Dental hygienists use preventive, educational and therapeutic methods for controlling oral diseases to help individual patients and groups achieve and maintain oral health.

Where dental hygienists are employed

Dental hygienists mainly work with other dental professionals in private dental practices.  There are some opportunities in community health centres, schools, childcare centres, aged care facilities and supported residential facilities.


Full-time dental hygienists in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 per week.

Graph of pay scales for dental hygienists

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 48 people employed full-time as dental hygienists in South Australia compared with 31 in 2006.

How to become one

To become a dental hygienist you usually have to complete a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification in oral health (dental hygiene) or a degree in oral health or oral health therapy approved by the Dental Board of Australia. Ask your career adviser about starting this training in school.

See courses related to this occupation.

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian Universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

Licensing or registration requirements

In Australia all dental practitioners must be registered with the Dental Board of Australia (DBA).  The DBA registers dentists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists, dental therapists and oral health therapists.

Gap training may be required to meet registration requirements.

Recognition of qualifications and skills obtained outside Australia

There are three ways in which overseas qualified dentists can gain recognition to enter the profession in Australia:

  • completing an approved Australian course, where you may be granted some credit from previous studies
  • by immediate recognition of your existing overseas qualifications; or 
  • completing the Australian Dental Council (ADC) examination process. 

For information about assessment of overseas qualifications, and looking for work in Australia visit Recognition of overseas qualifications or contact Skilled Arrival Services on 08 8303 2420 or email

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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