In the United States, the average annual dental technician salary in 2014 was $40k. Once a Dentist has examined a patient and determined a course of treatment, in a number of cases, dental implants may be required to address the patient’s needs. This is where a Dental Technician comes in as he or she is responsible for constructing these custom implants based on the specifications and measurements taken by the Dentist during his procedure and examination. This is normally done by taking a dental impression from the patient, which the technician can then use to create a duplicate of the patient’s dental structure and create the required implant. Skills and education is required to be able to handle tasks such as impressions and implants, which will also help you leverage a higher pay.

Average Dental Technician Salary by Percentile

As a Dental Technician, you can earn an average wage of as low as $10 an hour in the lower percentile, to as high as $30 in the 90th percentile. This range is equivalent to an annual salary of $22k to $61k potential.

Of course, the more experience you have, the higher your Dental Technician salary can be. When you’re first starting out, aim to earn in the 25th and 50th percentiles.

Percentile10%25%50%75%90%
Hourly Wage$10.53$13.46$17.50$23.13$29.47
Weekly Wage$421$538$700$925$1,179
Monthly Salary$1,825$2,333$3,033$4,008$5,108
Annual Salary$21,900$28,000$36,400$48,100$61,300

Top Paying Industries for Dental Technicians

Dental Technicians earn the most working in the Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories industry. This top paying industry pays an annual salary of $64k. A distant second and third on the rankings for industries is the Federal Government at $54k annual salary.

RankIndustriesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories$30.72$1,229$5,325$63,900N/A
2Federal Executive Branch$25.87$1,035$4,483$53,800500
3Federal government, including the US Postal Service$25.87$1,035$4,483$53,800500
4Federal, State, and Local Government, excluding state and local schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service$25.82$1,033$4,475$53,700600
5Federal, state, and local government, including government owned schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service$25.14$1,006$4,358$52,300700
6Offices of All Other Health Practitioners$24.04$962$4,167$50,00090
7Offices of Other Health Practitioners$24.04$962$4,167$50,00090
8Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods$23.22$929$4,025$48,300300
9Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers$23.22$929$4,025$48,300300
10State government, including schools and hospitals$20.91$837$3,625$43,500100

Highest Paying States for Dental Technicians

The best states to earn a high Dental Technician salary are Massachusetts, District of Columbia, and Alaska and around $53k a piece. To see the entire list of all states, check out the salary by states table.

RankSalaries by StatesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1Massachusetts$25.77$1,031$4,467$53,600700
2District of Columbia$25.29$1,012$4,383$52,600N/A
3Alaska$25.24$1,010$4,375$52,50070
4Montana$22.26$890$3,858$46,300200
5New York$21.88$875$3,792$45,500 2,000
6Connecticut$21.73$869$3,767$45,200300
7Rhode Island$21.49$860$3,725$44,70080
8Nevada$21.39$856$3,708$44,500200
9Maine$20.72$829$3,592$43,100100
10Washington$20.53$821$3,558$42,700 1,000

Lowest Wage States for Dental Technicians

It’s good to know which states have the lowest salaries for Dental Technicians. The worst states are South Dakota ($30k), Louisiana ($32k), and Mississippi ($33k). These states are less populated and have lower standard of living costs, so it’s not surprising that they made the list.

RankSalaries by StatesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1South Dakota$14.52$581$2,517$30,200100
2Louisiana$15.48$619$2,683$32,200500
3Mississippi$15.72$629$2,725$32,700200
4West Virginia$16.11$644$2,792$33,500100
5Missouri$16.39$656$2,842$34,100800
6South Carolina$16.63$665$2,883$34,600400
7Alabama$16.73$669$2,900$34,800800
8Iowa$16.92$677$2,933$35,200400
9Tennessee$16.92$677$2,933$35,200500
10North Dakota$17.31$692$3,000$36,000200

Top Metropolitan Cities for Dental Technician Pay

The salaries of Dental Technicians in the top three metropolitan areas were all above $50k. This is a great sign as you have some flexibility in where you work and still can expect a decent income. Sitting at #1 is Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy in Massachusetts with an annual salary of $59k.

RankMetropolitan CitiesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA$28.41$1,137$4,925$59,100400
2Peabody, MA$24.57$983$4,258$51,10040
3West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, FL$24.04$962$4,167$50,000200
4New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ$22.26$890$3,858$46,3001,000
5Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL$22.07$883$3,825$45,900500
6Nassau-Suffolk, NY$21.78$871$3,775$45,300600
7Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, MA-NH$21.39$856$3,708$44,50060
8Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA$21.06$842$3,650$43,800500
9Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI$20.72$829$3,592$43,100600
10Gary, IN$20.43$817$3,542$42,50070

Top Paying Non-Metropolitan Areas for Dental Technicians

By far, the #1 suburban area to be a Dental Technician is Southwestern Montana with an annual salary of close to $61k. That’s the top area in all of the United States in terms of income. The second highest non-metropolitan area was South Central Kentucky at $54k per year.

RankNon-Metropolitan AreasHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1Southwestern Montana$29.33$1,173$5,083$61,00050
2South Central Kentucky$26.11$1,044$4,525$54,30060
3Northeast Florida$21.39$856$3,708$44,50050
4North Georgia$20.24$810$3,508$42,10040
5Northern Indiana$20.19$808$3,500$42,000N/A
6Northeastern North Carolina$19.95$798$3,458$41,50070
7Western Central North Carolina$19.86$794$3,442$41,30040
8Other North Carolina$18.08$723$3,133$37,60050
9Other Ohio$17.69$708$3,067$36,800N/A
10Southwest New York$17.64$706$3,058$36,70060

Highest Dental Technician Employment Level by States

The place to be in terms of opportunity is California, which had about 4k professional Dental Technicians. Rounding off the top five states to get a job is Florida, Michigan, New York, and Texas.

RankStatesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1California$19.13$765$3,317$39,8004,000
2Florida$19.81$792$3,433$41,2003,000
3Michigan$19.57$783$3,392$40,7002,000
4New York$21.88$875$3,792$45,5002,000
5Texas$18.51$740$3,208$38,5002,000
6Georgia$17.64$706$3,058$36,7001,000
7Ohio$18.70$748$3,242$38,9001,000
8North Carolina$19.81$792$3,433$41,2001,000
9Arizona$18.17$727$3,150$37,8001,000
10Pennsylvania$17.93$717$3,108$37,3001,000

Job Outlook

There are currently 39k Dental Technicians in the United States, but unfortunately, it is only expected to grow an additional 1k in opportunities. As technology becomes more advance, the need for Dental Technicians diminishes. If this is your passion, don’t let these numbers stop you because there will still be a need as shown by the numbers.

Employment Projections Data Dental Laboratory Technicians, 2012-2022 
Employment, 2012 39,000
Projected Employment, 2022 40,000
Employment Difference: 1,000
Dental laboratory technicians3%
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians12%
Dental and Ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians7%
Medical appliance technicians6%
Total, All Occupations11%

Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Dental Technician Job Description

salaries of dental techniciansThere are four distinct types of dental technicians based on the type of work that is required to be done.

The first are Conservation technicians that specialize in fixed implants which are required to replace lost or damaged teeth and can include crowns, bridges and veneer, but once placed by the Dentist they cannot be removed.

Then there are the Prosthodontic technicians who design a variety of dentures that a patient can remove when required for cleaning or comfort.

Orthodontic technicians provide braces for various dental procedures and corrections.

And lastly for more advanced requirements there are the Maxillo-facial technicians who focus on prosthesis for facial reconstruction related to oral surgery & cancer, as well as severe burns and accidents.

How to Become a Dental Technician

dental assistant salaryTo become a Dental technician you must first of all enjoy working with your hands and precision instruments. As construction of dental implants is a meticulous task you must also have immense patience and good attention to detail, as well as a creative nature for the design aspect of the job is unique to each patient.

To get qualified as a technician you must first purse a dental laboratory technology program either in a university, vocational or specialized dental school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

Based on the program you choose this can provide you either an Associate or Bachelor’s degree in dental technology. With this qualification you can pursue a job as a Dental Technician in either commercial dental laboratories, or private dental clinics depending on the amount of experience and work you would like to expose yourself to. Average salaries for starting technicians at this level can begin at $25,000 and can go up to $45,000 per year with experience.

However if you wish to improve your professional development opportunities you can choose to seek further certification. Once you complete at least two years of work as a Dental Technician you can pursue the Certified Dental Technician (CDT) certification administered by the National Board of Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology.

This certification includes an examination and allows you to specialize in different areas of skills including orthodontics, crown & bridge implants, complete or partial dentures, as well as ceramics. With this certification in hand it will automatically allow you to qualify for higher paid positions as it certifies your skills as a technician in a particular area of work.

Being properly certified, you can expect an increased Dental Technician salary at this level ranging from $55,000 to $65,000 again dependent on your skill and ability.