Dental technician

Dental technologist

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

Salary range: £24,214 to £43,772

How to become a dental technician

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could do a foundation degree or degree in dental technology approved by the General Dental Council.

You’re likely to need a degree qualification to do advanced dental technology work.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More information

College

You can do a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Dental Technology, approved by the General Dental Council.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science

More information

Apprenticeship

You can get into this role through a higher apprenticeship as a dental technician.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More information

Work

You can work as a trainee dental technician with a practice and study part-time. This could take up to 5 years, depending on which qualification you do.

More information

Registration

Professional and industry bodies

You could join The Dental Technologists Association, for professional development and training opportunities.

Further information

You can get more details about how to become a dental technician from Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • the ability to work well with others
  • thinking and reasoning skills

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your tasks will depend on your specialism and could include:

  • 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

Working environment

You could work in a laboratory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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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