Full Time, Part Time

Subject Area

Health, Social Care and Dental Nursing







Course Level


Home / Course / Dental Nursing Diploma Level 3

Who is this course for?

If you’re interested in training to be a Dental Nurse this is the ideal course for you, as it is approved by the General Dentist Council (GDC).  All dental nurses must be registered with the GDC as of 30th July 2008. As a Dental Nurse you will need to have excellent communication and organisational skills as well as being able to work as part of a team.  Additionally, you will need to provide reassurance and support to patients including children and those with special needs, prepare and maintain the clinical environment as well as provide a high standard of cross-infection control.

What do you need to apply for the course?

You’ll need to demonstrate a desire to work in the health care sector and be able to uphold professional responsibilities. Alongside this you will need to possess 4 GCSE’s at grade C or above (or the equivalent) including English.  You may have undertaken some relevant study towards this career pathway.  Furthermore, you will need to ensure you are appropriately immunized to work within the environment, as well as and complete a DBS (Police Check) screening.

If you are eager to get started before September, there is an opportunity to complete a short course – Get Ready for Dental Practice.

What are the key things you'll learn?

You will gain the knowledge, skills and experience to become a competent, registered Dental Nurse. Your training will include:

  • providing chairside support during treatments
  • oral disease and prevention
  • emergency first aid
  • dental radiography
  • infection control
  • fixed and removable prostheses (eg: crowns, implants, dentures, and bridges)
  • principles and theory of dental nursing

caring for patients and maintaining records.

How you will learn

This course combines theory and practice. You will be taught in the classroom, a simulated dental environment and the workplace. Each week you will spend one and a half days in college and three days practice (placement).  For 16-18 students you may need to attend college for an additional half day (this will be discussed at interview).

You are encouraged to seek your own placement; however, the college can assist with this.  Over the duration of the course you will compile a portfolio of evidence which will be assessed by:

Written tasks, Observations, Witness Statements, Reflective accounts, Question and Answer, Research activities.  You will need to complete online multiple choice exam/s.

Where could this course take you?

Once you are qualified you will need to register with the General Dentist Council (GDC), you could find employment within general dental practices, hospitals, as well as the community dental service. You could also train as a dental nurse in the armed forces.


Experience as a dental nurse is a good preparation if you want to move into working as a Dental Hygienist, Dental Therapist, or Health Promotion Officer.

The starting salary of a qualified dental nurse within the NHS is around £16,000 a year. With experience this can rise to between £18,000 and £22,000 within a year. Private practice rates are broadly similar. Team leaders and dental nurse specialists can earn up to £27,600 a year.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

What costs will you incur?

You will need a uniform and one will be provided for you.  If you require additional uniforms they can be purchased at cost price via Sunderland College.

If you are aged 19 or over, on the first day of your course, studying at Level 3 or above, you are able to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the costs of your course, similar to arrangements for higher education students.