Updated on March 7, 2024
3 min read

What Is a Dental Laboratory Technician?

NewMouth is reader supported. We may earn a commission if you purchase something using one of our links. Advertising Disclosure.

Various career paths are available in the dental field. One significant career option is becoming a dental laboratory technician. 

Let’s explore what a dental laboratory technician does and the skills required for this profession.

What Does a Dental Lab Technician Do?

A dental laboratory technician is responsible for creating dental prosthetics. This includes creating:

  • Dentures, including full and partial dentures 
  • Veneers
  • Implants, crowns, and bridges
  • Dental appliances like mouthguards
  • Orthodontic appliances like retainers, space maintainers, and expanders

Dental laboratory technicians are also responsible for dental prosthetic repairs. They help restore and repair broken dental appliances. 

Unseen dental Technician Making a Crown in a dental facility

Where Do Dental Lab Technicians Work?

Dental lab technicians usually work at dental laboratories. These laboratories are usually large commercial dental laboratories or a part of manufacturing companies.  

Some dental lab technicians work directly with dental clinics. This is more common for clinics that have an in-house laboratory. 

In some cases, they may also work as part of a research and development team. These teams conduct material testing, prototype development, and quality control of dental prostheses.

Educational and Training Requirements of a Dental Lab Technician

You don’t need a college degree to become a dental lab technician. People with a high school diploma can enter this career.

However, most dental laboratories require people to finish a specialized dental laboratory technology program. There are also 2-year dental technician programs available in colleges and dental schools.

Once you finish training, you must take the test at the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology. This will assess your competency in various areas of dental laboratory technology. Passing this exam will earn you the title of Certified Dental Technician (CDT).2,3

What Skills Do Dental Lab Technicians Need?

Dental technicians must possess certain skills to help them succeed at their jobs. Some notable skills include:

  • Hand-eye coordination ⁠— Creating dental prosthetics requires excellent hand-eye coordination for shaping prosthetics or handling small components
  • Attention to detail ⁠— Dental lab technicians need to be detail-oriented so that they’re precise in creating prosthetics  
  • Ability to work independently ⁠— Technicians must follow a dentist’s prescription without much supervision
  • Good communication ⁠— Effective communication is essential to build rapport with colleagues and patients
  • Color perception ⁠— Following the colors of the teeth and gums is important in creating natural-looking dental prosthetics

How Much Do Dental Lab Technicians Make?

The salary of dental laboratory technicians is $19.80 per hour. This is roughly $41,180 per year.1

The salary can go up as high as $35.79 per hour.4 It will vary depending on your experience and where you practice. 

What Is the Job Outlook for Dental Lab Technicians?

The job outlook for dental lab technicians looks positive. Here are some data from Zippia.com:5

  • From 2018 to 2028, the projected job growth rate is at 2%
  • The salary for dental lab technicians has increased by 12% over the past five years
  • Maine has the highest employment rate for dental lab technicians at 14%

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports the following:1

  • About 8,300 openings for dental lab technicians are projected each year
  • The increasing number of older adults will boost the demand for dental prosthetics, but 3D printing and other laborsaving technologies may negatively impact the demand for dental lab technicians


Dental lab technicians are responsible for creating dental and orthodontic care appliances. They typically work in dental laboratories and offices. If you’re interested in dental technology and craftsmanship, a dental lab technician career may suit you.

Last updated on March 7, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on March 7, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram