Certified Dental Technician School Facts

Learn about dental technology programs, including online options, and get tips for choosing a school. Find out what courses you'll take, and read about certification in the field. Schools offering Dental Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Those who want to become dental technicians can enroll in dental technology programs at the undergraduate level. Take a close look at this article, which explores certificate and associate degree programs in the field, to figure out which program and delivery format is right for you.

What Are the Requirements for Dental Technician School?

If you're interested in pursuing a career as a certified dental technician (CDT), you'll need to attend a dental technician program. Prerequisites for dental technician programs include a high school diploma or GED, and may include a placement test. In addition, because CDTs must exercise fine motor skills to create dental models using small, handheld instruments, many schools also require applicants to complete a test in hand-eye coordination, 3-dimensional visualization or manual dexterity.

What Should I Look for in a School?

When choosing a school, you may want to choose a school with a dental laboratory technology degree program that includes courses in your preferred area of dental laboratory technology. As a CDT, there are five areas that you can specialize in: crowns and bridges, ceramics, complete dentures, partial dentures and orthodontic appliances. Some schools offer courses in all five specializations, making them a great choice if you want a broad dental technology education.

What Will I Learn?

As a student in a dental laboratory technology school, you will learn how to create many different dental devices, including ceramic veneers, ceramic or metal crowns and bridges, dentures, and more. You will also learn how to work with a variety of different materials, including plastics, stainless steel, waxes, and porcelain. Some example course names include:

  • Dental anatomy
  • Dental materials
  • Denture repair
  • Orthodontic appliances
  • Plaster carving
  • Porcelain techniques

How Do I Become Certified?

Voluntary certification for CDTs is available from the National Board of Certification (NBC) in Dental Laboratory Technology. The NBC's certification process requires passing three different examinations - a written comprehensive examination, a specialty practical examination and a specialty written examination - all within a 4-year period. You must be able to read and write English and have never been convicted of illegally practicing dentistry. Dental technician certification demonstrates professional achievement and competence, which may make you a more attractive job applicant or worthy of a higher salary (www.nbccert.org).

Are Online Schools Available?

Although dental technology is a hands-on subject, there are dental technician schools that have distance-education certificate programs geared to those currently working in the field. In one of these programs, you may be able to take some coursework online, but you need to attend laboratory courses at an approved lab.

Which Schools Offer Dental Technician Certificate Programs?

Certificate programs in dental technology or a related field are common programs at many colleges and universities, such as those below:

  • Portland Community College provides a Certificate in Dental Laboratory Technology program
  • Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis delivers a Dental Assisting Certificate program mainly through distance learning
  • Bates Technical College has a Dental Lab Technician Certificate of Competency program

Which Schools Offer Dental Technician Associate Degree Programs?

Students can pursue an associate degree in dental technology or a related field at a range of schools. The preceding schools are a few examples:

  • Durham Technical Community College houses an Associate in Applied Science in Dental Laboratory Technology degree program
  • Florida National University hosts an Associate of Science in Dental Laboratory Technology degree program
  • Portland Community College has an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Laboratory Technology degree program

To become a certified dental technician, students have the choice of either certificate or associate degree programs. These programs are sometimes also offered in a hybrid format, which allows students to complete some or most of the coursework online, and will teach you about all sorts of technology specific to dentistry.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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