How to become a Dentist

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Help people smile with confidence


What do Dentists do?


Dentists are medical professionals who diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and problems with people’s teeth and gums. They perform surgeries and procedures on patients in order to correct problems, such as fillings, fitting implants and crowns, deep cleaning procedures, and more.

If you are kind and empathetic, can handle any problem that comes your way, and are dedicated to improving people’s health, becoming a Dentist could be ideal for you.


About you:


  • Caring and compassionate
  • Dextrous with a steady hand
  • Good attention to detail
  • Able to stay calm in difficult situations
  • Reliable and trustworthy
  • Excellent communicator
  • Committed to lifelong learning
  • Can work independently and as part of a team


The job:


  • Diagnose dental diseases
  • Perform examinations on patients
  • Perform surgical treatments and procedures to fix issues with teeth and gums
  • Develop treatment plans for patients
  • Educate patients on dental care and health
  • Prescribe medications and treatments
  • Administer and monitor anaesthetics during treatment
  • Lead teams of other dental professionals, including Dental Assistants and Hygienists
  • Deal with patients who may be anxious or scared


Lifestyle Impact: Moderate


  • Part Time opportunities: Average – 63% of Dentists work full-time, meaning there is some opportunity for part-time roles (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 42 hours a week, which is average (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
  • Dentists’ salary (average) $180,000* per year (Source: com.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Strong (Source: joboutlook.gov.au).


Dentists are most in demand in these locations:


This is a medium-sized and growing industry, with around 11,900 workers in 2019 (source: joboutlook.com.au). There are opportunities available for dentists across the country, especially in rural and regional areas where medical professionals are less common.

Performing examinations and procedures for patients will require you to work on-site, so opportunities to work from home are extremely limited.


How to become a Dentist in Australia


You must complete a Bachelor-level qualification in order to work as a Dentist in Australia. The course you take must be accredited with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra), and you will need to register with the Dental Board of Australia before you can start working.


Step 1 – Complete your high school certificate and take subjects such as English, Maths, Biology, and Chemistry.


Step 2 – Study a relevant Bachelor-level qualification at university. Most courses require you to sit the Universities Clinical Admissions Test (UCAT) for entry, as well as undertaking an interview. Some courses include:

Bachelor of Dental Science at Charles Sturt

Bachelor of Dental Health Science at Griffith

Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the University of Adelaide

Bachelor of Science/Doctor of Dental Medicine at the University of Sydney


Step 3 – Once you have finished your studies, you must register with the Dental Board of Australia before you are allowed to work as a dentist.


Step 4 – Make sure you renew your registration annually and complete 60 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities over a three-year cycle.


Step 5 – Consider upskilling or specialising in a particular area with a postgraduate degree, such as:

Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (Orthodontics) at the University of Sydney

Graduate Diploma in Clinical Dentistry (Conscious Sedation and Pain Control) from the University of Sydney

Doctor of Clinical Dentistry at UQ

Doctor of Clinical Dentistry at UWA


Find out more here –





Similar Careers to Dentist



Dental Hygienist

Medical Doctor

Registered Nurse

Dental Assistant


Aged Care Worker

Pathology Collector


Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Dentists do?


Dentists diagnose and treat a variety of dental problems in patients.


Which industries employ Dentists?


Dentists are most commonly found in the Healthcare and Social Assistance industries.


Do I need to go to university to become a Dentist?


Yes. You will need to complete an approved Bachelor qualification before you can get your registration and start working as a Dentist.


Where do Dentists work?


Many dentists are self-employed or work in a private practice. However, there are also roles available in public clinics and hospitals as well.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Dentist?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Dentist is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. See if you can get work experience in a dentist’s office or other health-related setting. This can help you decide whether or not the career is right for you and can help you start building connections.
  2. Browse courses and make sure you know the entry requirements for the course you would like to study. A lot of them have certain subject prerequisites, such as Maths or Chemistry, and other extra entry requirements such as a UCAT score and interview.
  3. Talk to a dentist and get an insight into what a day in the life is like. They may also be able to provide you with some tips when it comes to choosing a degree or a place to work.
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