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A Guide To Dental Apprenticeships

Introduction To Dental Apprenticeships
Are you interested in working in dental health? If so, did you know that that can still be possible even if you don’t want to go on to further full time study after leaving school? Great news, isn’t it. Not everyone wants to pursue a university degree on a full time basis and Apprenticeships mean you can build a meaningful and rewarding career by going straight into the world of work.

Working in dental health can be both a rewarding and lucrative career and Dental Apprenticeships can begin right at entry level and take you right to Higher level. Apprenticeships mean you will be doing real dental jobs where you will earn a wage, you will receive structured training and, once you have successfully completed the Apprenticeship, you will also be awarded with a nationally recognised qualification. This means, when you apply for dental nurse jobs or other roles in the future, employers will know you have all the necessary skills to carry your job out safely and effectively.

How Do Dental Apprenticeships Work?
There are different routes you could take for your career in dentistry. Some of you might want to work directly with patients, doing trainee dental nurse jobs, for example. There is a dedicated Dental Nurse Apprenticeship for this. Or perhaps you are interested in getting hands on with the production of dental products such as dentures and braces. Dental technician jobs and dental lab assistant jobs both have Dental Apprenticeships where you can learn the required skills.

Another possible route for your career is to become a dental practice manager. Dental practice manager jobs would suit those of you who are more interested in the cogs that make up the daily running of a dental practice.

Let’s take a look at these different Dental Apprenticeships - the types of things you will learn and the qualifications you will receive at the end.

Dental Nurse Apprenticeship Standard
If you are a trainee dental nurse, the Dental Nurse Apprenticeship Standard is a Level 3 Apprenticeship where you will assist the dental professionals in the practice you are working in so that all patients get a high level of care.

The Dental Nurse Apprenticeship Standard takes between 18 and 24 months to complete and in that time, you will learn and perform dental nurse duties such as:
  • How to use dental equipment
  • How to react in medical emergencies
  • How to communicate with patients
  • Legislative compliance
  • Disease prevention
  • Oral anatomy
  • Communicating with colleagues
  • Managing your own performance and development
Dental Nurse Registration:
Once you have completed the Dental Nursing Apprenticeship, you will receive a qualification that has been approved by the General Dental Council and this will also mean you will be eligible to register with the General Dental Council as a qualified Dental Nurse. When you apply for future dental nurse jobs, employers will know you have completed the necessary training.

Dental Laboratory Assistant Apprenticeship Standard
This is a Level 3 Dental Apprenticeship and will take a minimum of 18 months to complete. If you would like to work as a dental lab technician in the future, you could begin your career by working as a lab assistant. During this time, you will assist the dental technician and start to learn the basics of producing aids such as bridges, mouth guards and dentures.

Dental technicians produce and repair custom made dental aids from individual prescriptions and you will be learning how to produce these aids to specific guidelines.

Because of the nature of the role of dental laboratory assistant, there is an entry requirement of 4 GCSEs at Grade C, including Maths and English. If you land a place on this Dental Apprenticeship without Maths and English GCSE, you will need to attain those grades before you are awarded your Level 3 qualifications.

At the end of your Dental Laboratory Apprenticeship Standard, you will be awarded Level 3 Diploma in Dental Technology. If you want to continue after this, then there is a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship where, after successful completion, you will be eligible to register with the General Dental Council as a qualified Dental Technician.

Dental Technician Apprenticeship Standard
If you are working in dental technician jobs, have relevant A-levels or you have Level 3 Dental Lab Assistant qualifications, then this Level 5 Dental Apprenticeship could help you develop your career even further. The Level 5 Dental Technician Apprenticeship Standard takes 3 years to complete and, on successful completion, you will be awarded Level 5 Foundation Degree in Science and Dental Technology.

In dental technician jobs, you will take on more senior responsibilities, leading your team of lab assistants. It is during your Apprenticeship where you will start to fine tune your ‘art’ as a dental technician.

Dental Practice Manager Apprenticeship Standard
Not everyone who works in the dental industry works directly with clinical procedures. If you are a driven and organised person with good people skills and administrative skills, then the Dental Practice Manager Apprenticeship Standard could suit you.

This is a Level 4 Dental Apprenticeship and will take 2 years to complete. On successful completion, you will be awarded a Level 4 Certificate in Leadership and Management. This Apprenticeship is ideal for those of you who might want to progress your management career in the future whether inside or outside the dental industry. You will learn skills and knowledge such as:
  • Human Resources
  • Patient care
  • Clinical terms and the roles of the staff within the dental practice
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Risk management
  • Quality assurance
Many of these skills will equip you to work in various management roles and you could go on to area and regional management in the future.

Apply For Dental Apprenticeships In The UK
So do you think you’ve got what it takes to work in the dental industry? Whether you are hoping to be a trainee dental nurse, a future dental technician or a manager of a dental practice, take a look to see if there is a Dental Apprenticeship to suit you.

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