Explaining the Roles of the NADL, NBC, and FDLT
The dental laboratory technology profession has historically been the subject of a hotbed of activity on social media outlets since the launch of the Internet. Today, countless open and closed group pages primarily on Facebook see high levels of engagement by technicians. One of the consistent themes posed by some is, “What is the structure of NADL?”
There are in fact three separate but affiliated not-for-profit organizations serving dental laboratories and technicians at the national level. Each has its own annual operating budget overseen by its own volunteer board of directors.
NADL: The National Association of Dental Laboratories is a nonprofit trade association with volunteer members. The core membership comprises laboratory owners (with the majority of members having 10 or fewer employees). Other valued members include individual technicians; suppliers/vendors; state and regional laboratory associations; formal educational programs; and study clubs. It focuses on a mission that is dedicated to ensure the domestic dental laboratory industry can remain competitive and profitable. NADL delivers business management education, understanding and respecting that much of the technical education in the industry is delivered by state and regional laboratory associations, study clubs, and other organizations.
It is the advocacy arm of the three organizations and works with allied dental organizations on issues of mutual interest and is the conduit for government affairs advocacy at the state and federal level with government agencies.
It is governed by a volunteer board of directors elected by the membership.
NBC: The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology was established in 1957 to provide professional certification to both dental technicians and dental laboratories. It is not a membership organization, but rather a certifying body. CDTs and RGs are not required to be members of the NADL, but they are eligible for discounts on NADL products and meetings.
The NBC carries out its work through the efforts of countless volunteers, including item bank writers (for written exams); practical exam examiners; and other subject matter experts. It works with a third-party testing company to ensure the certification process meets or exceeds certification exam standards used by the American National Standards Institute. The NBC is governed by a volunteer board of Trustees, which comprises CDTs and one licensed dentist.
FDLT: The Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology is the newest of the three organizations. It was created in 2008 through both financial seed money from the NADL and intellectual property from the NBC to provide a mechanism to ensure the future viability of formal dental laboratory education. Today, it is solely funded by charitable contributions made by individuals, laboratories, and supplier/vendors.
The Foundation also seeks to deliver valuable workforce training content that dental laboratories can use internally to help technicians through a formal career ladder. The Foundation provides grants, scholarships, and resource coordination to deliver direct support to dental laboratory schools.