Dental Board of Australia - Student registration and graduates
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Student registration and graduates

The Dental Board of Australia (the Board) and and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) have a range of resources for education providers, students and new graduates to help explain what it means to be a registered dental practitioner in Australia. Information on student registration and information for graduates registering with the Board for the first time can be found on the Ahpra website.

What do students need to know about dental practitioner regulation?

Below are some of the basics you need to know:

  • You don’t need to apply for student registration, your education provider does it on your behalf and there are no fees for registration as a student.
  • The Board regulates dental practitioners in Australia and its functions include:
    • registering students, dentists, dental specialists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, oral health therapists and dental prosthetists
    • developing standards, codes and guidelines for the dental profession
    • handling complaints against practitioners and students
    • assessing overseas-trained practitioners who wish to practise in Australia, and
    • approving accreditation standards and accredited courses of study.
  • The Board’s functions are set out in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory – what we call the ‘National Law’.
  • Ahpra is the agency that works in partnership with the Board to implement their duties in the National Scheme.1
  • The Board may take regulatory action involving a dental student in response to:
  • Anyone can make a complaint (what we call a ‘notification’) about a student regarding an impairment or a criminal matter and the Board can consider if regulatory action is needed to protect the public.
  • The Board publishes an English language skills registration standard – you must meet this standard when you register as a dental practitioner at the end of your course.
  • The Board regularly publishes newsletters on its website so you can keep up to date with what’s going on.

Information for students starting their dental studies

The Board has produced a vodcast to explain your obligations as a registered dental student. The vodcast will tell you about the Board, give you some information on the National Scheme,1 what the Board does as a regulator and what you need to know and do as a registered dental student, both now and before you complete your studies.

The Board has also produced a poster as a learning resource for students. The Board encourages education providers to download the poster and share it, including on student portals.

What do graduates need to know about applying for registration?

Online registration for graduate applications is open from mid-September and you can submit your application up to three months before you expect to complete your course. Information for graduates registering with the Board for the first time, including how to complete your application online, can be found on the Ahpra website.

New graduates are encouraged to watch the video on the Ahpra website about how to apply for registration to help get your application right the first time. Documents missing from an application or not correctly certified will delay your application being assessed and your registration being approved. 

Ahpra cannot register you with the Board and add your name to the online national register of practitioners until:

  • you have been assessed as meeting all the registration requirements
  • the results of your criminal history checks have been received, and
  • your education provider has given us your graduate results.

Information video for graduating students

This video is relevant to dental students who are nearing the completion of their approved programs of study in Australia and will soon be seeking registration as a dental practitioner. As of 2020, Ahpra and National Boards no longer send paper certificates of registration. When a graduate’s application is finalised, they will be sent an email confirming their registration and listing on the national register of practitioners; the online register is updated every day and is the safest and most up-to-date way for a practitioner or an employer to check someone’s registration details. If a paper certificate of registration is needed, a copy can be downloaded from the online services portal.

1 National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme)

2 Under the National Law, a student with impairment is a person who has a physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder, including substance abuse or dependence that detrimentally affects or is likely to detrimentally affect, the student’s capacity to carry out clinical training. It is important to note that if you do have impairment, the threshold for reporting is high. Remember, your health matters. Dental Practitioner Support is a national health and wellbeing support service operating 24/7 for dental practitioners and students.

Page reviewed 10/03/2022