Unique Program Attracts Talent Across Midwest

Dental Technician

MATC's Dental Technician program students at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus

Dental Technician students blend artistry and science

Teeth are as unique as fingerprints. When they need to be replaced, dentists can’t pull ready-made teeth off the shelves. They turn to artisans to create them. That’s where dental technicians come in.

“There’s a lot of magic and mystery for patients behind where those replacement teeth come from,” explained Nicole Jackson, lead faculty and program coordinator for MATC’s Dental Technician technical diploma program.

After dentists make digital or manual impressions to aid in building the shape and size needed to fit perfectly with surrounding teeth, technicians then handcraft crowns, dentures and bridges to fit the individual’s mouth.

MATC’s Dental Technician program is the only one in Wisconsin and one of the only in the Midwest. “The next closest program is in Indiana,” Jackson said. “My students are traveling from Illinois and Minnesota as well as various places in Wisconsin.”

It’s a great career for individuals who are interested in the dental industry who might not see themselves in a clinical setting working directly with patients, Jackson said. Grads can work in a variety of sites and aspects of the business — in clinics, labs, marketing, sales or even producing webinars. They can specialize in creating certain types of replacement teeth or dental prostheses.


A 2003 graduate of MATC’s Dental Technician program, Jackson said she chose the career “because I love the health dynamic and working in a clinical space. I had a really strong artistic background and a scientific background as well. Dental technology was a blend of both of those worlds for me.”

When an opportunity to lead and coordinate MATC’s program opened in fall 2020, she jumped at the chance.

“I love to see the spark ignite in somebody else and to support their efforts to follow whatever their dream may be,” Jackson said. “The best part is giving back. I’m so thankful and appreciative for the experience I had in this program.”

Dental Technician student Rachel Czosnek is motivated by giving back, too. “I want to do something that makes a difference,” she said. “Improving someone’s smile can make a very big difference in their lives.”

Czosnek said she loves working with the people in her program.

“I feel like we’re a tight group. And we really lucked out with Nicole. She takes the extra time to help you. All the MATC instructors are really awesome and very knowledgeable,” she said.

For fellow student Deautrice (DeeDee) Morehead, much of the attraction is in working with her hands and creating the teeth.

“I like building and recreating things,” Morehead said. “We’re designing the tooth and paying attention to every landmark within it. It’s very artistic. You use a lot of instruments and you actually carve the tooth. Everything has to line up correctly in order for it to work out. I like watching it all come together.”

Morehead also stressed that she was glad the program could be completed in one year and that the training she gets at MATC will prepare her to advance in her career.

Individuals can become dental technicians without attending college, but graduates of MATC’s program are at a “huge advantage,” Jackson said.

“Their training makes them able to scale that ladder much more quickly in terms of salary and opportunity.”

Dental technicians are in great demand. The aging population needs an increasing number of crowns, bridges and dentures. In addition, many dental technicians took the opportunity to retire during the early days of the pandemic when people were hesitant to visit the dentist, said Jackson.

[MATC graduates'] training makes them able to scale that ladder much more quickly in terms of salary and opportunity.

Nicole Jackson Dental Technician program coordinator and lead faculty; MATC alumna

Now there is a pent-up demand for replacement teeth.

“Last year, there were 30 job opportunities on the table before my 10 students hit the door for graduation,” Jackson said.

As an MATC graduate who now leads the program that trained her, she is determined to keep the curriculum cutting edge.

“This year’s students will be the first to digitally design full, anatomical restorations that will be milled in zirconia (a new material for teeth),” Jackson said. “At all times, we are taking the program to the next level.”

To learn more about MATC's programs for dental careers, visit matc.edu and search “dental”