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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Laboratory Technicians in San Antonio, Texas

Dental laboratory technicians can find many career and educational opportunities in the San Antonio, Texas area. About 2,610 people are currently employed as dental laboratory technicians in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 13% to about 2,960 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for dental laboratory technicians are expected to grow by about 13.9%. 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 hourly or $34,170 yearly. Earnings for dental laboratory technicians are better than earnings in the general category of Medical and Dental in Texas and better than general Medical and Dental category earnings nationally.

There are forty schools of higher education in the San Antonio area, including two within twenty-five miles of San Antonio where you can get a degree to start your career as a dental laboratory technician. Given that the most common education level for dental laboratory technicians is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio - San Antonio, TX

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is a small university located in San Antonio, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,023 students and an admission rate of 19%. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has a bachelor's degree program in Dental Laboratory Technology/Technician which graduated three students in 2008.

San Antonio College - San Antonio, TX

San Antonio College, 1300 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212-4299. San Antonio College is a large college located in San Antonio, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,713 students. San Antonio College has an associate's degree program in Dental Laboratory Technology/Technician which graduated six students 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: San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas photo by Zereshk

San Antonio is situated in Bexar County, Texas. It has a population of over 1,351,305, which has grown by 18.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Antonio, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in San Antonio are valued at $174,900 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 2,665 new homes were constructed in San Antonio, down from 4,253 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Antonio are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 24 minutes. More than 21.6% of San Antonio residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Antonio is 6.6%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of San Antonio residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 65.1%, is more than both the national and state average. El Buen Samaritano United Methodist Church, Pentecostal Holiness Church and Pentecostal Home Missionary Church are all churches located in San Antonio. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

San Antonio is home to the Monte Vista Residential Historic District and the Main and Military Plazas Historic District as well as Kennedy Park and Buckeye Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Park Mall, Windsor Park Shopping Center and Wonderland Shopping Center. Visitors to San Antonio can choose from Alpha Hotel, Alamo Executive Suites Inc and Chevy Chase Apartments & Townhomes for temporary stays in the area.