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Dental technician

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Summary of occupation

Dental technicians work from a prescription, usually written by a dentist, and create or repair dentures and other dental appliances. These can be made using a variety of materials including plastic, metal and ceramics. They are made using various technical skills, including plaster casting, electro-spot welding, metal casting, metal bending, metal polishing, wax modelling, ceramics, electroplating and sandblasting. Dental technicians do not usually interact with customers.

ANZSCO description: Constructs and repairs dentures and other dental appliances. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names: Dental Mechanic, Prosthetist (Dental), Technician (Dental)
Specialisations: Crown and Bridge, Dental Laboratory Assistant, General prosthesis, Maxillo-facial, Orthodontics
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A dental technician needs:

  • good verbal and written communication skills
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • to be able to complete precise and detailed work
  • to be able to concentrate
  • to be able to have an eye for form and design
  • good organisational skills.
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Working conditions

Dental technicians may work alone or in a small group in a laboratory. They usually work regular work hours. Dental technicians work with highly specialised equipment and various chemicals, which they need to be careful with when handling.

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Salary details

On average, dental hygienists, technicians and therapists can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a dental technician develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Dental technicians are required to use a wide range of tools and technologies to complete various technical procedures including plaster casting, electro-spot welding, metal casting, metal polishing, ceramics, electroplating and sandblasting. Increasingly, Computer-Aided Design/Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) machines are being used to create some dental products.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a dental technician you need to complete an apprenticeship. The dental technician apprenticeship usually takes 48 months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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