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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:

HLT35021 Certificate III in Dental Assisting
HLT35115 Certificate III in Dental Laboratory Assisting
HLT45021 Certificate IV in Dental Assisting
HLT65015 Advanced Diploma of Dental Prosthetics
HLT55118 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 Forecasts

CLICK HERE to download the 2017 Dental IRC Industry Skills Forecast.

CLICK HERE to download the 2018 Dental IRC Industry Skills Forecast.

CLICK HERE to download the 2019 Dental IRC Industry Skills Forecast.

CLICK HERE to download the 2020 Dental IRC Industry Skills Forecast Update.

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.