Currently there is a great demand for dental laboratory technologists. The National Institute of Business Management identified Dental Technology as the 3rd fastest growing profession in the United States, Newsday survey placed it 2nd in New York State, and the United States Occupational Handbook listed it as growing much faster than the national average.
In the past, many people have been completely unaware of dental technology; therefore, this career has not historically attracted large number of new entries into the field. But as restorative dentistry became more sophisticated and technologically advanced, the dental profession started seeking highly skilled dental technologists to provide the products and services required to offer the best treatment to the patients. At the same time, the US military services, once the largest single source of dental technology education, are training fewer technicians and every year dental schools are becoming fewer in number.
Today, most dental technologists are employed in commercial dental laboratories which provide services to a number of different dentists. Commercial laboratories vary in size from 2 to over 800 employees. Also, some of the private dental offices have their own in-house laboratories usually with one or two technologists providing the laboratory work for just the dentist(s) practicing in the office. Various government and private hospitals as well as companies that manufacture dental materials will also provide training and employment for a number of dental technologists. Then again, experienced technologists may find various teaching positions in schools specializing in dental laboratory technology education.
For those who are interested in owning their own business someday, dental technology is an excellent field to grow. However, it is imperative that technologists, who wish to become entrepreneurs, first educate themselves in various stages of dental laboratory technology as well as in sound business practices. Because of wide variety of employment settings and wide possible range of skills and skill levels, it is difficult to establish meaningful averages for technicians’ earnings. Based on advertised salaries, a skilled technician employed in a quality-oriented laboratory presently might expect to earn annually in the $40,000-$70,000 range. A laboratory owner’s earnings will depend largely on the clientele he/she decides to serve, and more importantly, on his or her financial management skills.