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Dental Nurse Training

There is no particular organisation or central body responsible for the range of training and courses for dental nurses.  The British Association of Dental Nurses does not run courses but has a great interest in the advancement of the dental nursing profession through education and training.  The Association receives many enquiries about dental nurse training and so we have produced this information sheet to explain a little about the background to dental nursing and the various organisations involved who may be able to help you further.

Generally speaking, there are no academic requirements to enter the profession.  Most dental nurses begin their career by finding a job in a local general practice dental surgery and are trained on the job by the dentist or senior staff.  At present, there is no statutory requirement to train and become qualified.

This information sheet gives details on the following subjects:

  • Training in the Workplace: The National Certificate Qualification and Dental Nursing NVQs
  • Training in a School of Dental Nursing
  • Training in the Armed Forces
  • Training by Distance Learning
  • Information on the BADN’s National Teaching Group
  • Information on the Voluntary National Register of Dental Nurses
  • Information on the Statutory Registration of Dental Nurses

The National Certificate Examination

For many years the most widely accepted standard dental nursing qualification has been the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses’ National Certificate Examination and about 3,000 dental nurses a year enter for this.  The courses are mainly held at local colleges of further education and students attend, on average, one evening a week for an academic year.  The examinations are held in May and November each year.  In addition to passing the examination, students must also have worked full-time for 24 months chairside (or equivalent part time), before being finally granted the National Certificate.  Students are therefore usually required to be working as dental nurses before being accepted onto a course in order that they may learn the practical aspects of the work during their daytime employment. 

It is expected that the National Certificate examination will continue to be available for some years, running alongside the new NVQ system.  The National Examining Board for Dental Nurses issues a prospectus which includes the syllabus and names and addresses of training providers.  Further information can be obtained from:

The National Examining Board for Dental Nurses
110 London Street, Fleetwood, FY7 6EU
Tel: 01253 778417 Fax: 01253 777268
e-mail:
jennifer@nebdn.org