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Welcome to our overseas hygienists

If you are considering the opportunity of working in Australia. The DHAA have gathered the following information to outline the necessary steps needed to be taken before practising as a dental hygienist or oral health therapist in Australia.

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Important steps for overseas hygienists

There are some minimum requirements and compulsory qualifications required before you hop on that plane. Check out this list.


[accordion-item title=”Minimum legal requirements to work as a dental hygienist in Australia”] To work as a dental hygienist or oral health therapist in Australia you will be required to;

  • • Possess a valid work permit (Visa).
  • • Possess an international criminal history check from an approved supplier.
  • • To pass a Registration Examination for licensing by the relevant licensing body.
  • • Register with the Dental Board of Australia.

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[accordion-item title=”Organisations that assess overseas dental hygienists and dental therapists”]

Approved Examining Bodies

  • Australian Dental Council
  • Occupational English Test Centre

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      [accordion-item title=”Special conditions that may apply if accepted for employment”] To work as a dental hygienist or oral health therapist in Australia you must adhere to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009. More details can be found on the immigration website.


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      [accordion-item title=”Necessity to be fluent in the country’s main language”] The Occupational English Test (OET) is a language test for health practitioners that assesses English language proficiency as it is used in the dental profession. This test must be completed and successfully passed before you may register as a practitioner. The OET is administered by the OET Centre up to ten times a year and in over 40 locations around the world. The Test measures the English language competency of health practitioners who are seeking registration to practise in an English-speaking context in Australia. It is designed to ensure that language competency is assessed in the relevant professional context.


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      [accordion-item title=”Who to contact for a work permit”] The Australian Consulate in the country of residence. More information can be obtained at the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs website.

      It is not usually required to have a job offer before a work permit is issued.


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      [accordion-item title=”Who can sit the National Registration Examination”] The exam is open to dental hygienists only. It is a requirement that you have graduated from a recognised dental hygiene school, and are currently registered and practicing as a dental hygienist in your country.

      For overseas dentists, reading this information, please see the Australian Dental Council website.


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      [accordion-item title=”How dental hygienists or oral health therapists are employed in Australia”] The majority of dental hygienists and oral health therapists are employed in private dental practices (general or specialist) and are concentrated in Australia’s major capital cities. Currently, there are very few hygienists or oral health therapists working in country areas or the public sector.

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      [accordion-item title=”Standard duties likely to be permitted legally”] Visit the Dental Board of Australia website to view the Scope of Practice Registration Standard and all other Standards, Codes and Guidelines that govern the practice of dentistry in Australia.

      If you would like further information, we recommend you review the Australian Dental Council Professional Attributes and Competencies of the Newly Qualified Dental Hygienist. This can be found on the Australian Dental Council website.


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      [accordion-item title=”Further Information”] Information about the assessment pathway to registration in Australia for overseas qualified dental hygienists and dental therapists, from the Australian Dental Council can be obtained from the following sources;

      Or you can download the PDF here (321 KB)


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