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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Laboratory Technicians in West Valley City, Utah

Dental laboratory technician career and educational opportunities abound in West Valley City, Utah. Currently, 2,030 people work as dental laboratory technicians in Utah. This is expected to grow 45% to about 2,940 people 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. In general, dental laboratory technicians construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.

Dental laboratory technicians earn approximately $15 per hour or $31,440 per year on average in Utah. 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 Utah and better than general Medical and Dental category earnings nationally.

The West Valley City area is home to thirty-three schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of West Valley City where you can get a degree as a dental laboratory technician. The most common level of education for dental laboratory technicians is a high school diploma or GED. 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

AmeriTech College - Draper, UT

AmeriTech College, 12257 South Business Park Drive-Ste 108, Draper, UT 84020-6545. AmeriTech College is a small college located in Draper, Utah. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 317 students and an admission rate of 82%. AmeriTech College has a one to two year program in Dental Laboratory Technology/Technician which graduated nine 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: West Valley City, Utah

West Valley City, Utah
West Valley City, Utah photo by Joe Tordiff

West Valley City is situated in Salt Lake County, Utah. It has a population of over 123,447, which has grown by 13.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in West Valley City, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in West Valley City are valued at $108,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, ninety-eight new homes were constructed in West Valley City, down from two hundred thirty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in West Valley City are finance and insurance, health care, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 11.4% of West Valley City residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 2.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in West Valley City is 8.3%, which is greater than Utah's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of West Valley City residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 67.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Atonement Lutheran Church and Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church are some of the churches located in West Valley City. The most common religious groups are the LDS (Mormon) Church, the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

West Valley City is home to the Valley Indoor Market Place and the Mini Warehouse Condominium. Shopping malls in the area include Redwood Shopping Center, Valley Fair Mall and Granger Shopping Center.