New York City College of Technology, Los Angeles City College, Bates Technical College and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne offer dental laboratory technician courses. The website of the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology also provides a state-by-state listing of recognized institutions with accredited programs.
Dental technician programs generally last two years and prepare students for certification, so courses are available at both four-year universities and community colleges. The majority of recognized programs award an associate degree and maintain the standards outlined by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, a department of the American Dental Association. The dental technology field requires minimal interaction with patients, and jobs are widely available in commercial labs, private practices, educational institutions and military health facilities.
Dental technicians produce the orthodontic devices dentists use to repair damaged or irregular teeth. Dentists provide dental molds and detailed specifications of each patient's needs, which technicians use to design custom dentures, veneers, crowns, splints and other technology. Since no two patients are the same, dental devices have to account for subtle differences in tooth size and position, the locations of missing teeth and varying degrees of dental wear. As a result, dental technicians must combine technical skills with artistic insight and physical dexterity to create products that are medically sound and cosmetically attractive.