Engineering design

Dental technician

Dental technicians design, make and repair the dental appliances used for improving a patients’ appearance, speech or ability to chew.

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £58,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

6%
Future employment

There will be 6% more Dental technician jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You’ll usually work in commercial dental lab. You could also work in a community or hospital dental service or the armed forces. You’ll specialise in:

  • orthodontics - creating plastic or metal devices, such as braces to straighten teeth
  • crown and bridge work - making items to cement in place
  • prosthetics - producing plastic dentures or implants

You'll work with materials like porcelain, gold and plastic, and use the latest techniques and tools.

In a private dental lab, you'll work for a range of dental practices. In a hospital, you'll work with dental and oral surgeons, and patients.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could do a foundation degree or degree in dental technology approved by the General Dental Council.

You're likely to need a degree qualification to do advanced dental technology work.

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level for a foundation degree 
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

College

You can do a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Dental Technology, approved by the General Dental Council.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and science

Apprenticeship

You can get into this role through a higher apprenticeship as a dental technician.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

Work

You can work as a trainee dental technician with a practice and study part-time. This could take up to 5 years, depending on which qualification you do.

More information

Registration

  • You'll need to register with the GDC

Professional and industry bodies

You could join The Dental Technologists Association, for professional development and training opportunities.

You can get more details about how to become a dental technician from Health Careers.

£22,000 to £58,000

Starter salary: £22,000 to £28,500

Experienced salary: up to £41,000 (dental technician advanced)

These figures are for the NHS but salaries in the private sector are similar.

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

Dental technicians usually work about 40 hours a week.

You’ll usually be based in a lab, working alone or as part of a team.

You could train as a healthcare scientist, specialising in reconstructive sciences, like maxillo-facial prosthetics through the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).

With experience you could set up your own laboratory, or work abroad.

In a commercial lab, you could become a senior or chief technician. Or you could move into quality control, sales or management. You could also become a teacher.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • the ability to work well with others
  • thinking and reasoning skills
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