Are you a detail-oriented and artistic person who likes working with equipment and helping people improve their dental health? Then, a career as a dental technician could be for you.
A dental technician is a trained oral health professional and member of the dental team who works with the dentist and prosthetists to create and repair dental appliances for patients.
You usually need a VET qualification in dental technology, like a diploma in dental technology, to work as a Dental Technician in Australia. Some workers also complete a traineeship.
This blog will guide you through launching a Dental Technician career in Australia. Explore the job responsibilities, required skills and qualifications, courses, apprenticeships, average salary, and the steps to take to get started in this role.
1. What Is A Dental Technician?
Dental technicians are highly skilled members of the dental team. They work with the dentist, specialist dentist, and prosthetists in dental laboratories to provide custom-made dental devices for patients who need them.
Dental technicians in Australia specialise in creating a variety of dental devices, including:
Removable partial dentures
Teeth-correcting appliances such as plates and braces
Teeth whitening trays
Specialised orthodontic insertions, etc.
Dental technicians utilise their artistic and scientific skills to create dental appliances. These appliances are made using different techniques with moulds and impressions of patients' teeth and mouths, which dentists and dental prosthetists take.
Their main aim in designing dental appliances is to substitute, restore and correct imperfections that affect patients' facial appearance and their ability to use their teeth properly.
2. What Does A Dental Technician Do in Australia?
When working as a dental technician, you may carry out the following range of tasks and duties:
Receive dental models, moulds, and impressions from a dental professional
Use wax and tools to prepare physical replicas of patients' teeth and mouths
Create dental appliances for a patient in metal, ceramic or plastic material
Adjust appliances as per the instructions of the dental professional
Clean, polish, and finish prepared devices and appliances before inserting them in a patient's mouth
Apply safety standards, including sanitising devices
Maintain a record of appliance creation for future reference
Prepare braces, plates, and mouthguards to correct broken or irregular teeth
Design, create and repair dental appliances based on the patient's needs.
3. Dental Technician Skills
You will need a set of technical and soft skills to succeed in a dental technician role in Australia:
Possess a strong understanding and proficiency in working with computers.
Good understanding of dental anatomy to craft precise dental appliances that fit perfectly into a patient's mouth.
Able to use advanced technological equipment to design, compute and process dental appliances
Able to prepare, comprehend and act on written materials such as reports, letters, and summaries
Artistic skills for design and form
Enjoy working with equipment and tools
Able to perform detailed and precise work independently or in a team
High level of manual dexterity
Good hand-eye coordination
Good interpersonal communication skills
Good concentration level for prolonged periods
Have good eyesight and colour vision
Able to provide ideas and details clearly
Good time management and organisational skills
4. Dental Technician Qualifications In Australia
For this role, most employers in Australia typically require dental technicians to have a VET qualification, vocational diploma, apprenticeship experience, or a bachelor's degree.
If you are interested in a Dental Technician career, here are the steps to qualify for this role:
Must be 16 years and above
Gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in one or more prerequisite subjects, including English, chemistry, mathematics, biology, computers, industrial arts, and physics.
Consider advancing your skills by completing a Bachelor of Dental Technology.
Before undertaking clinical placements as needed by a dental technician course, you must obtain a National Police Certificate, a Working with Children Check, and a Provide First Aid Certificate and immunisation.
5. Steps To Become A Dental Technician In Australia
Here is a clear step-by-step guide on how to begin your career as a Dental Technician in Australia.
Step 1: Complete A Dental Technology Training Course
The standard qualification that employers look for in a candidate for an entry-level role is a Diploma of Dental Technology from TAFE or a registered training organisation.
Step 2: Gain Industry Experience
Another way to become a dental technician is to complete a apprenticeship or trainee program and work experience. It is a good option for those who wish to enter the profession before finishing a formal dental technology course.
Search for apprenticeship or trainee programs that require applicants to have some dental industry experience. Upon joining a traineeship program, you may need to remain in it for a considerable duration before employers consider you for an independent dental technician role.
Before enrolling, it is essential to check the listings for each apprenticeship opportunity, as they can vary depending on the employer and location where the program is offered.
Step 3: Earn A Bachelor's Qualification
Due to being high in demand, you may face intense competition, particularly for entry roles in the profession. That's when a bachelor's degree in dental technology can help improve your employability and chances to land a position quickly.
By undertaking this qualification, you earn valuable dental and clinical skills to succeed in this role. Furthermore, the degree is also a requirement to pursue an advanced dental technology role, such as a Dental Prosthetist position that requires registration as a clinician.
Step 4: Apply For Dental Technician Jobs
Graduates from the course can start applying for jobs in their preferred work location. Online job boards, social networking sites, job portals like LinkedIn, or dental clinics are good places to watch for job openings.
Those with work experience through apprenticeships might get their first dental technician job at the same workplace.
Step 5: Consider Specialisation
If you want to gain specialised knowledge before entering a career, an Advanced Diploma of Dental Prosthetics could be ideal. Completing this advanced qualification will help you find more job opportunities to enter and advance in this profession.
6. Dental Technician Courses In Australia
The Diploma in Dental Technology is the ideal entry-level qualification to pursue a dental technician role in Australia.
The course teaches you how to use impressions to prepare a range of dental appliances, including dentures, bridges, crowns, partial dentures, oral splints, maxillofacial surgical devices, etc.
Students work alongside dentistry students in dental clinics and laboratories while working with industry-standard equipment, including CAD-CAM (Computer Aided Design/Manufacturing).
You also learn vital skills such as communication, infection control, workplace health and safety processes, cultural safety services, first aid, recordkeeping, and business management skills, that can help you if you plan to run your private practice.
Graduates from the dental technician TAFE course are qualified to work as registered dental technicians undertaking technical work in cast partial denture fabrication, orthodontics, denture construction, and crown and bridge construction.
7. Areas Of Specialisations
With experience and expertise, Dental Technicians can specialise in a niche to pursue the following roles:
Dental Laboratory Assistant
Quality control technicians/prosthetist (management role)
Chief or senior technician or prosthetists (management role)
Dental Sales and Teaching
Graduates can advance their research skills by studying further for a Master, Honours, or PhD qualification and pursue several roles in academia or large-scale organisations such as companies, government departments, corporations, non-profit/charity organisations, etc.
8. Dental Technician Working Conditions
Dental technicians usually work independently or in small groups in a manufacturing environment of a public or commercial dental laboratory.
They work closely with dental prosthetists and dentists for regular business hours during the week. The role doesn't require direct contact with patients.
While working, dental technicians use a broad range of techniques and materials, including electro-spot welding, metal casting, metal polishing, wax modelling, plaster casting, wire bending, electroplating, ceramics, CAD/CAM units, and sandblasting to design and manufacture some dental products.
9. Employment Opportunities For Dental Technicians In Australia
With a "Diploma in Dental Technology" qualification, you can find work employment with Dental Technicians, Dental Prosthetists, Dentists, Orthodontists, Periodontists, Prosthodontists, and Oral Surgeons in public or private healthcare settings working to refer specialists' prescriptions and dental practitioners.
Your common work areas include:
Australian Defence Forces
Government health department clinics
Public and private hospitals
Public health services
Commercial dental clinics and laboratories
Prosthetic manufacturing companies
As an educator at university or TAFE
As an editor of an industry journal or magazine
As a researcher for a dental company, to research advances in dental appliance designs or materials and sales and marketing.
Work self-employed and run your private practice as a Dental Technician, Clinical Dental Technician, or Dental Prosthetist, or work within a general private or specialist practice.
You may own your dental laboratory or clinic specialising in a particular technology area, such as crowns/ bridges/ cosmetics, and provide services to dental practitioners in regional or rural areas.
Dental Technicians can also work overseas by applying for a dental technician/ technologist registration and dental prosthetist in other countries.
10. Popular Dental Technician Jobs In Australia
Graduates from a dental technology qualification can pursue a wide range of roles in this sector. Some of the latest jobs posted on SEEK are:
Dental Technician Apprentice OR Lab Assistant
Dental Technician - Orthodontic / Acrylic
Dental Technician Crown and Bridge
Dental Technician / Prosthetic
Dental Technician - Ceramist
Dental Technician Plaster Room
Dental Technician - CAD CAM
Orthodontic Dental Technician
Removable Dental Technician
Denture Dental Technicians
11. The Job Outlook Of Dental Technicians In Australia
Dental technicians are needed in public dental health services, particularly in rural and remote Australia.
By promoting the principles of dental hygiene and encouraging healthy choices, they have the ability to make a positive impact on the oral health of both present and future generations.
The Australian government has noticed strong growth over the past five years. It expects the number of workers to grow moderately over the next five years, from 6,200 in 2017 to 6,500 by 2022.
About 75% of employed Dental Technicians work on average full-time for 43 hours per week.
Primary Industries Of Employment
Though 65% of Dental Technicians work in the Manufacturing industry, some also work in:
Health care and social assistance
Public administration and safety
Percentage Of Employment Across Australia
Around 74% of Dental Technicians live in capital cities. Western Australia has a relatively large share of employment concerning its population size.
New South Wales - 27.5%
Victoria - 25.9%
Queensland - 20.7%
South Australia - 7.2%
Western Australia - 15.6%
Tasmania - 1.3%
Northern Territory - 0.4%
Australian Capital Territory - 1.4%
Worker's Age and Gender Profile
The average age of Dental Technicians is 40 years, with most between 25 to 34 years. Females constitute 36% of the total labour force, which is lesser than the average of all jobs, i.e., 48%.
12. How Much Does A Dental Technologist Make In Australia?
The dental technician's salary may vary based on a multitude of factors, such as:
Your place of work
Your level of experience
Nature of Employment (Full-time/Part-time)
Specialisation / Expertise
The seniority of the role
Type of Employer
Where apprentice dental technicians earn slightly less than average, dental technicians with bachelor's degrees may earn slightly more. According to Pay Scale, Australia's average yearly dental technician salary is AU $59,430.
Average Dental Technician Salary Based on Experience:
Entry-level (<1 year experience): AU$21.72 per hour
Early career (1-4 years of experience): AU$24.62 per hour
Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AU$28.36 per hour
Experienced (10-19 years of experience): AU$31.06 per hour
Late career (20 years and above): AU$32 per hour
According to Indeed, the highest-paying cities for Dental Technicians are:
Gold Coast - $83,545 per year
New South Wales: Orange - $79,860 per year
Westmead - $66,274 per year
Queensland – Brisbane: $63,080 per year
Chatswood - $62,998 per year
Melbourne - $61,902 per year
Sydney - $59,555 per year
Port Macquarie - $58,472 per year
Perth - $57,554 per year
13. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Dental Technician A God Career?
Yes. Dental technicians are vital to patients' gum, tooth, and jaw health who require mouth guards for sleeping or sports, veneers to protect broken teeth, and retainers after wearing braces.
As a dental technician, you help patients with mouth differences and irregular bite patterns or those who require dental protection from daily use.
Thus, it is an immensely gratifying profession where you use your artistic skills and a thorough understanding of dental materials science to manually prepare dental appliances to provide people with better dental health.
How Can I Become a Dental Technician in Sydney?
To start your dental technician career, you can consider completing a dental technician course in Sydney - Diploma Of Dental Technology - TAFE NSW.
What is The Highest Salary For a Dental Technician?
Highly experienced Dental Technicians with an experience of 20 and more years can earn up to AU $32 + per hour in Australia.
What is the Average Age of a Dental Technician?
The average age of Dental Technicians employed in Australia is 40 years, with most between 25 to 34 years.
Is Dental Technology in Demand in Australia?
Yes. A profession in dental technology offers excellent dentistry career opportunities to work in a diverse range of roles with flexible work schedules. Some of these include:
Numerous work opportunities are available for dental technicians in Australia, including employment in public or private dental laboratories, healthcare settings, or the option to work as self-employed dental technicians offering specialized services to dental practitioners throughout the country.
Given their significant influence on both dental and overall health, dental technicians are highly sought after in rural and regional areas across most states and territories of Australia.
Can Dental Technicians Get PR in Australia?
Australia has a shortage of dental technicians, so it needs to attract experienced dental technicians from overseas to come and live and work in Australia.
A Dental Technician is a crucial support role in the field of dentistry, contributing to the improvement of patients' dental health and overall quality of life.
If you have aspirations of pursuing a fulfilling career in dentistry that provides personal satisfaction, diverse career prospects, and flexible work schedules, completing a diploma in dental technology is the ideal pathway to kickstart your dream career.
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