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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Laboratory Technicians in Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for dental laboratory technicians. There are currently 660 working dental laboratory technicians in Tennessee; this should grow 20% to about 790 working dental laboratory technicians in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for dental laboratory technicians, which sees this job pool growing by about 13.9% over the next eight years. Dental laboratory technicians generally construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.

Income for dental laboratory technicians is about $15 per hour or $31,520 annually on average in Tennessee. Nationally, their income is about $16 per hour or $34,170 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental, people working as dental laboratory technicians in Tennessee earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental nationally.

The Nashville-Davidson area is home to fifty schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Nashville-Davidson where you can get a degree as a dental laboratory technician. Dental laboratory technicians usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a dental laboratory technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Dental Laboratory Technician

Dental Laboratory Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, dental laboratory technicians construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.

Dental laboratory technicians read prescriptions or specifications, and examine models and impressions, to establish the layout of dental products to be constructed. They also test appliances for conformance to given requirements and precision of occlusion, using articulators and micrometers. Finally, dental laboratory technicians fabricate and repair dental devices such as dentures and appliances for straightening teeth.

Every day, dental laboratory technicians are expected to be able to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for dental laboratory technicians to melt metals or mix plaster, porcelain, or acrylic pastes, and pour materials into molds or over frameworks to fashion dental prostheses or apparatus. They are often called upon to remove excess metal or porcelain, and polish surfaces of prostheses or frameworks, using polishing machines. They also place tooth models on apparatus that mimics bite and movement of patient's jaw to review functionality of model. They are sometimes expected to develop a model of patient's mouth by pouring plaster into a dental impression and allowing plaster to set. Somewhat less frequently, dental laboratory technicians are also expected to read prescriptions or specifications, and examine models and impressions, to establish the layout of dental products to be constructed.

Dental laboratory technicians sometimes are asked to fill chipped or low spots in surfaces of devices, using acrylic resins. They also have to be able to fabricate and repair dental devices such as dentures and appliances for straightening teeth and shape and solder wire and metal frames or bands for dental products, using soldering irons and hand tools. And finally, they sometimes have to ready wax bite-blocks and impression trays for use.

Like many other jobs, dental laboratory technicians must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Dental Laboratory Technician Training

Tennessee Technology Center at Nashville - Nashville, TN

Tennessee Technology Center at Nashville, 100 White Bridge Rd, Nashville, TN 37209-4515. Tennessee Technology Center at Nashville is a small school located in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 713 students. Tennessee Technology Center at Nashville has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Dental Laboratory Technology/Technician which graduated four and eighteen students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Dental Technician: Certification is the process of assessing a dental technician's knowledge and applied skill level necessary to perform the tasks required of a dental technician.

For more information, see the National Board for Certification - National Association of Dental Laboratories website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee
Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee photo by Kaldari

Nashville-Davidson is located in Williamson County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 596,462, which has grown by 9.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Nashville-Davidson, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Nashville-Davidson are priced at $196,100 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, 1,483 new homes were constructed in Nashville-Davidson, down from 3,070 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Nashville-Davidson are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 29.7% of Nashville-Davidson residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Nashville-Davidson residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.2%, is more than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.