Dental technician


Career outlook for dental technician

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

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


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


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





Self employed


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  • Working with technology
  • Creative
  • Designing
  • Problem solving
  • Researching
  • Empathising
  • Attention to detail

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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


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)