Dentists are primarily trained to treat disease, decay or injuries to teeth and gums. They also diagnose and treat malformations of both hard as well as soft tissue in the mouth and various dento-facial features. This is done with surgery, among other techniques.
Dental technicians are trained to offer supportive services for dental procedures as well as handle dental equipment.
Both these occupations (ANZSCO 252312 and ANZSCO 411213) are listed as skilled occupations in Australia, allowing opportunities for immigration, particularly outside the cities.
Other Skilled Dentistry Occupations
Besides being a dentist or dental technician, there are related occupations in the dentistry spectrum which are on the skill shortages list.
- 252311 Dental specialist
- 411211 Dental hygienist
- 411212 Dental prosthetist
- 411214 Dental therapist
Registering and Practicing in Australia
All dental practitioners are required to register with the Dental Board of Australia (DBA) to be able to practice in Australia. If you are an overseas dental practitioner, you may have to go through an assessment process with the Australian Dental Council (ADC) or the Trade Recognition Australia (TRA) to assess your skills and ensure they are the equivalent to Australia’s standards.
If you are looking to migrate to Australia with the aim of practicing a dental profession, contact the Australian Department of Home Affairs to understand if an assessment of your skills will be required for your visa application. If yes, there are different assessment authorities you may need to approach.
Assessment by the ADC
The Australian Dental Council is an independent non-profit company that awards accreditation for dental professions and operates within the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. It is entrusted to protect public safety and health by ensuring that dental practitioners in Australia meet a high standard.
Countries That May Not Require Assessment
Dentists already registered for practice in NZ are eligible for general registration with the DBA. Those who have a bachelor’s degree from select universities in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada can also apply for general registration. Those from Canadian universities need to fulfil a few additional requirements as well.
International Applicants from Other Countries
Dentists with other qualifications from different countries need to either complete an educational program approved by Australian board or go through an assessment held by the ADC. You can go through this examination by the ADC as long as you have completed and graduated with a dental degree that spanned at least four years of academic study with a registration to practice in that country.
This initial assessment will be done based on your work experience and professional documents.
Full Assessment Process with the ADC
This process has three parts:
- Initial assessment which includes details of qualification documents, work experience and registration history. This takes about eight weeks excluding time required for the submission of additional documents. The cost is $610 AUD.
- Once you complete the initial assessment, you will be eligible to sit for the written exam. This spans over two days to test your knowledge of dentistry and assess reasoning skills as well as judgement related to clinical practice of dentistry in Australia. The timeframe for this part is approximated to be five months and will cost you AUD $2,000.
- The last stage is the practical examination which tests your professional competence to safely carry out the role of a dentist in Australia. This exam also spans across two days – there’s a clinical skills day and a technical skills day. You will be eligible to take the practical examination for three years after you successfully complete the written exam. The timeframe for this is approximately six to nine months and it costs AUD $4,500.
On successful completing of these three stages, you are eligible to apply to the Australian Dental Board for registration.
Assessment Process with the TRA
The Migration Skills Assessment (MSA) program carried out by the TRA is necessary for those applying for a skilled migration visa. This assessment program will help the relevant authorities understand if you have the required skill level and work experience to work in Australia.
It must be noted that a successful assessment by the MSA is not equal to an AQF (Australian Quality Framework) qualification.
To be eligible for an MSA you must possess a qualification that is directly related to the profession in question. You should also have the work experience required in that profession.
Make sure that the TRA is the relevant assessing authority, no refund will be given if it turns out that you are not eligible for the MSA.
You can apply through the MSA online portal, be sure to read through the guidelines carefully first. You will be charged a fee of $1000 AUD for a migration skills assessment and you will receive a receipt to your email. Through the online portal, you can pay via MasterCard or Visa. Receiving the receipt of payment is also your confirmation that your application has been received by TRA. One your application is processed, the TRA will send you an email with the assessment.
Eligible Visa Options for Dentistry
Provisional Skilled Work Regional Visa (now subclass 491)
This replaced the 489-subclass provisional visa in November 2019. The new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa allows skilled workers as well as their families to study, live and work in specific regional areas in Australia for five years. After three years, you may be eligible to apply for PR.
TSS Visa (subclass 482)
This is a regional visa and requires a business to sponsor you. The business needs be a standard business sponsor or an overseas business sponsor in order to be eligible to sponsor you. They can do so only if they are not able to find a permanent resident or an Australian citizen to take up the role.
Training Visa (subclass 187)
This is a short stay visa that allows holders to take part in vocational or occupational training. This training could be to meet the licensing or registration requirements for the profession in Australia. It is generally for a term of two years and can include family members.
RSMS Visa (now subclass 494)
The subclass 187 visa was replaced by the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (provisional) (subclass 494) in November 2019. This type of visa is valid for up to five years and has an upper age limit of 45 years. There are only 10,000 spots available each year and applicants need to be sponsored by a regional employer. Skills assessment and proficiency in English are also required.
Career Prospects are Strong in Dentistry
In the five years between 2014 and 2019, the number of dental practitioners grew strongly. About 64% work full-time roles in the field and this on average, amounts to 42 hours per week. Most dental practitioners work in the social assistance and healthcare industry. It must be noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to change the job market, set up an appointment with us at IDP to better understand the current situation.
Where Can I Study Dentistry in Australia?
Medical universities in Australia are often listed among top international schools and give you a comprehensive education. There are a range of dental courses that you can choose based on where you want your career to take. A bachelor’s degree is the basic qualification in this field and it may help to also complete higher studies. The best dental schools in Australia include:
- University of Melbourne
- University of Adelaide
- University of Sydney
- James Cook University
- University of Queensland
- La Trobe University
If you are entering as a graduate, the course is four years, and for those who need an undergraduate degree as well, it takes up to seven years. Not counting internships, you will need to show proof of continuous work experience spanning at least two years. English language proficiency is required for both university admission and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registration. International applicants need to sit for the IELTS Academic and achieve a band seven for all categories as a minimum requirement.
Wage Expectations for Dental Practitioners in Australia
Dentistry requires a high skill level and is rewarded appropriately with weekly pay approximately $1,742 per week for experienced dental professionals. Those who are first starting out are likely to earn less and this improves with gained work experience. The average full-time working hours per week is about 42 hours.
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