Dentistry in Australia

Dentistry in Australia

All overseas trained dentists who wish to work in Australia are required to have their dental qualifications assessed for equivalence of standards, and be registered as a dentist in Australia.

The Australian Dental Council (ADC) is the organisation responsible for assessing overseas trained dentists to enable them to obtain registration in Australia. The ADC also accredits Australian Dental Schools courses leading to registrable qualifications.

The professional associations representing dentistry in Australia are The Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons, The Australian Dental Association, The Australian Dental & Oral Health Therapists Association and The Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, all of these bodies are represented on the ADC.

Australia has six States and two Territories. Each Australian state and Territory has separate legislation covering the recognition of dental qualifications. To practise dentistry in Australia you must be registered with the Dental Board in the State or Territory in which you intend to practice. Under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992, subject to certain conditions, if a person is registered to practise dentistry in one State or Territory they can carry out an equivalent occupation in any other State or Territory.

There are three ways in which overseas qualified dentists can enter the profession in Australia:

  • by enrolling at an Australian dental school where they may be granted some credit for previous study;
  • by immediate recognition of their existing qualifications; or
  • by successfully completing the Australian Dental Council examinations.

Dentists with a Bachelor degree obtained from the United Kingdom or Ireland may have qualifications acceptable to Dental Registration Boards for immediate registration.

Dentists registered or licensed to practice dentistry in New Zealand may be entitle to practice dentistry in Australia under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement(TTMRA). To find out if you can obtain registration under the provisions TTMRA you should contact the relevant registration authority in the Australian State or Territory in which you intend to practise.

As the acceptability of any dental qualification may change from time to time, you should seek up-to-date information from the Registration Boards.

If your qualifications do not immediately meet Australian requirements, you can either complete an Australian dental degree course at one of the Australian Universities with dental courses accredited by the ADC, or undertake the examination procedure conducted by the ADC.

Overseas trained dentists are eligible to undertake the ADC examination procedure if they have completed and passed a dental degree which included at least four years' full-time academic study at a university recognised by the ADC and are registered as a dentist in their country of training or practice.

The examination procedure consists of three parts which must be taken sequentially, you must pass each test before undertaking the next.

  • The Occupational English Test (OET);
  • a Preliminary Examination consisting of Multiple Choice Questions and Short Answer questions); and
  • a Final Examination(Clinical).

The OET is a comprehensive knowledge of English which is essential to the practice of dentistry in Australia, the OET assesses reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and takes about three and a half hours to complete. All overseas trained dentists (regardless of country of training) will be required to pass the OET examination with an "A" or "B" standard pass in all four sections prior to acceptance into the Australian Dental Council examinations. No exemptions will be granted. Information about the OET can be found on the OET website.

You must pass this test before you proceed to the Preliminary Examination, a pass is valid for 2 years.

The Preliminary Examination is a written examination in multiple choice and short written answer format. It is designed to test your knowledge of the practice of dentistry and of clinical and technical procedures as they are practised in Australia. Sample multiple choice questions are made available to enrolled candidates. Unlimited attempts are permitted for this examination, a pass is valid for three years.

In order to be eligible to sit for the Final Examination - Clinical you must pass the Preliminary Examination. This examination is held over three to six days and includes the following three blocks:

  • Conservative Dentistry - Operative Dentistry and Paediatric Dentistry;
  • Treatment Planning -including consideration of Periodontics and Removable Prosthodontics; Oral Surgery, Oral Diagnosis and Radiology.
  • All aspects of all clinical disciplines such as Orthodontics, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Pharmacology will be included where appropriate (practical and/or theoretical and/or viva voce). You will be examined at a level no less than that reached by graduates from Australian universities.

Unlimited attempts are permitted for this examination but it must be undertaken within three years of passing the Preliminary Examination.

If you live overseas, you may take the OET and the ADC Preliminary Examination at an overseas venue. Availability of venues varies and some venues may not be available for a particular session. All visa and travel arrangements are the responsibility of the candidate. Candidates should ensure that they are able to travel to the nominated venue. If you are in Australia, you can sit both these examinations in any of the State capital cities and some larger provincial centres.

The Preliminary Examination is usually held in the first week of March and in the first week of September each year. You are allowed unlimited attempts at this examination, but a new fee must be paid for each attempt.

The Final Examination is held only in Australia. Candidates resident outside Australia may be able to obtain a temporary entry visa, at their own expense, to cover the trip to Australia to attend the examination. You are allowed unlimited attempts at this Examination, but a new fee must be paid for each attempt.

An ADC Certificate which entitles you to apply for registration with any of the Australian Dental Boards is issued upon successful completion of the ADC examination procedure.

To obtain more information, or an application form for assessment of your eligibility to complete the ADC examination process, you should contact the Australian Dental Council.

Details of the relevant state registration boards are below:

Dental Board of New South Wales
Dental Board of The ACT
Dental Board of Queensland
Dental Board of Western Australia
Dental Board of South Australia
Dental Practice Board of Victoria
Dental Board of the Northern Territory
Dental Board of Tasmania