How to Become a Ceramist

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When people have teeth that are weak, discolored, broken, or missing, dentists usually use a variety of dental ceramics to create restorations of replacements. Ceramists are trained professionals that create many different types of ceramics for patients.


Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

In 2015, I said goodbye to 16-hour days and hauling boxes up and down stairs for a living (I was a mover). I became a full-time entrepreneur, and I made my money by helping business owners make money.

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What does a ceramist do?

Ceramists make a variety of acrylic and porcelain restorations such as bridges, crowns, dentures, and veneers. They also create teeth accessories such as braces and retainers. They fill prescriptions for restorations from dentists and they make the restorations specifically for individual patients using molds from the patient’s mouth. The apply layers of porcelain and other materials over metal framework to create the dental prostheses. They must ensure the materials are mixed to match the color of natural teeth. Ceramists also clean and polish the prostheses before giving them to dentists. They pack, process, and finish restorations and complete the necessary plasterwork. Ceramists also create radiation applicators, fluoride applicators, and stereotatic appliances.

What kind of training does a ceramist need?

Ceramists must have at least a high school diploma, but many employers prefer applicants with postsecondary training and related work experience. Many ceramists have an associate degree in dental laboratory technology or related field. An increasing number of vocational and technical schools and community colleges offer programs in dental laboratory technology. Some ceramists begin their careers working as helpers in dental laboratories to gain practical experience in the field. Many advance to ceramist positions as they gain the necessary experience and skills. Most employers provide some on the job training to enable new ceramists to learn the necessary policies, procedures, and expectations. Ceramists typically complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers to keep their skills current and stay up to date with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a ceramist?

Employment of ceramists is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing and aging population and increased need for artificial dental restorations will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be favorable, especially for ceramists with extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace ceramists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do ceramists make?

As of April 2010, the average annual salary for ceramists is $57,000; average annual salaries for nationwide ceramist job postings are 12% lower than all nationwide job postings (2).

A career as a ceramist is a great choice for people with a strong interest in creating a variety of dental ceramics. Ceramists must have a solid understanding of the policies and procedures of creating many different ceramic restorations. Manual dexterity, detail orientation, good vision, and good eye-hand coordination are necessary characteristics. Ceramists must have good communication and interpersonal skills and ability to interact with a variety of dental professionals. They must be able to effectively work independently without close supervision.

Joshua T Osborne

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