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Dentistry down under

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Dentistry down under

Claire Dunbar considers the benefits of working abroad in Australia after graduation.

After graduating and completing two years of general professional training in the UK I decided to take a break and spend a year working and travelling in Australia.

Once you have decided to move ‘down-under’ you will then need to choose which state to head to. There are opportunities to work in cities, rural and coastal areas and this in itself poses a difficult question; would you prefer to live near surf beaches, tropical reefs, vineyards or ski fields?

Over my year I spent eight months working at a government funded clinic in Brisbane, two weeks volunteering at an Aboriginal Health Centre in Cairns and the remaining four months travelling.

Dentistry in Australia is provided through private and government clinics. With a bit of organisation and planning, it is possible to secure a well paid job in the private sector although you are likely to have to work outside the main metropolitan areas – these jobs are usually filled by Australian dentists! I settled for a government clinic in the centre of Brisbane, just a ten minute walk from home and although I wasn’t paid as much as friends working in private clinics, the work was rewarding and the location ideal.  

Claire DunbarThe next step is to decide how long you intend to stay in Australia and which visa to apply for. There are three choices:

  1. Working Holiday visa. This is valid for a year and you must be under 30 to apply. This is the best visa if you wish to work for less than a year in different jobs and locations and would prefer to be independent.
    Sponsored long stay (457) visa. This is valid up to four years with no limit for how long you can work in one position. However a sponsor is required before you apply. You may find a practice or government clinic willing to sponsor you and agencies also offer sponsorship. If you wish to stay in Australia for over a year and do not wish to change positions after six months this could be the option for you.
  2. Permanent residency. If you wish is to stay permanently in Australia you can apply for migration under the ‘100 points test’ or under a skilled migration category.
    For any of these visas you will require a full medical at an Australian immigration approved centre including blood tests and chest x-ray. for information about all visas.

When you have decided which area of Australia you wish to work in you need to apply for registration with the relevant state dental board. At present all degrees from UK and Irish dental schools are accepted for registration.

There is a national register so your registration will be valid in all states and territories. For this you will require a Certificate of Good Standing from the GDC and certified copies of identification and degree certificates. More information on the Internet.

Once you have a visa and registration you can start looking for jobs. If you have been sponsored by an agency they will help you find a position. Sites to try are:

Your indemnity may be easily transferred to Australia. Dental Protection operate in Australia. Take a moment to visit their Australian section of the website

Australia is a very big country; you could fit the whole of the UK into Australia 31 times over and still have a bit left over! There is a lot to see and you need to give yourself enough time to experience as much as you can.

I would recommend working in Australia to anyone and I am planning to return in the future as there is still so much I wish to see and do in this amazing country.


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Tags: written by a young dentist (21)

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