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Career Guide: Medical Appliance, Dental Lab, and Ophthalmic Lab Technicians

Career Guide: Medical Appliance, Dental Lab, and Ophthalmic Lab Technicians

(Source: Creative Commons)

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The National Board for Certification, an independent board established by the National Association of Dental Laboratories, offers certification in dental laboratory technology. Certification, which is voluntary except in three states, can be obtained in five specialty areas: crowns and bridges, ceramics, partial dentures, complete dentures, and orthodontic appliances. Certification may increase chances of advancement.

Ophthalmic laboratory technicians can become supervisors and managers. Some become dispensing opticians, although further education or training generally is required in that occupation.

More on Clinical Lab Techs


Salary: $49,7000r
Min. Education: Bachelor's
Related Careers: Nuclear Med Tech, Biological Technician

Employment

Medical, dental, and ophthalmic laboratory technicians held about 95,000 jobs in 2006. About 55 percent of salaried jobs were in medical equipment and supply manufacturing laboratories, which usually are small, privately owned businesses with fewer than 5 employees. However, some laboratories are large; a few employ more than 1,000 workers. The following tabulation shows employment by detailed occupation:

Dental laboratory technicians 53,000
Opthalmic laboratory technicians 29,000
Medical appliance technicians 12,000

In addition to manufacturing laboratories, many medical appliance technicians worked in health and personal care stores, while others worked in public and private hospitals, professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers, or consumer goods rental centers. Some were self-employed.

In addition to manufacturing laboratories, many dental laboratory technicians worked in offices of dentists. Some dental laboratory technicians open their own offices.

Most ophthalmic laboratory technician jobs were in medical equipment and supplies manufacturing laboratories, about 29 percent. Another 29 percent of jobs were in health and personal care stores, such as optical goods stores that manufacture and sell prescription glasses and contact lenses. Some jobs were in offices of optometrists or ophthalmologists, while others worked at professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers. A few worked in commercial and service industry machine manufacturing firms that produce lenses for other optical instruments, such as telescopes and binoculars.


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