This document has been prepared by the Australian Dental Council (ADC), for the information and guidance of overseas trained dentists who wish to obtain recognition of their qualifications in Australia and become registered to practise dentistry. It is intended as a guide only, and is not legally binding on any of the bodies or agencies listed. The information given is believed to be accurate at the time of printing, however requirements for recognition may vary from time to time.
If you live overseas and are a dentist with a qualification gained outside Australia or a qualification in dentistry gained from an Australian tertiary institution and you intend to migrate and work in this profession in Australia, you should first contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or consulate. Information relating to the general skilled migration program, including requirements for assessment of skills and qualifications, is available in the General Skilled Migration booklet. This can be purchased from the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
If you are already in Australia but need a skills assessment to support an application to change your immigration status, you should seek the advice of the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) in your State or Territory.
If you live in Australia and hold qualifications in dentistry gained overseas you may contact the ADC directly for more information.
Dentistry in Australia
Australia has a federal system of government and is divided into six States and two Territories. Each Australian State and Territory has separate legislation covering the recognition of dental qualifications. To practise dentistry you have to be registered with the local State or Territory Dental Board. The steps you need to take to obtain registration as a dentist in Australia are explained below.
Dentists work in general practice or specialise in one of the following principal fields: Orthodontics, Periodontics, Paediatric (children’s) dentistry, Prosthodontics, Endodontics and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
Dentists trained in Australia must meet the entry requirements of one of the Australian institutions offering dental courses, and then complete the required full-time academic training (approximately five years) leading to a dental degree. If dentists wish to specialise, they must complete extra study after having had clinical experience.
The Universities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Western Australia all offer dental degree courses. The qualifications awarded by these schools satisfy the formal academic requirements for registration of all Australian Dental Boards. The addresses of dental schools and Dental Boards are listed at the end of this document.
Procedures for Assessment and Recognition of Overseas Qualification
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 (ADC) examinations.
Qualifications Immediately Acceptable to Registration Boards
Dentists with a Bachelor degree obtained from the United Kingdom or Ireland may have qualifications which may be acceptable to Dental Registration Boards for immediate registration.
Under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992, subject to certain conditions, if a person is registered to practise an occupation in one State or Territory they can carry out an equivalent occupation in any other State or Territory. Under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA) individuals registered or licensed to practise an occupation in New Zealand are entitled to practise the equivalent occupation in any Australian State and Territory and visa versa. The Mutual Recognition Act and the TTMRA apply irrespective of where training was undertaken.
To find out if you can obtain registration under the provisions of the Mutual Recognition Act or the 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.
Qualifications Not Immediately Acceptable to Registration Boards
If your qualifications do not immediately meet Australian requirements, there are two options. The first is to complete an Australian dental degree course at one of the Australian Universities listed at the end of this document.
The second option is to undertake the examination procedure conducted by the ADC described below.
The Australian Dental Council (ADC) is the organisation responsible for assessing overseas trained dentists to enable them to obtain registration in Australia. ADC also accredits Australian Dental Schools courses leadng to registrable qualifications. The dental boards, the dental schools, the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons and the Australian Dental Association are represented on 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 registered as a dentist in their country of training or practice.
The ADC examination procedures have been developed specifically to assess the qualifications of overseas trained dentists whose qualifications are not accepted as a basis for registration by Australian Dental Boards.
The examination procedure consists of three parts an Occupational English Test (OET); a Preliminary Examination (Multiple Choice Questions and Short Answer questions); and a Final Examination(clinical). These must be taken sequentially.
Occupational English Test (OET)
A comprehensive knowledge of English is essential to the practice of dentistry in Australia. The OET is organised by Language Australia. The OET assesses reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and takes about three and a half hours to complete. If your first language is not English or your dental training was not carried out in English, you must achieve an “A” or “B” standard pass in all four sections of this test. At present, the OET is held twice each year both within Australia and overseas, in March/April and September/October.
If you want further information about the OET, you can contact Language Australia at the following address:Language Australia Ltd Level 4, 51 Queen Street Melbourne 3000 Postal Address: GPO Box 372F, Melbourne 3001 Tel + 61 3 9612 2600 Fax + 61 3 9612 2601
You must pass this test, if applicable, or gain an exemption before you proceed to the Preliminary Examination.
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. Previous examination papers are not available, but sample multiple choice questions are made available to enrolled candidates.
Unlimited attempts are permitted for this examination. A pass is valid for three years.
Final Examination – Clinical
In order to be eligible to sit for the Final Examination, you must pass the Preliminary Examination.
The clinical examination is held over three to six days and includes the following three blocks:
- Conservative Dentistry – Operative Dentistry and Paedodontics;
- Treatment Planning -including consideration of Periodontics and Removable Prosthodontics;
- Oral Surgery, Oral Diagnosis and Radiology.
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.
In the event that applications exceed available places in this examination, a system of priority will be applied:
- first attempt candidates will have priority over repeat attempt candidates;
- the scheduling of first attempt candidates will take into consideration the time since they sat and qualified at the Preliminary Examinations (i.e. shorter time period)
- candidates will be ranked in merit order of their overall score achieved in the Preliminary Examination;
- candidates with fewer repeat attempts will have priority over candidates with a higher number of repeat attempts.
Candidates will be notified of acceptance, the venue and times at least one month before the examination date.
Examination Venues and Training
If you live overseas, you may take the OET and the ADC Preliminary Examination at an overseas 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, usually twice a year in July and November. 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. The venue is currently Melbourne or Sydney. You are allowed unlimited attempts at this Examination, but a new fee must be paid for each attempt.
An ADC Certificate is issued upon successful completion of the ADC examination procedure. The ADC Certificate entitles you to apply for registration with any of the Australian Dental Boards.
How to Apply
To obtain more information, or an application form for an assessment of your eligibility to complete the ADC examination process, you should contact the Australian Dental Council, at:Australian Dental Council (ADC) Level 2, 112 Wellington Parade East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia Tel + 61 3 9415 1638 Fax + 61 3 9415 1669
For current information on fees for the Eligibility Assessment, Preliminary Examination, or Final Examination, you should contact:Australian Dental Council (ADC) Level 2, 112 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia Tel + 61 3 9415 1638 Fax + 61 3 9415 1669
For current information on the Occupational English Test (OET) fee, you should contact:Language Australia Ltd Level 4, 51 Queen Street Melbourne 3000 Postal Address: GPO Box 372F, Melbourne 3001 Tel + 61 3 9612 2600 Fax + 61 3 9612 2601
Each fee for the OET, ADC Preliminary and ADC Final Examination allows only one attempt at the examination. Withdrawal from any examination may result in a cancellation fee being charged.
Appeals and Counselling
The Council will consider any concerns and grievances put to it in writing, addressed to the Chief Executive Officer. Candidates who fail the Final Examination are counselled concerning areas which require improvement. This is done to assist the candidate should she/he enrol for a further attempt at the examination. You may seek advice at any stage of the examination process concerning examination format and procedure.
The Australian Dental Association Inc (ADA) is the national Australian professional body of dentists, founded in 1928, with a branch in every State and Territory. The Association, which aims to improve public health and to promote the ‘art and science of dentistry’, is a member of the FDI World Dental Federation and the Asia Pacific Dental Federation.
Membership is open to any dentist registered in Australia. The national ADA address is:The Australian Dental Association Inc 75 Lithgow Street St Leonards NSW 2065 Tel + 61 2 9906 4412 Fax + 61 2 9906 4676
National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR)
NOOSR is part of the Australian Commonwealth Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA). NOOSR works with the Australian States and Territories and professional bodies to improve recognition procedures in Australia for the overseas trained.
NOOSR offers a general information and referral service on overseas skills recognition which can be accessed on 1800 020 086 between the hours of 9am-12pm and 1.30-4.30pm (EST) Monday to Friday (toll free within Australia only). The postal address for enquiries is:National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition GPO Box 1407 Canberra ACT 2601
Please note that NOOSR does not provide information on how to migrate or on the allocation of points under the skilled migration program; for this information you need to contact the Department of Immigration Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) or your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
NOOSR Bridging Courses
Under the NOOSR Bridging Courses for the Overseas Trained Program, assistance may be available to Australian residents preparing to meet recognition requirements for entry to their profession in Australia, such as examinations set by professional bodies. Further information on the Bridging Program and general eligibility requirements may be obtained from NOOSR. Assistance may also be available under the Assessment Fee Subsidy for Disadvantaged Overseas Trained Australian resident s(ASDOT) to pay fees for the examination conducted by the ADC. For further information, including current eligibility requirements please contact NOOSR.
Overseas trained professionals may be eligible for a Bridging for Overseas Trained Professionals Loan Scheme (BOTPLS) when enrolling for a bridging course.