Dental laboratory technicians, like any other professionals, need to undergo training to prepare themselves for work. Certification is also necessary if they want to find better opportunities in the field.
Dental lab technician Education and Training Requirements
Dental lab technicians may choose to finish a two-year program at a technical college, vocational school, community college, or university and earn a certificate or associate degree. Some schools also offer a four-year program in dental technology that will earn the students a bachelor’s degree.
Those who want to take a dental lab technician program must finish high school or pass their GED first. Some schools may have other specific requirements.
Students who are interested in this profession should only take dental lab technology programs accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. As of 2014, there are about 24 accredited programs for aspiring dental lab technicians in the United States.
Dental Laboratory Technician Certification
Dental lab technicians can obtain their certification by passing the exam that assesses their knowledge and technical skills in the field. The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology administers the exam and allows the use of the title as a Certified Dental Technician (CDT) for those who pass the exam. CDTs may choose to specialize in removable partial dentures, complete dentures, ceramics, crown and bridge, orthodontics or implants.
Dental lab technicians who want to become a CDT must complete a two-year or four-year dental technology program and pass two written exams and a practical exam.
To keep their certification current, dental lab technicians must complete 12 hours of continuing education every year. Technicians who have limited responsibilities but want to obtain a Certificate of Competency must take and pass a written and practical exam in dental technology. They do not need to complete continuing education units then.
Importance of dental lab tech Certification
Although most states do not have minimum requirements for dental lab technicians, the industry does encourage standards as proof of the competency of the technicians. This should help provide the patient with peace of mind.
Since the area of dental technology is a constantly changing one, just like with any other medical fields, new techniques, materials and equipment are expected to be introduced frequently. Dental lab technicians will be able to keep up with these changes through seminars and training courses.
Technicians who have educational and training experience for at least five years will do better by taking the certification exam for CDTs. Since most states do not oblige their dental lab technicians to become registered or certified, those who took the initiative to be certified express willingness to show that they respect the established standards. Their certification will also prove their professionalism and view on quality.
Find out more about dental laboratory technician job description.
Online Programs for Dental laboratory technicians
Dental laboratory technology programs are also available online, although these are usually rare. Most of these programs are only available through campus-based programs due to the constant need for hands-on training and clinical experience.
Online programs may offer lectures over the Internet, but may require students to take campus-based lab courses and take exams on-site.