You’ll specialise in:

  • orthodontics - creating plastic or metal devices, such as braces to straighten teeth
  • crown and bridge work - making items to cement in place
  • prosthetics - producing plastic dentures or implants

You'll work with materials like porcelain, gold and plastic, and use the latest techniques and tools.

In a private dental lab, you'll work for a range of dental practices. In a hospital, you'll work with dental and oral surgeons, and patients.

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 to £28,500

Experienced: up to £41,000 (dental technician advanced)

Highly Experienced: up to £58,000 (manager)

These figures are for the NHS but salaries in the private sector are similar.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Dental technicians usually work about 40 hours a week.

You’ll usually be based in a lab, working alone or as part of a team.

6. Career path and progression

You could train as a healthcare scientist, specialising in reconstructive sciences, like maxillo-facial prosthetics through the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).

With experience you could set up your own laboratory, or work abroad.

In a commercial lab, you could become a senior or chief technician. Or you could move into quality control, sales or management. You could also become a teacher.

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Last updated: 05 May 2017