CACHE  is the UK’s leading sector specialist, continually investing in high quality qualifications for the care and education industry. Developed by experts, our qualifications help millions of learners raise professional standards across the sector. As a result, we have gained a deserved reputation for excellence and leadership.

NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in the Principles and Practice of Dental Nursing

Our Level 3 Diploma in the Principles and Practice of Dental Nursing qualification is available for learners in England and Wales, and focuses on direct chair side work and support during a range of dental treatments. It also encompasses the underpinning ethics, professionalism, teamwork and communication required to work as a Dental Nurse. It is based on and meets the General Dental Council’s (GDC) ‘Standards for Education’. In addition to this:

  • it covers all the GDC Learning Outcomes and Skills for Health National Occupational Standards (NOS)
  • upon completion, it will enable learners to apply for registration with the GDC*
  • it can be taken as part of the Advanced Apprenticeship in Health (Dental Nursing) in England and Wales and is also included as part of the Apprenticeship Standard for a Dental Nurse in England
  • it is fully funded for adult learners
  • the qualification is graded as pass, merit or distinction.

*The GDC has confirmed provisional approval of this qualification. Final approval will be confirmed following successful inspection by the GDC. Learners who have achieved the qualification would then be able to apply for registration as a Dental Nurse with the GDC.

The qualification usually takes 1 – 2 years to complete, depending on experience and mode of delivery e.g. if it is taken standalone or via an apprenticeship. The minimum duration for the dental nursing apprenticeship is 18 months.


The qualification is assessed both internally, via various methods such as assessment tasks, observations and professional discussion, and externally, via two multiple choice question tests which assess the learners’ knowledge. These tests are online and remotely accessed, allowing them to be taken at the Centre. They are also available on demand, allowing Centres the flexibility of choosing the date and time for submitting learners for their tests. The tests are graded pass, merit or distinction.

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