Using publically reported data from a range of sources, we've identified the best locations for dental lab technicians to live and work, as well as some of the most challenging locales.
America, it is said, is the land of opportunity. If one wants to seek their fortunes in a different place, all they need do is pack up and move. In 2020 (and for the foreseeable future), that seems to be the case for dental lab technicians. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts an 11 percent growth in the field over the next eight years, so there should be plenty of opportunity from sea to shining sea. But, before anyone packs up and hits the road, let’s take a look at which communities are most appealing – and those where you may want to think twice.
We started by looking at BLS’s data, which gave us the top-earning cities in America – BLS reported data for 378 cities and areas in the fourth quarter of 2019. However, there is more to life than making money (laboratory technicians earned an average of $61,828 in 2019). That’s when we started adding such factors as overall economy, public safety and so forth. Our complete list of metrics is:
Included, where available, is information about the total number in that profession for the community. Nationwide, there were 81,500 dental lab technicians. We could not, however, include that as a metric by which to compare, because complete data for each location was not available.
In addition to BLS, we refined our rankings from personal finance website Wallethub.com, U.S. News & World Reports' Healthiest Communities study, and data from Worldpopulationreview.com for longest life expectancy, by state.
We ranked each metric on a scale of 1 to 10, compiled them, and then honed the list from there. Whoever got the lowest score earned the highest position on the list.
© Kristina / Adobe Stock
The 24th most populous city in the Lone Star State, Midland kicks off our list with most scores solidly at the bottom of the rankings. The city earned last place scores for life expectancy, education, stress, economy, and oral health. But it’s above-average annual salary for lab techs, at $81,127, keeps Midland in the top 10.
© readytogo / Adobe Stock
The largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with 6% of the country’s population, this metro area covers New York City, and Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey. Despite an annual wage of $83,356 and ranking 4th in total life expectancy, this region's bottom-of-the-list rankings for public safety and education keep it at number 9.
© steheap / Adobe Stock
This metro area includes the nation’s capital, as well as Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, and is one of the most well-educated metro areas in the U.S. But that isn’t enough to move this region any closer to the top of the list. Lab techs earn an above-average salary of $78,676. However, other low scores, including economy and life expectancy, keep D.C. firmly towards the back of the pack.
© Tierney / Adobe Stock
Lab technicians in this area, covering San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley, California, earn over twice the average annual salary, $151,476, tied for first, overall. But low rankings in public safety, stress, and oral health pulled the Bay area further down the list.
© Christopher Boswell / Adobe Stock
TLab techs in Trenton earn the least of anyone in the top 10, an average of $74, 672, and their overall community health was near the bottom, too. But higher rankings in stress and oral health seemed to offset the lower scores
© stellmc / Adobe Stock
The San Jose metro area includes Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California, and is tied for 1st overall in annual wage, an average of $151,476. But while the region does enjoy high scores for community health and life expectancy, that is canceled out by low scores for stress, public safety, and oral health.
© espiegle / Adobe Stock
Earning an average of $75,400 per year puts lab technicians in Boulder towards the bottom of the top 10 for earnings. However, Boulder is, overall, a healthy community with a number of first-place rankings for community health and stress. But a surprisingly low oral health score keeps the city out of the top 3.
© Dene' Miles / Adobe Stock
Lab techs working in the greater Seattle area, which includes Tacoma and Bellevue, Washington as well, earn slightly less than their colleagues in the top spots, with an annual salary of $85,696. The region ranked number 1 in total economy and pulled in solid rankings for education and public safety, but low overall life expectancy was enough to keep the area out of the top spots.
© alwoodphoto / Adobe Stock
With an average salary of $93,860 per year and mostly high rankings for other metrics, the greater Bridgeport area, which includes Stamford and Norwalk, is a great region for dental lab technicians. However, it’s lower scores in community health and stress offset high scores in oral health and life expectancy.
© Aevan / Adobe Stock
1. Boston Metropolitan Area
The greater Boston area, including Cambridge and Newton, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, earns the number 1 place on our list thanks to its top rankings in education and public safety. These scores are enough to negate low community health rankings and an average wage of $86,788
After reading any sort of top 10 list, the natural question is, “If those are the best cities, then what are the WORST cities?” So, we looked at the nation’s bottom earners to rank those communities.
It is important to note that there are two separate lists in the slideshow – the top 10 and bottom five. So, even though the best city from the top 10 list has an overall score of 25 and the best city from the bottom five list has an overall score of nine, remember that the scoring restarted for each list.
© Carol M. Highsmith; National Library of Congress
Lab technicians in the Brownsville-Harlingen area of Texas have the dubious honor of being at the end of the bottom five cities rankings. They earn the least of lab technicians anywhere in the country ($32,240 per year — almost five times less than the top-earning community) and their community health, public safety, stress, and oral health are all at the bottom of the rankings.
About three hours away from Laredo is the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area of Texas. Their annual salary of $32,760 per year, along with bottom-of-the-pack rankings for community health, public safety, stress, and oral health—including the last place score for economy—ranks them low on the list.
© jerzy / Adobe Stock
The slogan, “Everything is Bigger in Texas” simply doesn't apply to lab techs’ salaries. In fact, 3 of the lowest-earning cities are all in the Lone Star State. Lab techs in Laredo are in the number 2 position for annual wage ($34,164), community health, and life expectancy, but their low rankings for economy and education put them square in the middle of the bottom five cities.
© Rolo / Adobe Stock
Dental lab technicians in Jacksonville, North Carolina earn $32,864 a year, and, of the bottom five cities, they have the best levels of oral health, stress, and public safety. But lower rankings for education and life expectancy contribute to their number two position.
© lemanieh / Adobe Stock
Of the bottom five cities for lab technicians, those in El Centro, California seem to have it the best. They lead the pack in overall salary ($35,828 per year), community health, education, economy, public safety, stress, and life expectancy. Even though they are tops on this list, they only earn about two-and-a-half times less than the lowest-ranked city on the top 10 list.