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Working as a Dental Technician [NOC 3223]

Job Description

Dental Technicians make and repair dental devices such as crowns and bridges, dentures, orthodontics, sports and night guards.

As a Dental Technician you perform the following duties:

  • Design or repair dental devices including dentures, crowns, bridges, inlays, and implants
  • Make models of patients’ mouths or teeth
  • Cast gold or metal alloys for bridges and denture bases
  • Make orthodontic bands from gold, silver, stainless steel or other metals
  • Finish metal framework of dentures and polish and buff dentures to obtain natural finish
  • May consult with dentists or other specialists on complicated dental cases
  • May train and supervise other dental technicians

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile,  Career Cruising database (Profile for Dental Lab Tech)

Industry Overview

B.C currently has a shortage of skilled Dental Technicians, particularly in the area of crown and bridge work, ceramics, and orthodontics.

If you are interested in this profession, you may be able to work as a Dental Assistant while waiting to becoming certified as a Dental Technician.

Job Outlook in BC

Dental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers, NOC 3223

job outlook for dental technicians

Chart from WorkBC

The Employment Outlook for BC provides opening projections for Dental Technicians within BC regions:

Region 2010
Estimated Employment
2015
Estimated Employment
Avg Annual % Change, 5 Years, 2010 to 2015
Vancouver Island / Coast
140 160 1.8%
Lower Mainland / Southwest 1,060 1,170 2.0%
Thompson-Okanagan 120 130 2.0%
Kootenay 20 20 0.6%
Cariboo 30 30 3.8%
North Coast & Nechako 10 20 3.1%
Northeast 10 10 3.1%

Source: Regional Employment Projections, BC Stats. Projections for development regions. [accessed October 2014]

You can learn more about working as a dental technician in BC from:

Types of Employers

Dental Technicians work in commercial dental laboratories. There are about 300 laboratories in British Columbia. Most are small 2 – 5 person laboratories. About 6 laboratories in BC have over 30 employees.

You may also be self-employed, operating your own dental laboratory.

Source: College of Dental Technicians of British Columbia

Salary

The average salary for Dental Technicians working full-time in BC is between $44,000 and $53,000 a year. Your salary depends on experience, skill, area of expertise and employer.

Your salary tends to be higher if you work in a smaller lab performing a variety of tasks compared to a large lab with more specialized duties. You will generally have the highest income if you own and operate your own lab.

In addition to a salary, most full-time Dental Technicians receive health and dental benefits, paid sick days, and paid vacations.

Job Bank Canada provides hourly wages for Dental Technicians in BC regions:

dentaltech_wages

Chart from Job Bank Canada wage reports/

Sources: WorkBC and Career Cruising

Working Hours

Full-time Dental Technicians usually work a 5-day, 40-hour week. Overtime may be necessary on occasion.

Part-time work is also common.

Skills, Education, and Experience

Skills

  • excellent hand-eye coordination
  • ability to focus on small details
  • able to do precise, detailed work
  • creative and artistic inclinations
  • good color perception
  • interest in health care

Education and Experience

To work as a Dental Technologist in BC you require:

  • completion of a college program in dental technology approved by the College of Dental Technicians of British Columbia

OR

  • four or more years of on-the-job training under the supervision of a registered dental technologist or technician
  • Registration with the College of Dental Technicians of British Columbia is mandatory

Qualifications

This occupation is regulated in British Columbia.

You must be registered with the College of Dental Technicians of British Columbia (CDTBC) in order to work as a Dental Technician in BC.

In order to register you require:

  • graduation from a Dental Technician Education Program approved by the Registration Committee, OR
  • (i) to have provided the services equivalent to those of a dental technician for a period of not less than 5 years, AND
    (ii) a combination of knowledge, skills and abilities, which satisfy the education requirements
  • to be of good character and fit to practice the profession
  • demonstrated competence in the English language
  • submission of application form and fees
  • completion of the theory and practical examinations
  • proof of having obtained and maintained the required professional liability insurance coverage

For more information see:

College of Dental Technicians of British Columbia

Dental Technician Assistants

You can work in a dental lab as a Dental Technician Assistant without being registered as a Dental Technician. An assistant must work under the supervision of a registered Dental Technician.

You can register as a Dental Technician Assistant if you:

  • have graduated from Grade 12 in a secondary school in British Columbia or the equivalent of Grade 12 in another jurisdiction
  • are of good character and fit to practice the profession
  • submit the application form and the fees required

Internationally Trained Dental Technicians

If you are an internationally trained Dental Technician you must:

  • have your academic credentials evaluated by International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)
  • register with the College of Dental Technicians of British Columbia
  • be able to work legally in Canada

To get your credentials evaluated, apply directly to ICES:

International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)
Tel: 604-432-8800

For more information on foreign-trained Dental Technicians see:

College of Dental Technicians of British Columbia

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, and electronic sources, as well as through professional association publications.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily and the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: You can only access this database from the Central Library or VPL branch libraries. Access is NOT available from home or outside the Library.

Online Job Postings

  • Indeed.com
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For dental technicians look for these related job titles

  • ceramic denture moulder
  • dental technologist
  • denture finisher
  • denture wax pattern former
  • orthodontic band maker
  • registered dental technician
  • registered dental technologist

Source: NOC, 3223

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of dental laboratories in BC. Contact them directly to find out if they are hiring.

  • Canadian Dental Directory
    See section under dental laboratories.
    Available at the Central Library, 617.60025 C21
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “dental laboratories” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume or curriculum vitae and a cover letter. These should identify the position you are applying for and summarize your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, use the following guides which are available in print at the Central Library or online:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Associations for Dental Technicians in BC and Canada can provide information and assistance. Registration and fees are required for membership.

Industry Journals

Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession. Examples at the Central Library include: