PDA in Dental and Medical Reception Skills

PDA in Dental and Medical Reception Skills

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards.

The PDA in Dental and Medical Reception Skills at SCQF level 6 covers skills in dental or medical reception and administrative procedures — including handling of patient records, appointment schedules, treatment plans, repeat prescription procedures and test results. It also covers health and safety issues within the work environment.

Candidates are encouraged to reflect on their own practice within a dental or medical environment and to develop professional attitudes and practices in relation to patient treatment and support.

This qualification is available through colleges, training providers and some employers. It has been designed to be delivered as a taught course and will normally be available as a combination of workshops and self-directed study.

Why deliver this qualification

The PDA has been developed in partnership with dental and medical educationalists who identified commonality in the processes and skills base of dental and medical reception staff.

It will help employers meet skills gaps and provide continuing professional development for staff. Learners will gain knowledge and skills needed for progression in the workplace.

The Unit-based structure aids timetable flexibility. Units can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis.

Who does this qualification suit

The target audience is receptionists and administrators working in mainstream medical environments (hospitals, clinics, general practice etc).

Access to this PDA is at the discretion of the centre. Centres should consider whether candidates undertaking this PDA need to be disclosed under the PVG scheme (2011) — standard or enhanced. This may depend on the degree of patient contact.


The Units in the PDA are aligned with the National Occupational Standards for Administration and Occupational Health and Safety.

Candidates may wish to progress to other areas of study, for example:

  • PDA in Medical Administration at SCQF level 7
  • PDA in Oral Health Care (OHC): Dental Managers at SCQF level 8
  • PDA in Healthcare Professionals: Facilitating Learning and Training in the Workplace at SCQF level 8

Access to these courses would be at the discretion of the delivering centre.


Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.

How to assess

Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.

Each Unit is assessed separately although there are opportunities to integrate assessment.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

Group Award code: GJ0V 46

There are three mandatory Units and two optional Units to be achieved.

Group Award Specification