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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Laboratory Technicians in Brownsville, Texas

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for dental laboratory technicians in the Brownsville, Texas area. There are currently 2,610 jobs for dental laboratory technicians in Texas and this is projected to grow 13% to 2,960 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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.

Dental laboratory technicians earn approximately $15 per hour or $31,210 annually on average in Texas. Nationally they average about $16 per hour or $34,170 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental, people working as dental laboratory technicians in Texas earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental nationally.

The Brownsville area is home to ten schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Brownsville where you can get a degree as a dental laboratory technician. Dental laboratory technicians usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying 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

Texas State Technical College Harlingen - Harlingen, TX

Texas State Technical College Harlingen, 1902 North Loop 499, Harlingen, TX 78550-3697. Texas State Technical College Harlingen is a medium sized college located in Harlingen, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,477 students. Texas State Technical College Harlingen has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Dental Laboratory Technology/Technician which graduated two and six 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: Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville, Texas
Brownsville, Texas photo by Jaedza

Brownsville is situated in Cameron County, Texas. It has a population of over 175,494, which has grown by 25.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Brownsville, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Brownsville cost $102,100 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, four hundred sixty-four new homes were constructed in Brownsville, down from eight hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Brownsville are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 13.4% of Brownsville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Brownsville is 10.8%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Brownsville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Calvario Lutheran Church, Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana Mexicana Church and Church of Christ are some of the churches located in Brownsville. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Brownsville is home to the Resaca de la Palma Battlefield and the Miguel Fernandez Hide Yard as well as Friendship Gardens and Washington Park. Visitors to Brownsville can choose from Best Western Rose Garden Inn, Comfort Inn and Best Value Colonial Hotel for temporary stays in the area.