The practical examination is the final step of the Australian Dental Council (ADC) assessment process.
The practical examination is the platform for candidates to show they have the competence to perform safely in the role of a dental hygienist, dental therapist, or combined dental hygienist and therapist in Australia. This examination assesses candidates across the Professional competencies of a newly qualified dental hygienist, dental therapist and oral health therapist. These competencies are available here.
You are eligible to sit the practical examination within three years of the successful completion of a written examination for your relevant position.
The practical examination for dental hygiene and dental therapy is held over one or two days. Examinations are usually held twice a year in June and November. Scheduling is done according to demand and availability of the examination centre.
The Practical examination information package for dental hygiene and dental therapy and Practical examination handbook for dental hygiene and dental therapy contain a comprehensive description of the format and requirements of the practical examination. These documents can be accessed here.
Upon successful completion of the practical examination, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Dental Board of Australia (DBA).
Timeframe: Approximately six to nine months.
Cost: AUD $3,150
Am I eligible to sit the practical examination?
Your are eligible to sit the practical examination within three years of successful completion of a written examination for your relevant profession.
When can I apply for the practical examination?
Applications for the practical examination can only be accepted during published written examination application periods.
To apply for a practical examination, you must complete and submit an Application for practical examination - dental hygiene and dental therapy form, along with the relevant supporting documentation and full payment. The application form can be downloaded here.
The application should be downloaded and printed as a hard copy prior to completion. The application form contains detailed guidelines to assist you in completing the form.
All supporting documentation must meet the ADC certification of document guidelines. The guidelines can be downloaded here. Incorrectly certified documents will result in delays, or in your application being declined.
Post your completed application and supporting documents to the address specified on the application form. You will received an email notification when your application is received.
Once your application is assessed, you will receive an email from the ADC advising of the outcome of your application.
You will be provided with additional instructions and information relating to the practical examination prior to the examination date.
Where can I find more information about sitting the practical examination?
The ADC has developed the Practical examination handbook for dental hygienists and dental therapists and the Practical examination information package for dental hygienists and dental therapists. These guides include information about:
- the format of the examination
- what to expect on examination days
- what will be supplied at the examination
- what you need to bring to the examination
- the assessment process
- examination conduct and other policies
- the release of results.
If you are planning to sit the practical examination, you should read both documents carefully. The handbook and information package can be downloaded here.
What can I do to prepare for the practical examination?
The ADC strongly advises candidates to use the information published by the ADC (e.g. handbooks and information packages) as their definitive source of examination preparation material. You can access these resources here.
The ADC does not recommend or endorse any proprietary or informal courses which advertise as preparation for the ADC written or practical examinations. Such courses are developed and run without input from the ADC. The ADC cannot be held responsible for the quality of training or advice provided at such courses.
How do I get my examination results?
Practical examination results for dental hygiene and dental therapy will be emailed to you. Posting of results usually occurs within six weeks of an examination, but may take longer.
Successful candidates will be awarded an ADC certificate confirming their eligibility to apply for registration with the DBA.
Successful candidates are eligible to apply for registration with the DBA. Candidates are advised to read the requirements for registration carefully.
The ADC provides the DBA with a list of successful candidates following each examination.
Candidates failing the practical examination may request that the ADC verifies the accuracy of recording of their results. For more information on the verification process, visit the verifications, reviews and appeals page.
The ADC has a Practical examination appeals policy.
More information about appeals can be found via the verifications, reviews and appeals page.