Dental Lab Technology program at Durham Tech receives top ranking

Dental lab technology is the art of designing and fabricating artificial dental prostheses such as crowns and bridges, and at Durham Tech, it is the top performing program of its kind in the country, according to a national accrediting organization.

Earlier this month, the National Association of Dental Laboratories and the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology announced that the program at Durham Tech is ranked No. 1 among all 14 accredited dental lab programs in the U.S. in performance on the Recognized Graduate Examination.

“Enthusiastic and dedicated faculty, innovative curriculum, current technology, and engaged students are the perfect combination to achieve that No. 1 ranking,” said Melissa Ockert, Dean and Department Head of Health Technologies at Durham Tech. “Not only did the students achieve this score but they did so on a new, revised, more difficult exam.”

According to the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology, students who graduate from an accredited program and pass the examination are considered Recognized Graduates. The examination requires graduates demonstrate significant mastery of the knowledge needed in dental technology.

“I believe this sets a standard in teaching that we will continue to hold ourselves to and maintain with future classes,” said Erin Popov, Clinical Coordinator and Instructor in the Dental Lab Technology program. “We hope to showcase the dental laboratory technology field as a top choice when going into the dental professions, alongside dental hygiene and assisting.”

Durham Tech students’ average score on the Recognized Graduate Examination was 79.38 percent, which is 11.24 percent higher than the national average and earned the College a No. 1 ranking, an improvement from No. 5 in past years.

“Our advisory board played a large part in this ranking,” said Greg Walton, Director and Instructor in the Dental Lab Technology program. “We listened and applied input from current professionals. Incorporating industry needs, observations, and modern technology prepare our graduates for outstanding careers.

The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology is an independent board founded by the National Association of Dental Laboratories. It serves as an independent certification organization dedicated to improving the quality of dental laboratory technology through voluntary testing and certification of dental laboratories and technicians.

The Dental Laboratory Technology program has been offered at Durham Tech since its inception in 1961 and it is the only accredited program in surrounding states.