Dental technician

Healthcare
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would help to give people stronger, straighter teeth. You’d design and build dental devices for people who have lost teeth or need help to correct the appearance and performance of their teeth.

You also repair and adjust the devices once they are in place.

You could specialise in one of four key areas:

  • In orthodontics, you’d create plastic or metal devices, such as braces, to straighten teeth
  • In crown and bridge work, you’d construct items which can be cemented in place
  • In prosthetics, you’d produce plastic dentures or implants, some of which have metal inserts to help keep them straight
  • In maxillo-facial prosthetics, you’d help to reconstruct the faces of people damaged by accident or disease

You’d work with a wide range of materials such as gold, porcelain and plastic to design and make specialist devices to suit patients’ needs.

You would use the latest techniques, equipment, instruments, and computer technology. You’d need to understand and interpret complex, technical instructions.

If you work in a private dental lab, you would create devices and appliances for lots of different dental practices across a wide geographical area.

If you work in an National Health Service (NHS) hospital, you might help dental surgeons. You could design and build artificial parts for patients with facial injuries, cancer or cleft palates. The NHS salary for this role is covered by the NHS Agenda for Change pay rates. You can see information about the pay and conditions on the dental technician page on the NHS Careers website.

You could also work in the Armed Forces.

 

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work around 40 hours a week. In a commercial laboratory you might cover slightly longer hours and overtime may be available.

Environment

You would usually be based in a lab, working alone or as part of a team. If you are working in a hospital setting, you will have direct contact with dental and oral surgeons, and occasionally patients.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working with your hands
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

You would need a Higher National Diploma in Dental technologies (SCQF level 8).

Entry to a Dental technologies Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) course usually requires National 5 qualifications and two highers or a National Certificate in Dental technologies (SCQF level 5).

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses)
  • Maths (required by many courses)
  • Science subjects

You will also need

To pass a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Disclosure check.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate understanding of health, wellbeing and care such as: 

  • Skills for Work Health Sector (SCQF level 4/5)
  • Health and Social Care (SCQF level 6)
  • SQA Wellbeing Award (SCQF level 3-5)