Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists
Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists provide supportive dental services in preventative and restorative dental procedures, and construct and repair dental appliances.
providing educational programs to motivate children, parents and the community in matters relating to oral health
providing fluoride therapy by applying remineralising solutions and desensitising agents
removing deposits from teeth
applying non-invasive fissure sealants to teeth
taking impressions of the mouth
taking dental radiographs
administering local anaesthesia by infiltration and mandibular nerve block
fabricating full and partial dentures
constructing mouth guards, crowns, metal clasps, inlays, bridgework and other aids
repairing and relining denture bases
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow moderately
- is likely to reach 7,300 by 2026.
Source: National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 61% of people employed as Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 5 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 43 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $1,369 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,346
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,601
Median hourly earnings are $34, this is lower than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists||All Jobs Average|
Around 67% of Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
Western Australia and South Australia have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists is 40 years. This is the same as the all jobs average.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 60% of the workforce. This is 12 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||2.7||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A formal qualification in a relevant field is usually needed to work as a Dental Hygienist, Technician or Therapist. Vocational Education and Training (VET) and university are both common study pathways.
Registration or licencing may be required.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Health Industry VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||2.6||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.6||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists who are caring, compassionate and empathetic and can communicate clearly with a diverse range of people.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Reading work related information.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Looking for ways to help people.
Talking to others.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
43%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
43%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Teaching people how to do something.
43%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
36%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
74%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
65%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
50%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
47%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
44%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
37%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
35%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
32%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
32%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
29%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
29%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
28%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
28%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
43%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
See details that are far away.
41%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Do two or more things at the same time.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
77%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
74%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
72%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
71%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
71%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
68%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
66%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
65%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
65%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
63%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
62%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
59%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
58%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
56%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
55%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
52%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
52%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
49%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
45%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
44%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
100%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
100%Disease or infection
Be exposed to disease or infections.
100%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
100%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
99%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
Talk with people face-to-face.
97%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
95%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
Be exposed to radiation.
Work with people in a group or team.
91%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
90%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
88%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
88%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
86%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
84%Bending or twisting your body
Spend time bending or twisting your body.
Work to strict deadlines.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
78%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
76%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-2021.00 - Dental Hygienists.