The Student Room Group

Dental nursing

Hi, I'm in year 11 and I'm planning on doing dental nursing.
I have like a 'base plan' of how I'm going to get to my goal. And of course, since I'm still in year 11 I don't know how accurate this plan is to reality, so I would really appreciate it if someone could 'check' that I haven't got any misinformation and I'm on the right track, thank you in advance :smile:


So I plan on doing my gces then doing a - levels which I'm planning on doing a t-level in health and science. While doing my T-levels I'd like to do an apprenticeship for some experience. Then I'd like to do a University course in dental nursing.

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Reply 1
Hi, that's great you're trying to set a plan for yourself. I'm a qualified dental nurse so I can try and help you out. I think T Levels are fairly new so I'm not too sure about them. but if you are looking to do apprenticeship in dental nursing, will you be able to manage alongside T Levels? The college you will do your apprenticeship with will require at least one day or half a day for studying. Then the practice will require at least 20-30hours per weeks ( you will have to check). Some Uni's offer dental nursing but most do it with colleges
Original post by _451
Hi, that's great you're trying to set a plan for yourself. I'm a qualified dental nurse so I can try and help you out. I think T Levels are fairly new so I'm not too sure about them. but if you are looking to do apprenticeship in dental nursing, will you be able to manage alongside T Levels? The college you will do your apprenticeship with will require at least one day or half a day for studying. Then the practice will require at least 20-30hours per weeks ( you will have to check). Some Uni's offer dental nursing but most do it with colleges

Hi, thank you so much for the reply. I think if I do end up taking the T - level course my college makes us do work placements as part of the course. But the thing with that is I'm not sure where they will place me. I can try and to talk to them about that before I enrol in the course. But if I do not get a work placement where I want then I guess I'd have to maybe do an apprenticeship before Uni then. Thank you for pointing it out. Also I have in mind a Uni I want to go to if I get accepted to it. But apart from that I dont really have a backup plan. πŸ˜…
Reply 3
Original post by Maryam Aamir
Hi, thank you so much for the reply. I think if I do end up taking the T - level course my college makes us do work placements as part of the course. But the thing with that is I'm not sure where they will place me. I can try and to talk to them about that before I enrol in the course. But if I do not get a work placement where I want then I guess I'd have to maybe do an apprenticeship before Uni then. Thank you for pointing it out. Also I have in mind a Uni I want to go to if I get accepted to it. But apart from that I dont really have a backup plan. πŸ˜…

No problem! Yeah see what the college say and if they put you where you want to go then that's great. Is there any reason you'd want to do dental nursing at a Uni as opposed to a college? :smile:
Original post by _451
No problem! Yeah see what the college say and if they put you where you want to go then that's great. Is there any reason you'd want to do dental nursing at a Uni as opposed to a college? :smile:

To be honest I have no idea how doing it in college would be like, I had just thought until now that only universities do dental nursing courses πŸ˜… Also I have a question, So how would it work if it were to do a dental nursing course in college, would it be before of after my a-levels (after I'm guessing) Also my college does not do a dental nursing course so would I do my a-levels in my current college then apply for a dental nursing course in another college?

(Side note I was in high school till start of Yr 9 but had to leave since it was far from my house and I was late too often, but I didn't find any spaces for high school where I live till I was 15 and I could take my gcse in my local college which I'm doing now I'm going to take my eng language exam this year and then next year with a course of my choice I'm taking maths, and I'll have to take extra GCSE's aswell)
Reply 5
Original post by Maryam Aamir
To be honest I have no idea how doing it in college would be like, I had just thought until now that only universities do dental nursing courses πŸ˜… Also I have a question, So how would it work if it were to do a dental nursing course in college, would it be before of after my a-levels (after I'm guessing) Also my college does not do a dental nursing course so would I do my a-levels in my current college then apply for a dental nursing course in another college?
(Side note I was in high school till start of Yr 9 but had to leave since it was far from my house and I was late too often, but I didn't find any spaces for high school where I live till I was 15 and I could take my gcse in my local college which I'm doing now I'm going to take my eng language exam this year and then next year with a course of my choice I'm taking maths, and I'll have to take extra GCSE's aswell)

Lol no worries. So only a few unis will offer dental nursing, but the I'm sure the most common route for dental nurses is through a college. I don't know if Unis will charge more, some colleges charge if you're over 18 etc. For instance I did a-levels at sixth form then went onto doing dental nursing apprenticeship but I was 19. Generally colleges pay for the majority of it and will ask for a fee but most of the time the employer/head dentist will pay this fee so no charge for the nurse. What tends to happen is that you will need to find a college that offers dental nursing apprenticeships (many do) you can either do this by ringing them or going on the Gov website OR look on indeed or ring local dental practices and ask if they are taking on trainee dental nurses and they should already have a college in partnership with them.

Some people will start their dental nursing apprenticeship once they finish Yr 11 or some after sixth form or some are middle aged lol. If you're 100% sure on the career then you can do dental nursing after you finish school. I would recommend you don't, and you do your a levels as other further qualifications may help you if you want to progress or change careers. Like I said above, I finished Yr 11, went to sixth form studied a level sociology and double btec health and social care. Then I started my dental nursing apprenticeship. Sorry for the long message lol.

https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch
Original post by _451
Lol no worries. So only a few unis will offer dental nursing, but the I'm sure the most common route for dental nurses is through a college. I don't know if Unis will charge more, some colleges charge if you're over 18 etc. For instance I did a-levels at sixth form then went onto doing dental nursing apprenticeship but I was 19. Generally colleges pay for the majority of it and will ask for a fee but most of the time the employer/head dentist will pay this fee so no charge for the nurse. What tends to happen is that you will need to find a college that offers dental nursing apprenticeships (many do) you can either do this by ringing them or going on the Gov website OR look on indeed or ring local dental practices and ask if they are taking on trainee dental nurses and they should already have a college in partnership with them.
Some people will start their dental nursing apprenticeship once they finish Yr 11 or some after sixth form or some are middle aged lol. If you're 100% sure on the career then you can do dental nursing after you finish school. I would recommend you don't, and you do your a levels as other further qualifications may help you if you want to progress or change careers. Like I said above, I finished Yr 11, went to sixth form studied a level sociology and double btec health and social care. Then I started my dental nursing apprenticeship. Sorry for the long message lol.
https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch

Omg thank you so much.
This has honestly cleared my head so much.
So I'll do my a-levels first and then an apprenticeship
and from the apprenticeship I'll graduate to a dental nurse if I'm not wrong. Also could I ask when you graduate/finish your apprenticeship are you an fully qualified dental nurse? Or is there still some studying left to be done.
Reply 7
You're welcome πŸ™‚
Apprenticeships are generally 12-18 months long and once you've done all your coursework, passed the written exam, oral exam/questions and observations then you will become a qualified dental nurse. You will then need register with the General Dental Council and they will just ask you to provide identification papers etc and then they will award you with a registration number and you're all done. Btw you said something about taking gcse's now because you had leave school, so regarding that you will need to pass Maths and English. If you don't (hopefully not!) Then you will need to do a maths and English test with the college in order to get your dental nursing qualification but they will discuss that with you. All the best!

Maybe ring a local college (thats offers dental nursing apprenticeships) to get some info if you were to enrol once you've done your a levels and find out about fees (but again, it's generally the head dentist who will pay this, not you)
Original post by _451
You're welcome πŸ™‚
Apprenticeships are generally 12-18 months long and once you've done all your coursework, passed the written exam, oral exam/questions and observations then you will become a qualified dental nurse. You will then need register with the General Dental Council and they will just ask you to provide identification papers etc and then they will award you with a registration number and you're all done. Btw you said something about taking gcse's now because you had leave school, so regarding that you will need to pass Maths and English. If you don't (hopefully not!) Then you will need to do a maths and English test with the college in order to get your dental nursing qualification but they will discuss that with you. All the best!
Maybe ring a local college (thats offers dental nursing apprenticeships) to get some info if you were to enrol once you've done your a levels and find out about fees (but again, it's generally the head dentist who will pay this, not you)

Hi, thank you so much for explaining this in detail, this was do helpful honestly. Yes I didn't get to do yr 11 in high school so I am doing my gcse in college. Also if you join an apprenticeship from the dental practice website or indeed etc and not directly join an apprenticeship from the college website, does it make a difference, like you said the dental practice should be partnered with a college. So that would be the same thing right? Please correct me if I am wrong.
Reply 9
Original post by Maryam Aamir
Hi, thank you so much for explaining this in detail, this was do helpful honestly. Yes I didn't get to do yr 11 in high school so I am doing my gcse in college. Also if you join an apprenticeship from the dental practice website or indeed etc and not directly join an apprenticeship from the college website, does it make a difference, like you said the dental practice should be partnered with a college. So that would be the same thing right? Please correct me if I am wrong.

No problem πŸ˜€

It won't too much of a difference if you apply directly to a dental practice or to a college. However if you apply directly to a college then they will already be in contact with some of the local dental practices so they may be able to help find a practice quicker. Come to think of it, it might be better to seek a local college first and if not then call/visit dental practices. For instance, if a local practice says they are taking on apprentices but for whatever reason they've enrolled you late onto college, you may not start college for a few months. You will still be working and learning on the job but you could've started some coursework etc with college in that gap so now you're setting yourself back. Although, at my practice I've had apprentices apply directly through Indeed and we hired them and sorted their college out as soon as they started

Sorry correction on my part, a dental practice will only have a relation or partnership to a college if they're looking to hire a trainee dental nurse (apprentice). So you'd have to call practices and ask if they're taking on trainees/apprentices and if they are, they will let you know the next steps.

What I did was, I went on the Gov website ( the link in the previous message) and searched for an apprenticeship in dental nursing. I found a practice and it said they are in relation to a local college. I applied directly on Gov website and my employer at the time received my CV. My employer then contacted the college who then contacted me to tell me that the practice would like to interview me.
Hope that helps
Original post by _451
No problem πŸ˜€
It won't too much of a difference if you apply directly to a dental practice or to a college. However if you apply directly to a college then they will already be in contact with some of the local dental practices so they may be able to help find a practice quicker. Come to think of it, it might be better to seek a local college first and if not then call/visit dental practices. For instance, if a local practice says they are taking on apprentices but for whatever reason they've enrolled you late onto college, you may not start college for a few months. You will still be working and learning on the job but you could've started some coursework etc with college in that gap so now you're setting yourself back. Although, at my practice I've had apprentices apply directly through Indeed and we hired them and sorted their college out as soon as they started
Sorry correction on my part, a dental practice will only have a relation or partnership to a college if they're looking to hire a trainee dental nurse (apprentice). So you'd have to call practices and ask if they're taking on trainees/apprentices and if they are, they will let you know the next steps.
What I did was, I went on the Gov website ( the link in the previous message) and searched for an apprenticeship in dental nursing. I found a practice and it said they are in relation to a local college. I applied directly on Gov website and my employer at the time received my CV. My employer then contacted the college who then contacted me to tell me that the practice would like to interview me.
Hope that helps

Hi, yes this definitely helps thank you so much. So i was searching online for dental nurses apprenticeships and I had no idea the college im currently doing my gces at also does an dental nursing apprenticeship at another campus of their's. πŸ˜…

But the problem with this is that as u mentioned before I can either do this apprenticeship or do my a-levels (which would be a safer option) and now I'm torn on what to do. I don't know if it will be possible for me to take 3 a-levels and get good grades on them without good gces to start with. If it okay I'm going to link the apprenticeship I've found, if you don't mind could you please look over it as I'm really insecure if I'm making the right decision or not.

https://www.buckscollegegroup.ac.uk/health-and-social-care/2421-level-3-dental-nurse-apprenticeship
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 11
Oh aha that's good then, least there's one local to you.

When will you start doing a-levels? Once you finish your gcse's or alongside them? I mean like we both said, doing a levels beforehand is a safer option but you want to be sure you can achieve good grades. I feel like you're so young but yet so determined and have a plan ahead of you, I think you will be able to achieve good grades. Obviously if you don't want to risk doing a levels now in case you get bad grades etc then you can always do them in the future if you want to, but then there will be a cost involved/other factors like lifestyle. The practice manager at my place , didn't do any a-levels and once she finished Yr 11, she started her dental nursing apprenticeship. After a few years, she became practice manager and now she's developed herself in other ways, like she's now doing fillers and botox in the practice whilst still being a manager.

I've had a look at that link you sent and it looks good. The course duration states 78 weeks? Thats 19 and half months - previously course duration was like 12-18 months but I've had a look on Google and apprently now its more 12-24 months. I did mine in 18 months but that was during Covid hence the delay. I think 19.5 months is a long time but then there's holidays etc to take into consideration. Find out from the college if you can finish it before 19.5 months, maybe if you're ahead with coursework etc, they might be able to reduce the length of the course (try not to be too keen in finishing sooner cos you don'twant them to think you're somebody that wants to rush it). If most colleges around your area has similar duration then I wouldn't worry about it.
There's also something about advanced and intermediate apprenships on that website? Not too sure what that is - give them call and find out and see what you will be doing.
Original post by _451
Oh aha that's good then, least there's one local to you.
When will you start doing a-levels? Once you finish your gcse's or alongside them? I mean like we both said, doing a levels beforehand is a safer option but you want to be sure you can achieve good grades. I feel like you're so young but yet so determined and have a plan ahead of you, I think you will be able to achieve good grades. Obviously if you don't want to risk doing a levels now in case you get bad grades etc then you can always do them in the future if you want to, but then there will be a cost involved/other factors like lifestyle. The practice manager at my place , didn't do any a-levels and once she finished Yr 11, she started her dental nursing apprenticeship. After a few years, she became practice manager and now she's developed herself in other ways, like she's now doing fillers and botox in the practice whilst still being a manager.
I've had a look at that link you sent and it looks good. The course duration states 78 weeks? Thats 19 and half months - previously course duration was like 12-18 months but I've had a look on Google and apprently now its more 12-24 months. I did mine in 18 months but that was during Covid hence the delay. I think 19.5 months is a long time but then there's holidays etc to take into consideration. Find out from the college if you can finish it before 19.5 months, maybe if you're ahead with coursework etc, they might be able to reduce the length of the course (try not to be too keen in finishing sooner cos you don'twant them to think you're somebody that wants to rush it). If most colleges around your area has similar duration then I wouldn't worry about it.
There's also something about advanced and intermediate apprenships on that website? Not too sure what that is - give them call and find out and see what you will be doing.

Yes, I'll be taking my gces alongside my A-levels.
I've figured that either way at this stage I'll probably have to pay for either my A-levels or an apprenticeship if I do my A-levels first. I also feel like I'm kind of rushing it a bit, but I have to pick out my A -levels or apply for an apprenticeship before the new academic year so I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to risk not doing my A-levels in case I might need them but at the same time if I do them now it will be too much stress to do them alongside my extra gces and I might get bad grades.

We're on Easter break right now so when the college re opens ill make sure to speak to a career advisor at my college. 😊
Reply 13
Original post by Maryam Aamir
Yes, I'll be taking my gces alongside my A-levels.
I've figured that either way at this stage I'll probably have to pay for either my A-levels or an apprenticeship if I do my A-levels first. I also feel like I'm kind of rushing it a bit, but I have to pick out my A -levels or apply for an apprenticeship before the new academic year so I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to risk not doing my A-levels in case I might need them but at the same time if I do them now it will be too much stress to do them alongside my extra gces and I might get bad grades.
We're on Easter break right now so when the college re opens ill make sure to speak to a career advisor at my college. 😊

Yeah deffo speak to your career advisor at college! Have you ever done work experience at a dental practice? If not then maybe try and see if you can, it'll give you a decent idea of the job - tell the practice once you're there, that you're looking to do an apprenticeship, cos then they might speak to you more about a nurses role etc.
Original post by _451
Yeah deffo speak to your career advisor at college! Have you ever done work experience at a dental practice? If not then maybe try and see if you can, it'll give you a decent idea of the job - tell the practice once you're there, that you're looking to do an apprenticeship, cos then they might speak to you more about a nurses role etc.

Yes, I haven't done any experience so far. I think I'll go ahead and do an apprenticeship at my college while doing the rest of my GCES and the apprenticeship will give me the qualifications of level 3 dental nursing. 😊
Thank you so much for your advice it really helped me make a decision.
Reply 15
Original post by Maryam Aamir
Yes, I haven't done any experience so far. I think I'll go ahead and do an apprenticeship at my college while doing the rest of my GCES and the apprenticeship will give me the qualifications of level 3 dental nursing. 😊
Thank you so much for your advice it really helped me make a decision.

Aww okay! And no worries, glad I could help. If you need any help with any dental nursing q's you can drop me a message aha. All the bestπŸ™‚
Original post by _451
Aww okay! And no worries, glad I could help. If you need any help with any dental nursing q's you can drop me a message aha. All the bestπŸ™‚
Yes thank you so much, you we're honestly such a great help. 😊
Also, I will also confirm this with the college but you know the link to the apprenticeship I sent, I'm not sure if it says that I will end up with a level 3 qualification. It just says I will be a registered dental nurse by the end of the apprenticeship?
Reply 17
You're welcome πŸ™‚ and the title of the page you sent does state level 3 so you will recieve a level 3 qualification in dental nursing, making you a qualified dental nurse at the end of the course
Original post by _451
You're welcome πŸ™‚ and the title of the page you sent does state level 3 so you will recieve a level 3 qualification in dental nursing, making you a qualified dental nurse at the end of the course

Oh ahaha omg I didn't even see that. πŸ˜…πŸ˜­
Thank you so much for all your help honestly your a life saviour.
Reply 19
Haha πŸ˜‚ and I'm glad I could help! Wish you all the best! x

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