Medical Appliance Technicians
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Speciality
Overview
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Construct, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices such as braces, orthotics and prosthetic devices, joints, arch supports, and other surgical and medical appliances.
Titles for this career often contain these words
TechnicianMakerOrthoticProstheticMedicalSurgicalArchSupportBraceLabArtificialApplianceAssemblerInstrumentOrthopedicFitterProstheticsRestorationLimbPlasticEyeCertifiedPedorthotistDesignerFabricationHearingAidRepairDeviceModelOrthopaedicTechnologistFinishGrindingOrthoticsRegisteredOfficer
Education
Only 17% of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians have bachelor's degrees than 62% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Medical appliance technicians, with 15,500 workers, form a smaller workforce than 80% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for medical appliance technicians are expected to grow by 13%, and should have about 2,200 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Medical appliance technicians are less likely to be automated than 60% of other careers.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for medical appliance technicians compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most medical appliance technicians earn.
$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Gender
Women account for 51% of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians -- that's a larger percentage than 62% of other jobs.
Gender of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians, the median men's salary was 20% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 22% of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians are minority, and 22% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (22%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Medical Appliance Technicians per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of medical appliance technicians who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Contaminants (97%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment (87%)
  • Time Pressure (83%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions (65%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (65%)
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings (54%)
  • Consequence of Error (43%)
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (41%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries at the specialty level (medical appliance technicians). This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for medical appliance technicians (BLS Salary Data)
$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers. This view of salaries is only available for all dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians.
Distribution: Salaries for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians (ACS Salary Data)
$37K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$37K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $39KAll jobs' median $45K$39K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire medical appliance technicians.
Employers of Dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians (ACS)
Private for-profit (83.8%)
Private not-for-profit (2.9%)
Local government (0.5%)
State government (0.6%)
Federal government (4.4%)
Self-employed incorporated (4.5%)
Self-employed not incorporated (3.2%)
Working without pay (0.1%)
Distribution: Salaries of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians, which combines the 3 specialties for this career.
$37K$36K$41K$44K$43K$40K$43K$37K$32K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Working without paySelf-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of medical appliance technicians by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty medical appliance technicians, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$41K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$42K$22K$31K$42K$38K$35K$41K$41K$42K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
02K4K6K8K10K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians and gender

With 51% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 62% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
51%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians
Men (49%)
Women (51%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians tops that, with the median salary for men 20% higher than the median salary for women.

$34K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians have one of the more significant inequity issues, with the increase in men's median salary over women's median salary even higher than that for 60% of other jobs.

20%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. The percentage of minority dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians falls in about the middle of all careers' percentages. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians
White (73% )
Asian (10% )
Black (8% )
Other (5% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
22%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
22%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$32K$33K$36K$36K$37K$42K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KBlackMultiracialHispanicOtherWhiteAsian
Distribution: Salaries for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians by nativity
$36K$39K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 15% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 57% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
15%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians is shown following.

$20K$37K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by medical appliance technicians

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical appliance technicians typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for medical appliance technicians

Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. There are some postsecondary programs in dental laboratory technology at community colleges or technical or vocational schools that award an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate. High school students interested in becoming dental or ophthalmic laboratory technicians or medical appliance technicians should take courses in science, human anatomy, math, computer programming, and art.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for medical appliance technicians

Certification is not required for dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians or medical appliance technicians. However, technicians may choose to earn specialty certifications because they show professional competence in a specialized field.

The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology offers certification as a Certified Dental Technician (CDT). Certification is available in six specialty areas: orthodontics, crown and bridge, complete dentures, partial dentures, implants, and ceramics.

To qualify for the CDT, technicians must have at least 5 years of on-the-job training or experience in dental technology or have graduated from an accredited dental laboratory technician program. Candidates also must pass three exams within a period of 4 years.

The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics offers certification for orthotic and/or prosthetic technicians. Technicians are eligible for the certification exam after completing an accredited program or if they have 2 years of experience as a technician under the direct supervision of a certified orthotist or prosthetist or O&P technician.

Education attained by dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians? Below we see the distribution of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians salaries based on the education attained.

$28K$36K$37K$40K$39K$42K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KNone (5%)High School (31%)Some College (30%)Associate's/Cert. (17%)Bachelor's Degree (14%)Master's Degree (2%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Associate's degree or certificate
Bachelor's
Graduate
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians

What jobs will most dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance techniciansHealth Technologists and TechniciansDental AssistantsMedical assistants and other healthcare support occupationsDispensing OpticiansEngineering Technologists and TechniciansMedical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and TechniciansSpecialized production workers, including computer-controlled tooloperatorsSpecialized Assemblers and FabricatorsRetail SalespersonsDental Hygienists
Lateral job transitions for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 8 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians as well as 1% of respondents after working as dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most medical appliance technicians? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as medical appliance technicians. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Medical Appliance Technicians per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEWIVTNHWAIDMTNDMNILMINYMAORUTWYSDIAINOHPANJCTRICANVCONEMOKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.10.20.30.4
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where medical appliance technicians earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all dental and ophthalmic laboratory and medical appliance technicians, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Location-adjusted median salary for Medical Appliance Technicians (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which medical appliance technicians earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEWIVTNHWAIDMTNDMNILMINYMAORUTWYSDIAINOHPANJCTRICANVCONEMOKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
$0$20K$40K$60K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
Interests
Environment
Knowledge
Physical Abilities
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