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Dental Nursing

Careers Coach
Career progression and wage information

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Dental Nurses are a high priority within the Dental Care Professionals (DCP) group. This is a growth occupation area due to the increased numbers of dentists and dental therapists.

The primary role of the dental nurse is to support the dentist and other members of the dental team in patient care.

In addition to the support role a dental nurse’s range of duties can include patient care, pre- and postoperative decontamination of dental instruments and the surgery environment, and non-clinical duties such as patient education and participation in clinical and practice management issues.

Dental nurses, after appropriate training can now also take and process x-rays.1

Starting salary (once qualified) ranges from £15,000 - £17,000.

What is an Apprenticeship

An Apprenticeship is a mix of real work and learning. Apprentices earn a wage and get experience whilst working towards a number of qualifications. An Apprenticeship follows a Level 2 programme and can lead onto an Advanced Apprenticeship which is a Level 3 programme.

Example Job Roles as an Apprentice

  • Dental Nurse
  • Dental Therapists and Hygienists
  • Oral Health Promotion Team
  • Dental Practice Management
  • Working within related Healthcare roles such as Nursing and Radiography

Apprenticeship Framework

There are a number of elements to each Apprenticeship and this is called the framework. Each Apprenticeship framework has three main strands:

  • competence based element
  • technical element
  • skills element

The three strands are sometimes accompanied by additional qualifications to give the most relevant skills and knowledge required for the job.

1 Skills for Health; Advanced Apprenticeship/Apprenticeship in Dental Nursing.

Competence Element

Advanced – NVQ Level 3 Dental Nursing

Technical Element

Advanced – Level 3 Award in Dental Nursing

Skills Element

Advanced –

Application of Number Level 2

Communication Level 2

Other Additional Study

Employment Rights and Responsibilities

Apprenticeships Available

  • Apprenticeship 7
  • Advanced Apprenticeship 3 (Average 18 months)
  • Higher Apprenticeship 7

Progression Routes

  • Further Education
  • Higher Education/Foundation Degree
  • Professional Qualifications
  • Management positions
  • Progression to roles within dental sector or health sector

Already Employed?

Are you currently employed but not working towards qualifications? Speak to your employer about converting to an Apprenticeship and ask them to call 08000 150 600 for more information. For more Information and to Apply


If you require further advice or support on Apprenticeships please contact your local Connexions or Careers Advice Service.