Dental Practitioners diagnose and treat dental disease, restore normal oral function using a broad range of treatments, such as surgery and other specialist techniques, and advise on oral health.
diagnosing dental diseases using a range of methods such as radiographs, salivary tests and medical histories
providing preventative oral health care such as periodontal treatments, fluoride applications and oral health promotion
providing restorative oral care such as implants, complex crown and bridge restorations, and orthodontics, and repairing damaged and decayed teeth
providing oral surgical treatments such as biopsy of tissue and prescription of medication
performing routine orthodontic treatment
restoring oral function with removable and fixed oral prostheses
assisting in diagnosing general diseases having oral manifestations such as diabetes
educating patients to take care of their mouth and teeth
leading a dental team which may comprise Dental Hygienists, Dental Therapists, Dental Assistants and other Dental Specialists
JSA 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 very strongly
- is likely to reach 22,300 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia 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 Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 64% of people employed as Dental Practitioners work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is similar to the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 42 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $2,297 per week, this is much higher than weekly earnings for all jobs ($1,593).
Median hourly earnings are $60, this is more 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 Practitioners||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.
Most Dental Practitioners work in the Health care and social assistance industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Dental Practitioners||All Jobs Average|
Around 73% of Dental Practitioners live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
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 Practitioners is 41 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 42% of the workforce. This is 6 percentage points below 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 Practitioners||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||6.4||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 dentistry is needed to work as a Dental Practitioner. Some workers have a postgraduate qualification.
Registration with the Dental Board of Australia is required.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Dental Practitioners||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||23.4||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.1||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 Practitioners who are caring and empathetic and can work well in a team, with the ability to communicate with a diverse range of people.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Reading work related information.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
59%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
59%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
57%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Talking to others.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Teaching people how to do something.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Looking for ways to help people.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
54%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
43%Management of financial resources
Figuring out how money is needed to do something, and keeping track of the money that's being spent.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
81%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
78%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
55%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
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.
52%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
51%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
49%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
38%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
38%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
37%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
35%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
33%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
32%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Communicate by speaking.
Read and understand written information.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
57%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
54%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
86%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
79%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
78%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
78%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
77%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
76%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
75%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
74%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
72%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
72%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
71%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
70%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
69%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
68%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
67%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
67%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
66%Guiding and directing staff
Guiding and directing staff, including setting and monitoring performance standards.
64%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
62%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
57%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
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.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
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.
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.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
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.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
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.
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.
Talk with people face-to-face.
99%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
98%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Work with people in a group or team.
97%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
96%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
96%Disease or infection
Be exposed to disease or infections.
95%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
95%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
95%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
93%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
93%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
93%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
92%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
Talk on the telephone.
92%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
90%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
Be exposed to radiation.
85%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
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, 29-1021.00 - Dentists, General.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.