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How do I Become a Dental Technologist?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 01 August 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Dental technicians and technologists work in specialized clinical laboratories at dental clinics and private dentists' offices. Professionals create prosthetic teeth and metal coverings according to x-rays and dentists' specifications. The education and training requirements to become a dental technologist vary between regions and employers, but most workers complete two-year training programs at vocational schools to master necessary skills and build their credentials. After landing an entry-level technician job, an individual can become a dental technologist by gaining one to two years of experience and passing a voluntary certification exam.

A high school diploma and an earnest desire to learn the trade are sufficient to become a dental technologist in some regions. A person who does not want to pursue higher education can improve his or her chances of finding employment by developing the personal skills necessary to succeed in the position. Dental technologists must be adept at interpreting pictures and documents, working with their hands, and communicating effectively with supervisors and coworkers. Knowledge of facial anatomy is also very important, and an individual can prepare for the job by studying information in library books and reliable Internet documents dedicated to the subject.

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Most dentists prefer to hire new technologists who have gained formal education in two-year community college or technical school programs. A student who enrolls in a dental technology program can expect to take both classroom and laboratory courses to learn about the terminology, skills, and responsibilities related to the profession. A successful student earns either an associate's degree or a certificate of completion, and can begin browsing newspapers and online job boards for openings in his or her area.

It may be possible to become a dental technologist right away at a small clinic or dentist's office, but most new professionals begin their careers as assistants or technicians. A new employee receives on-the-job training from experienced technologists to become familiar with specific laboratory procedures. In time, he or she may be given the chance to perform relatively simple tasks, such as molding porcelain crowns. A skilled assistant can usually become a dental technologist in less than two years.

Some regions and countries require new technologists to take licensing examinations before working independently. Even when licensure is not a requirement, a professional may decide to take a certification exam administered by a national organization to improve his or her credentials and chances for advancement. Many dental technologists eventually become lead supervisors within clinics, performing administrative duties and overseeing the work of other technologists to ensure quality.

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