Student or trainee dental nurses or dental technicians

Student or trainee dental nurses or dental technicians

Guidance for employers, supervising registrants and educational course providers

We have recently reviewed our guidance for those employing, supervising or training trainee/student dental nurses or dental technicians.

This guidance explains what is expected in respect of a registrant employing student/trainee dental nurses and dental technicians.

This guidance is based on our Standards for the dental team​ which are designed to protect patients and the public. You are expected to read and comply with these as well as with this guidance when employing or supervising dental nurse and dental technician student/trainees, i.e. people who are not already registered with us. In particular, you may find the following relevant:

What defines a student/trainee dental nurse or dental technician?

They are either:
  • Employed and enrolled or waiting to start on a recognised programme that will lead to GDC registration; or
  • Studying on a recognised programme that leads directly to GDC registration.


Before appointing an individual to work as a trainee, you should ensure the individual is capable of enrolling on a course recognised for registration

You should identify appropriate courses leading to registration.

You should allow and require the trainee to enrol on a recognised programme, and meet the obligations that are required of it.

You should identify a supervising GDC registrant and ensure they carry out the necessary supervision in accordance with this guidance.

You should facilitate and support the trainee to complete the programme. 

Duration of training 

  • The trainee must begin their programme within two years of commencing employment.
  • The trainee should achieve their award, or qualification, within the normal duration of the course or up to one year after the expected course completion date.  


Before the trainee dental nurse or technician undertakes any duties in the practice or laboratory, they must receive a formal structured induction, including training regarding patient safety and confidentiality; infection control; the protection of vulnerable children and adults; and how to deal with medical emergencies. 


The trainee dental nurse or technician must not undertake exposure prone procedures until they have the appropriate vaccinations (if applicable) as required to practise.  Please refer to the relevant health protection body in your country for further information.

A named GDC supervising registrant must take full responsibility for providing direct supervision of the individual trainee. However, according to the ability and progress of the trainee, supervision may be delegated (if appropriate) to other GDC registrants. The named supervising registrant will continue to be accountable overall for the trainee.

The employer must ensure that the individual trainee keeps a log book of training they receive (including induction), which is regularly signed off by the designated supervisor.

Failure to comply with this guidance

GDC registrants who employ, manage and/or supervise students/trainees risk fitness to practise proceedings if they fail to comply with this guidance or with the Standards for the Dental Team.​​​​