In this section

Dental IRC

The dental sector qualifications were reviewed in 2015. The qualifications are in the HLT Health Training Package, which was endorsed in December 2015.

Dentistry is ‘the science and art of preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries and malformations of the teeth, jaws and mouth’ (as defined by the World Health Organisation).

In 2012 there were 22,300 dental assistants with a projected need for 26,200 by 20181.

The sector comprises businesses that range from small to large practices.

The dental health sector includes some occupations outside VET’s scope:

  • Dentists
  • Dental therapists
  • Dental hygienists
  • Oral health therapists.


The occupations within VET’s scope that have contact with patients are:

Dental prosthetists or clinical dental technicians: Consults with clients in the assessment, treatment and management of removable dentures and the building of personalised removable mouthguards for sport. These are nationally-registered primary healthcare professionals who work as independent practitioners.

Dental assistant: Works with a dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist to help maintain high standards of infection control during procedures. Dental assistants may also assist with practice administration and reception duties. Those with higher qualifications may have supervisory tasks.

The occupations within VET’s scope that do not have contact with patients are:

Dental technicians: Constructs and repairs dentures and other dental appliances, including crowns, bridges, partial dentures, pre- and post-oral and maxillofacial surgical devices, and orthodontic appliances. Dental technicians work in dental laboratories on their own or in small groups, under the prescription of dentists.

Dental laboratory assistants: Pours impressions, produces custom-made trays, manufactures occlusal registration rims, transfers oral records, helps make models for prostheses, and constructs mouthguards.


The VET qualifications that cater to this sector are:
HLT35015 Certificate III in Dental Assisting
HLT35115 Certificate III in Dental Laboratory Assisting
HLT45015 Certificate IV in Dental Assisting
HLT65015 Advanced Diploma of Dental Prosthetics
HLT55115 Diploma of Dental Technology.

Links to view and download the content for each of these qualifications may be found in our Training Packages section.

Dental IRC Industry Skills Forecast

On 30th September 2016, IRCs submitted their initial four-year workplans to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) for consideration. These workplans were developed incorporating information sourced in a variety of ways, including meetings and consultations with stakeholders, desktop research, an industry workforce survey open to all stakeholders, across all industries for a five-week period and consultation with IRC members and their stakeholder networks.

In April 2017, these workplans were refreshed, retitled as Industry Skills Forecasts and again submitted to the AISC. An IRC’s Industry Skills Forecast provides an overview of the sector and the current challenges and opportunities it faces, along with an analysis of current and projected employment and workforce skills needs. It proposes a schedule for the ongoing review of relevant training package products to inform the AISC’s development of the four-year rolling National Schedule.

It is noted that this Industry Skills Forecast has been developed and signed off by this IRC, but the final decision with regard to the scheduling of training product development rests with the AISC, once it has reviewed the submitted Industry Skills Forecasts of all 60 plus IRCs across the various sectors of Australian Industry. The confirmed National Schedule is published on the AISC website once approved.

CLICK HERE to download the Dental IRC Industry Skills Forecast.

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Employed persons by occupation, state, status in employment, sex from SuperDataHub custom data, accessed January 2015; Australian Government Department of Employment, Industry and Occupational Projections to November 2018, accessed September 2014 from</p.