Dental technicians are professionals who are responsible for making bridges and crowns, dentures and other dental prosthetics. They also work with orthodontic appliances to improve the oral performance of patients. Aspiring dental technicians have the opportunity to learn the real job skills by taking direct training from denturists in actual lab settings. However, an associate degree program in the field can provide the aspiring technicians with the essential educational background and the foundation to work in the setting of a professional lab. Candidates who want to achieve further expertise can pursue professional certification, which requires passing certain examinations and meeting the necessary educational requirements.
Students who enroll in a certain dental technology course will learn the basics of dental technology which includes the history, ethics of the dental profession and some basic laboratory techniques and procedures.
Dental technicians educational and training requirements
All aspired candidates receive the required education, through a two-year university degree program or a program at a community or technical college. Graduates will receive a certificate or an associate degree after completing the course. There are also several programs that provide four year degree programs in dental technology. For applying to the dental technology program, one must also possess a high school diploma. In addition to high school diploma, they should also have strong knowledge and educational background in science, maths and communication.
There is no definite path for becoming a dental technician, but there are some schools that offer associate dental technology courses which provides the necessary training along with the course.
With appropriate qualifications and experience in the field, dental technicians can get posted as chief technicians, in teaching field or in quality control field. One can also get specialized as clinical dental technicians or orthodontic therapists. You also have the opportunity to apply for the training program as healthcare scientists, though a training program provided by the National Health Service. The training program is a graduate entry program in which you will be paid during the training period.
Dental technician job experience and clinical training
During the degree program, technicians will also receive a clinical training which includes laboratory work which is supervised by qualified professionals. This will give the students an opportunity to gain practical experience which will be useful for getting into the real experience in the field. Though the basic knowledge is acquired during the degree program, much of the experience of a dental technician is gained during the job training after being hired.
If you wish to work as a dental technician, you need to register with the General Dental Council (GDC). For registering with GDC, the students must successfully complete courses which are approved by the GDC.
The courses within a degree certification program related to dental technology will cover the fundamentals of oral anatomy and lab skills. The course will include the subjects dental terminology, anatomy, prosthetics, dental materials, dental morphology, ceramic restorations and similar topics.
For dental technicians, an associate degree is not a must to excel in the field. They can complete certain certification programs to become a dental technician.