Is Dental Nursing a Good Career in the UK?
As a dental nurse, you play a vital role in supporting dentists and patients during dental procedures. Not only is it a rewarding career where you directly contribute to people’s oral health, but it’s also a field with growing opportunities, with options for dental nursing jobs abroad, and plenty of career progression.
This guide aims to answer the key questions surrounding this role, and provide you with the information you need to decide if dental nursing is a good career for you.
What is a dental nurse's salary?
The dental nurse salary in the UK can vary depending on many factors. On average, an entry-level dental nurse can expect to earn around £18,000 to £25,000 per year. This can change based on your experience, where you work, and where you are in the UK.
We have an in-depth dental nurse salary breakdown for dental nurse jobs, measuring the different factors that will impact your salary. As you gain experience and complete your training, you can expect your salary to increase. Working in bigger cities or private practices might offer higher pay compared to smaller towns or NHS practices.
If you are already thinking about whether dental nursing is a good career for progression, you can also read our detailed guide on how to increase your salary as a dental nurse.
It’s important to note that the dental nurse salary isn’t the only benefit. Being a dental nurse can open doors for further training and specialization, which can lead to better pay and opportunities down the line. Plus, the satisfaction of helping people with their oral health and being a crucial part of a dental team is invaluable.
How easy is it to become a qualified dental nurse?
Becoming a qualified dental nurse in the UK is achievable and can be a straightforward process with dedication and effort. To start, you’ll need to complete a dental nurse training course by a course provider accredited by the National Examination Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN). The qualification will then be approved by the General Dental Council (GDC).
The courses run over the course of a year, with different intakes at several points in the year. You can enquire now about the next intake, and discuss your options with an advisor.
As a trainee dental nurse, you can choose between full-time or part-time courses, making it flexible to fit around your schedule. During the training, you’ll learn about dental procedures, how to assist dentists, handle instruments, and maintain a safe environment for both staff and patients. The training is online, designed to fit around your life: whether you have a family, full-time job, or other responsibilities, we have tailored them so that you can complete the training whenever you have time.
Once you complete the training, you’ll need to pass the National Diploma in Dental Nursing examination, which is regulated by the GDC. This exam tests your knowledge and skills to ensure you’re ready to work as a dental nurse.
After passing the exam, you’ll officially be a qualified dental nurse! You can then register with the GDC, which is a necessary step to legally work as a dental nurse in the UK.
If you are unsure if you want to commit a year to your training, we also run half-day courses, in which you can test the water, and see if it is the right career path for you. These low-commitment courses are not designed to push you in any way- instead they are designed to give you the knowledge and confidence to start understanding your career aims at this first step. Our tutors are specially trained to give guidance and motivation for students exploring new ways of qualifying as dental care professional.
Is Dental Nursing a good career for progression?
Career progression as a qualified dental nurse can be exciting and diverse. Once you’re a qualified dental nurse, there are several paths you can take to advance in your career. At Dental Arch, we invest in people and their careers, and are dedicated to supporting you on the best, most fulfilling path for you.
Once registered with the NEBDN, we have CPD courses to further your career and salary, such as basic life support, impressions taking, fluoride application, dental radiography, oral health education, dental implants, and dental sedation nursing.
In addition, when qualified, you could specialize in areas like orthodontics, oral surgery, or pediatric dentistry. Specialization often brings higher pay and more responsibilities.
Another option is to become a senior dental nurse or a head dental nurse, where you supervise other dental nurses and manage the day-to-day running of the practice. This role involves more leadership and organizational skills.
If you want to teach and share your knowledge, you could become a dental nurse tutor and help train new dental nurse students. Teaching can be incredibly fulfilling and allows you to shape the next generation of dental nurses.
Furthermore, with additional training, you can become a dental hygienist or therapist, offering a wider range of services in dental care. These roles often come with higher salaries and more independence in patient care.
Are dental nursing jobs competitive?
There is an increasing amount of available dental nursing jobs in the UK currently. However, it also means that more people are interested in becoming dental nurses, making the job market more competitive. However, like in any job, with dedication and the right approach, you can stand out and secure a position that is perfect for you.
To improve your chances, starting with a good dental nurse training course is essential. Choose a reputable program that provides hands-on experience and helps you build a strong foundation of skills and knowledge.
Networking and gaining practical experience through internships or placements can give you an edge. It allows you to showcase your abilities and make connections in the dental community.
Creating a well-structured and tailored CV that highlights your training, skills, and any relevant experience and professional development is crucial. During interviews, confidently communicate your passion for dental nursing and how you can contribute to a dental practice.
Is it easy to get dental nursing jobs abroad if you train in the UK?
Yes, training as a dental nurse in the UK can make it easier to find dental nursing jobs abroad.
Working a dental nursing job and having a qualification from the UK can open doors and increase your job opportunities in other countries. It shows that you have received comprehensive training and have the necessary skills and knowledge to work as a dental nurse.
The training standards and reputation for dental nursing education in the UK are respected worldwide. Many countries value and recognize the high quality of education and training provided to dental nurses in the UK.
The accessibility of dental nursing jobs abroad vary. Here are some countries where your UK dental nurse qualification can be recognized and valued:
Australia: Australia has a high demand for healthcare professionals, including dental nurses. With the necessary licensing and registration, you can work in the diverse dental healthcare system of Australia.
Canada: Canadian healthcare institutions also recognize UK dental nurse qualifications. You may need to undergo an evaluation process and potentially pass some exams to work as a dental nurse in Canada.
New Zealand: New Zealand welcomes skilled dental nurses, and your UK qualification is generally well-regarded. You may need to meet specific registration and licensing requirements.
United States: While the process can be more complex, your UK dental nurse training is valuable in the U.S. You’ll likely need to undertake additional steps, such as examinations or further training, to meet American licensing standards.
United Arab Emirates (UAE): The UAE often seeks healthcare professionals from around the world, including dental nurses. Your UK qualification can be highly regarded, but you should comply with local licensing and registration procedures.
If you have a particular dental nursing job goal in mind, be it location, career progression, or simply just are interested in getting started, our team are keen to share any advice with you. Get in touch today to make the first steps in your career journey.