Oral health therapists diagnose dental decay and gum diseases, work together with dentists to provide routine oral health care for children and adults, and also help to promote oral health and preventive dental practices among school children and the broader community.
To become an oral health therapist you usually have to study oral health at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required. Entry is highly competitive and there may be a strict quota. You may also need to sit selection assessments and attend an interview before acceptance into the course. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in oral health. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Oral health therapists may perform the following tasks:
Oral health therapists who work in the public sector may be required to work anywhere in their state or territory, although individual preferences and applications for specific positions are taken into account.
Oral health therapists may be employed by any clinic that provides dental services to the public, in both the private sector (general and specialist practices) and the public sector (school and community dental services, hospitals, and disability and residential care settings). Government dental services are the major employers of oral health therapists, although therapists may also own their own practices. Opportunities for career progression include positions in research and teaching, and senior clinical and administrative positions coordinating health promotion activities in dental health services state- or territory-wide.