Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technici
Employment of dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
As cosmetic prosthetics, such as veneers and crowns, become less expensive, demand for these appliances will likely increase. Accidents and poor oral health, which can cause damage and loss of teeth, will continue to create a need for dental laboratory technician services.
On the one hand, because the risk of oral cancer increases significantly with age, an aging population will increase demand for dental appliances, given that complications can require both cosmetic and functional dental reconstruction.
On the other hand, because baby boomers and their children visited the dentist more than previous generations did, received fluoride treatments, and received more dental health education, they are more likely to retain their teeth than previous generations were. These factors will likely lead to a decrease in the number of full and partial dentures and other prosthetics used to replace missing teeth and will temper demand for the technicians who make them.
An aging baby-boomer population is projected to create a need for medical appliance technicians because diabetes and cardiovascular disease, two leading causes of loss of limbs, are more likely to occur as people age. The demand for orthotic devices, such as braces and orthopedic footwear, will increase because older people tend to need these supportive devices. In addition, advances in technology may spur demand for prostheses that allow for more natural movement.
Moreover, most people need vision correction at some point in their lives. As the population continues to grow and age, more people will need more vision aids, such as glasses and contact lenses, and this need will increase demand for ophthalmic laboratory technicians.
Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technicians
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians
Total, all occupations
Other production occupations
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program