Advanced Diploma of Oral Health (Dental Hygiene)

CRICOS Code: 107254M
National Code: 10926NAT


The Advanced Diploma of Oral Health (Dental Hygiene) is designed to provide learners with the skills and knowledge on graduation to apply to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to work as a dental hygienist in both private and government sectors in accordance with the legislative provisions and contemporary dental hygiene practice and theory.

Duration (incl. holidays)
Teaching Duration
Print Course Page
104 weeks
80 weeks
Campus / Location
Study Mode
Contact Hours
Study Load

Course Admission Requirements
(for International Applications)

  • Satisfactory completion of Year 12 or overseas equivalent .
  • Academic IELTS score of 7.0 Overall with a minimum of 7.0 in all bands, the Occupational English Test – A's and/or B's in all areas of assessment, or equivalent.
  • Successful completion of the TAFE SA Dental Hygiene Admission Test. To be successful in this test applicants would need a Certificate III in Dental Assisting or recent dental experience. The test is only conducted between Adelaide office hours of 9.00am-5.00pm Monday-Friday in August/September of each year for overseas based candidates (via an online system) or November of each year for onshore candidates. Please contact the TAFE SA International Unit for dates. A $A300 test administration fee applies. See below course notes section for further details.

Work Placement Duration:   526 hours

Work placement will commence in the first semester with clinical simulation, then in the following three semesters will occur within the on campus patient clinic. Prior to work placement, international students will be required to apply for and successfully receive a National Police Clearance and the following South Australian Department of Human Services Screenings: working with children, disability, aged and vulnerable persons. Students will also need to show evidence for up to 7 Vaccinations or proven history of immunity and have a current First Aid Certificate. More details about clearances and vaccinations and the specifics of the work placement hours across the course will be made available after commencement.

Course Notes

  • The Advanced Diploma of Oral Health ( Dental Hygiene) qualification satisfies the academic requirements to be eligible to apply for registration through AHPRA. Graduates seeking registration will also be required to meet all the other requirements for registration, such as English language skills (ie IELTS Test Results). For more specific information regarding these can be sourced at
  • International students will be required to complete the Skill Set in Dental Radiography (HLTSS00072) to obtain the Dental Radiation Use Licence to operate an ionising radiation apparatus. Without this Licence students cannot complete the Advanced Diploma course. The Skill Set is an additional cost of approximately $A5500 on top of the tuition fees.
  • Students with an overseas qualification in Dentistry (5 year duration)/Dental Therapy (2 year duration)/Dental Hygiene plus additional Dental Radiography training, and 5 years of practise experience, should apply for the 2 year qualification. Once enrolled overseas trained students can apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL application fees apply) and be assessed accordingly. To apply for RPL applicants should provide details of their previously completed qualification which includes the detailed content of the subjects they have undertaken. Students who are granted RPL will be refunded for the units of competency they successfully attain, in line with the TAFE SA relevant policy. It should be noted that due to the delivery requirements of the qualification, following RPL being granted, the qualification may still take 2 years to complete. The qualification has a quota for overseas trained professionals.
  • All students are required to undertake the Dental Hygiene Admission Test at the cost of A$300. A Dental Assisting qualification and dental radiography knowledge will assist with meeting the knowledge required in the Dental Hygiene Admission Test. The test will cover the following aspects:
    • Communication skills
    • Dental conditions and terminology
    • Head and neck anatomy
    • Dental charting
    • Knowledge about the Dental Board of Australia
    • Basic biology
    • General dental knowledge


These course fees are for international students only.

Tuition Fees
Incidental Fees*
Semester 1
AUD $17053
AUD $10000*
Semester 2
AUD $17054
Semester 3
AUD $17054
Semester 4
AUD $17054
Fee Totals
AUD $68215
AUD $10000*
Total Course Cost
AUD $78215

* International students will be required to pay for their own screenings, checks, vaccinations, First Aid Certificate, TAFE SA Dental Hygiene Admission Test (A$300), Dental Hygiene Instrument Kits, textbooks, site uniforms and any required shoes at approximately $A4000-$A4500. International students will be required to complete the Skill Set in Dental Radiography to obtain the Dental Radiation Use Licence at an additional cost of approximately $A5500.

Note: TAFE SA course tuition and other fees/costs are subject to regular increases and are reviewed annually. TAFE SA accepts applications for courses commencing beyond the current year, course, tuition and other fees/costs for these years will apply once published. TAFE SA and their agents reserve the right to alter, amend or delete any fee, course, admission requirement, mode of delivery, duration or other arrangement without prior notice. If the study duration is extended beyond the period of the student’s visa the student will be liable for visa and related costs, eg medical examinations, OSHC and living expenses.

Overseas Students Health Cover

All overseas students are required to have Overseas Students Health Cover (OSHC) insurance for the entire duration of the course. The health cover rate will vary depending on the personal circumstances and duration of stay in Australia. Read more about Overseas Students Health Cover.

  • Employment Outcomes

    The design of the course enables graduates to practice in accordance with the Australian Dental Council (ADC) professional competencies of the new qualified Dental Hygienist, and the course is approved for delivery by the ADC.

    Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

    Qualifications & Skills Covered

    Advanced Diploma of Oral Health (Dental Hygiene) (10926NAT)
    The course has a focus on oral health and the Dental Board of Australia (DBA) scope of practice of a dental hygienist to provide services for all ages in:

    • Assessment
    • Diagnosis
    • Treatment
    • Management
    • Education to prevent oral disease
    • Promotion of healthy oral behaviours This may include periodontal and gingival treatment, preventative services and other oral care.
      To complete the qualification you are required to complete all 34 core units consisting of 9 national units of competency and 25 enterprise units of competency.

    of TAFE SA graduates are satisfied with the overall quality of training.
    of TAFE SA graduates would recommend their training.

    * 2023 NCVER Student Outcomes Survey findings
  • Core

    Name Nominal Hours
    Apply basic principles and practices of infection prevention and control 35
    Apply professional tooth whitening agents 25
    Apply rubber dam and fissure sealants 21
    Communicate effectively as a workplace leader 40
    Confirm oral health status 96
    Confirm physical health status 90
    Diagnose and manage dental hard tissue pathologies in the dental hygiene patient 21
    Diagnose and manage periodontal conditions 60
    Examine and assess a patient to devise a dental hygiene treatment plan 150
    Identify and interpret findings on a dental radiograph 40
    Implement a dental hygiene program for children and adolescents 25
    Manage pain and anxiety for dental hygiene treatment 21
    Manage pharmacotherapy in dental hygiene treatment 50
    Participate in workplace health and safety 20
    Perform a nutritional oral health assessment 30
    Perform orthodontic procedures 40
    Plan and manage dental hygiene care for patients with special needs 20
    Promote Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural safety 25
    Provide clinical dental hygiene treatment 500
    Provide community based oral health interventions and oral health promotion 60
    Provide dental hygiene care to elderly patients 20
    Provide individual oral health education and counselling to patients 18
    Research and apply evidence to practice 65
    Research and apply personality and development theories 50
    Take a clinical photograph 50
    Take an impression and construct study models for dental hygiene patients 18
    Undertake and analyse diagnostic tests to determine oral health status 15
    Undertake temporary restorative therapy 24
    Use epidemiology and evidence-based research in dental hygiene practice 18
    Use fluoride and chemotherapeutic agents to manage and prevent dental disease 18
    Use knowledge of oral pathology and general medicine in dental hygiene practice 100
    Utilise dental instruments 50
    Work with diverse people 40
    Work within a dental practitioner framework 30

  • The city created for students

    You will never find another city like Adelaide. With welcoming locals, it is the perfect place for you to study, live and enjoy.

    Affordable living
    A student city

    A student city

    Adelaide is home to over 30,000 international students and has a strong and growing reputation as an education city. In addition to TAFE SA, Adelaide is home to six world-leading universities: The University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, Flinders University, Carnegie Mellon University, Torrens University Australia and CQ University Australia.


    Adelaide’s crime rates are the lowest in the country and for that reason, Adelaide has previously been named the safest city in Australia.

    Beach Culture

    Beach Culture

    Adelaide’s pristine sandy beaches are just a 20 minute tram ride from the city centre. On hot summer days, you can study in the day and take the tram to have dinner at the beach and watch the sunset with friends.

    Live centrally

    Accommodation is more affordable in Adelaide than in other cities in Australia making it often possible for students to live in the heart of the city or just outside. This means more time is spent studying and less time travelling.

    Live centrally


    Adelaide is known for its cafe culture, with more cafes and restaurants by population than any other city in Australia. In recent years, Adelaide has also developed a vibrant and varied bar scene. The city is big enough that you will struggle to visit all of the places you would like to drink and eat in during in your first year of study. Our mix of cultures means there’s likely to be a supermarket that sells food from your home country too.

    Easy to get around

    Adelaide is a flat city so it is ideal for walking or cycling. Its grid layout makes it almost impossible to get lost! There are free trams and buses around the city centre. International students can show their ID to get cheaper tickets.

    Easy to get around


    Adelaide is known for its festivals, which are famous around the world. WOMADelaide, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Fringe Festival and Cabaret Festival are just some of the international arts and music festivals that keep the city buzzing

    Everyone agrees – Adelaide is a great place to live and study

    Adelaide is recognised as one of the world’s most liveable cities. In 2014, Lonely Planet’s Best of Travel book ranked Adelaide in the global top ten. For the last four years Adelaide has been ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

    Everyone agrees – Adelaide is a great place to live and study
    Beautiful weather

    Beautiful weather

    Adelaide has four distinct seasons, with moderate winters and warm to hot summers. In winter you will need woolly jumpers and jackets and in summer, shorts and t-shirts. The heat in South Australia is dry, rather than humid.

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