August 2014 Commonwealth of Australia 2014



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Workforce inflows

Graduates


As highlighted in the ‘Oral health therapists – Graduates’ section, there is considerable overlap in courses accredited in oral health practice, where most currently accredited courses can lead to registration under more than one profession. Because of this overlap, and because there is no information available to show which profession graduates of each course elect to register as, information on the number of dental hygienist graduates is not presented.

Migration


Table 38 and Table 39 present the number of permanent visa grants (where a person held no previous working visa) and 457 temporary work (skilled) visa grants to dental hygienists from 2007 to 2012. Few visas were granted under either category across the period.

As noted earlier, this potentially includes people who are trained as oral health therapists, who are assessed as either a dental hygienist or dental therapist for visa purposes (refer Oral health therapist – migration).

Table : Number of permanent visa grants to dental hygienists with no previous working visa, 2007 to 2012

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

12

10

8

5

14

19

Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Table : Number of temporary visa grants to dental hygienists, 2007 to 2012



2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

10

8

4

2

3

2

Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Dental therapists

What is a dental therapist?


Dental therapists provide oral health assessment, diagnosis, treatment, management and preventative services for children, adolescents and young adults and, if educated and trained in a programme of study approved by the DBA, for adults of all ages. Their scope may include restorative/fillings treatment, tooth removal, additional oral care and oral health promotion. Dental therapists may only work within a structured professional relationship with a dentist.49

How are dental therapists trained?


Completion of an approved programme of study is required in order to register and practise as a dental therapist in Australia. There is currently one approved one-year Graduate Diploma in Dental Therapy, offered by the University of Newcastle, which leads to registration as a dental therapist. There are also eight approved three-year bachelor degrees which can lead to registration as a dental therapist, however practitioners who complete these degrees are also eligible to register as oral health therapists and undertake work in the dental hygienist scope of practice, as well as the dental therapist scope of practice.50 All approved programmes of study incorporate a period of clinical practice, usually in public dental hospitals and university facilities.

What is the assessment process for overseas-trained dental therapists?


Dental therapists are included on the skilled occupation list and the consolidated sponsored occupation list. This means overseas-trained practitioners with qualifications in dental therapy can migrate to Australia independently or through sponsored programmes including state and territory, regional and employer sponsored schemes. They are also eligible for temporary migration through the 457 Temporary Work (skilled) visa

Skills and qualifications of overseas-trained dental therapists are assessed for two purposes:



  1. For visa grant purposes. This assessment is conducted by VETASSESS, with skills and qualifications assessed for equivalency to Australian standards.

  2. For registration purposes. To be able to register with the DBA and practise in Australia, the ADC conduct a process which includes an assessment of documents, an English language test (dependent on country of origin), and written and clinical examinations. Only dental therapists who hold qualifications obtained after at least two years’ full-time study and who held registration or licensure in their country of training or country of residence are able to apply for the ADC assessment. The exception to this is those dental therapists who are registered to practise in New Zealand – they are eligible to apply for general registration without having completed the ADC assessment (under trans-Tasman mutual recognition).
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