The average dental lab technician salary is roughly $35,000. With certification, that jumps to $41,000. More experienced dental lab technicians earn $61,000.
The average salary range, however, for the dental lab technician is $20,940 to $58,560. Supervisors or the dental lab technician jump to a $50,000 to $75,000 annual salary range.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average pay per hour for the dental lab technician was $16.74. The lowest 10% make $10.27 and the top 10% make $28.07. Considering the average dental lab technician salary equates to $18.12 an hour, it is better for this job to work for a salary than by the hour.
How to Increase Your Salary
Some dental lab technicians move up in supervisory roles, but others move into education. Working in an education facility pays better. The dental lab technician salary in an education facility is more than $44,000 and if she works in a federal facility, she will make more than $53,000 a year.
Location, Location, Location
Areas with higher costs of living pay more. For example, The Washington D.C. area pays an average of $30.21, while the average dental lab technician salary in Delaware is only $13.27. But the cost of living for the area also impacts the buying power of your salary.
Higher Education = Higher Salary
Although some dental lab technicians come onto the job with no training, those who complete a training or diploma program through an American Dental Association accredited school (vocational, community college, or dental institute) tend to command a higher salary or per hour rate. An associates program takes roughly 2 years.
Some dental lab technicians decide to continue on and get their bachelor’s degree. To become a fully trained technician on the job will take roughly four years. If you opt for an associates degree, you will still need hands-on training before you are eligible to become certified as a dental technician.
The Future For Dental Lab Technicians
There is expected to be a continuing growth in demand for the dental lab technician. So an investment in dental lab technician training programs is a sound one.
Certification increases marketability as well as salary range. Seek certification through the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology, which is through the Dental Assisting National Board. The Certified Dental Technical (CDT) is obtained by passing three exams.
Where to Work?
Over half of the dental lab technicians working today work for small, privately owned laboratories with less than five employees. But others work in large labs where a thousand employees come each day. Small labs usually hire dental technicians who perform all of the steps from start to finish to create an appliance. But larger labs mean more division of labor and each employee will typically do one step of the whole process.
Can You Open Your Own Lab?
There are those dental lab technicians who opt to open their own labs, though they typically do not take this route until they have some time and experience under their belts.
The dental lab technician salary is dependent upon experience, location, type of laboratory worked in, area of the field (private, educational or federal) and skill level. This can be a rewarding field for those interested in design, science, and helping others.
For those interested in a stable career, but do not wish to become full dentists, becoming a dental lab technician is a great career choice.