Qualifications & Educational Programmes

There are several ways to qualify as a Dental Hygienist / Dental Therapist:

  • Diploma in Dental Hygiene – two year full time course
  • Diploma in Dental Hygiene & Therapy – 27 month full time course
  • BSc in Oral Health Science – three year full time course
  • BSc (Hons) (Edinburgh) – four year course.

Along with Diploma in Dental Hygiene, the University of Essex also offer a Foundation Degree in Oral Health Science (2 year course). 

The entry requirements for these courses vary and you are advised to contact the school of your choice directly for a prospectus.

To have worked in a dental environment and obtained a dental nurse qualification, would be advantageous.

All training is based on the curricula determined by the General Dental Council. A further General Dental Council document confirms your scope of practice.

Useful links to University Course Guides for information on suitable courses:

Education Centres

There are 19 training schools in the UK that offer training to become a Dental Hygienist or Dental Therapist. The majority of training courses lead to a joint qualification, so you can register as both a Dental Hygienist and or a Dental Therapist upon completion of your programme with the GDC.

For further details of the programmes available, please review the online information which should include details about the course structure, qualifications at the end of the training, length of the training course, entry requirements, when the course starts and how to apply. Many training providers will also have Open Days throughout the year, which enables you to meet the staff and see the campus and facilities and are highly recommended.

University of Birmingham

University of Bristol

Glasgow Caledonian University

University of the Highlands & Islands

King's College Hospital London

Queen Mary University of London

University College London Hospitals

Plymouth University Peninsula Schools Medicine Dentistry

University of Central Lancashire - Preston (UCLAN)

UCAS is the central organisation that processes applications for full-time undergraduate courses at UK universities and colleges. Many of the above education providers use the UCAS route for applications to their programmes.

For further information please follow this link: or telephone: 01242 227788.

Training programmes for Dental Hygienists who qualified outside of the UK to register with the GDC

The Dental Hygienist Adaptation Module is suitable if you are a dental hygienist with an existing qualification from outside of the UK who has undertaken the GDC Dental Care Professional assessment of your existing qualification. It will help achieve the GDC required learning outcomes for registration as a Dental Hygienist in the UK.

If you are a UK Hygienist returning to practice, the Dental Hygienist Adaptation Module is an ideal refresher course that can offer you required CPD hours for re-registration with the GDC.

For further information, please contact The School of Health and Human Sciences, The University of Essex, Southend Campus, Elmer Approach, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1LW.

T: 01702 328375 / E:

Clinical postgraduate programmes for Dental Hygienists

University of Bristol

Kings College London

University College London

Clinical postgraduate programmes for Dental Therapists

Kings College London

University of Central Lancashire (Preston)

University of the Highlands and Islands

Coming to work in the UK with an EU or overseas qualification in dental hygiene

By law a Dental Hygienist / Hygienist Therapist must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) to practise in the United Kingdom.

Please contact the General Dental Council for help and advice on how to register, to enable you to work in the UK – / telephone: 0207 887 3800.

Advice sheet for overseas qualified DCPs.pdf

Links to GDC: 

  1. Overseas Registration Exam
  2. Route to Registration

Guidance for Adaptation Period

For information on Dental Hygienist Adaptation Module at University of Essex Click Here