Working in Australia

Welcome to our International colleagues who maybe considering the opportunity of working in Australia. The information provided below outlines the necessary steps needed to be taken before practising as a dental hygienist in Australia.

What minimum legal requirements are necessary to be able to work as a dental hygienist in Australia?

Require a work permit (Visa).


Must pass a Registration Examination for licensing by the relevant licensing body.


Must register with the Dental Board of Australia.


Who are the organisations involved in the assessment pathway for overseas qualified dental hygienists and dental therapists?



Dental Board of Australia.


Approved Examining Body


Australian Dental Council

       Exams are carried out at TAFE SA or Curtin University


Occupational English Test Centre


What special conditions may apply if I am accepted for employment?

Who do I contact for a work permit (if required)?

The Australian Consulate in the country of residence. More information can be obtained at the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs website.

Does a job offer need to be placed before a work permit is issued?

Not usually

Is it necessary to be fluent in the country's main language?

Yes (English). 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. 


Are overseas qualified hygienists required to sit the country's National registration examination?


An overseas qualified dental hygienist has two options.


The first is to complete an Australian qualification (a list of Board approved qualifications can be found on the Board’s website).


The second pathway is to undertake the assessment process overseen by the Australian Dental Council (ADC). Information about this pathway to registration in Australia for overseas qualified practitioners can be found on the ADC’s website. This can be seen by clicking here


There two locations where the exams are carried out 


South Australia



Centre for Dental Studies

Gilles Plains Campus

Blacks Road





Western Australia – Curtin University of Technology 


Department of Dental Hygiene and Therapy
 Curtin University

GPO Box U 1987

Perth 6845

Western Australia



Please contact the Australia Dental Council for further information:


Australian Dental Council

Ground Floor

120 Jolimont Road

East Melbourne Vic 3002


Tel + 61 3 9657 1777

Fax + 61 3 9657 1766



Website: (downloadable application form available here also)


This examination is recognised by the Dental Board of Australia. 




* Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists who are registered to practise in New Zealand are eligible to apply for General Registration under Trans Tasman mutual recognition (this applies irrespective of where training was undertaken). An application form is available form the dental board of Australia




Can anyone sit the Registration Examination?

No. 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

How are dental hygienists employed in Australia?

The majority of dental hygienists are employed in private dental practices (general or specialist) and are concentrated in Australia's major capital cities. Currently, there are very few hygienists working in country areas or the public sector

What are the standard duties likely to be permitted legally?

Dental health education, oral hygiene instruction, dietary counselling, taking histories, examination and recording of conditions of the hard and soft tissues and the recording of periodontal disease, radiography, impressions, study models, fluoride therapy, fissure sealants, polishing restorations, overhang removal, temporary restorations, scaling and prophylaxis, root debridement, rubber dam application, removal of sutures, periodontal dressings, application of desensitising agents and remineralising agents, orthodontic procedures, clinical photography, tooth bleaching.


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


Where can I get more information?

Information about the assessment pathway to registration in Australia for overseas qualified dental hygienists and dental therapists
This is information about the assessment pathway to registration in Australia for overseas qualified dental hygienists and dental therapists, from the Australian Dental Council
Information about the assessment pathway
Adobe Acrobat Document [432.3 KB]

Dental Board of Australia


Overseas Qualified Practitioners: Dental Hygienists & Dental Therapists


Australian Dental Council


Assessment of Overseas Qualified Practitioners


Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency




The Occupational English Test Centre


Occupational English Test Centre


Approved Examining Body

       Australian Dental Council




General Information:

PO Box 10030
Gouger Street