We're building a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Dental technician Dental technologist

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

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.

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.

Related careers

You may be interested in:

Last updated: 29 June 2018

Exam results helpline from 16 to 31 August

Once you've got your exam results, get help from a careers adviser on your options, and what to do next.

Call 0800 100 900

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

Calls are free from landlines and most mobile numbers.

Follow us on twitter for ongoing support