PDA Dental Nursing SCQF level 7

The Professional Development Award (PDA) in Dental Nursing at SCQF level 7 will enable those working as dental nurses or trainee dental nurses, to develop the knowledge and skills which underpin the SVQ 3 in Dental Nursing. Successful completion of this PDA in conjunction with an appropriate practice-based qualification (such as the SVQ 3 in Dental Nursing) meets the requirements for a Dental Care Professional (DCP) and will allow candidates to apply for registration with the General Dental Council.

The qualification is available through colleges.

The Professional Development Award (PDA) in Dental Nursing has been developed following consultation with the field in Scotland and key stakeholders around the UK including the NHS Education for Scotland Dental Directorate.

The qualification may be delivered through a blended learning format which could include distance, open or e-learning.

The PDA in Dental Nursing is aimed at trainee dental nurses working within general dental practice surgeries, hospitals or in the community. Candidates are likely to be seeking registration with the GDC, looking to improve on their professional practice, keeping up-to-date with oral health practice developments, and developing best practice within their own working environment.


There are no pre-entry qualifications for this award although it is likely that candidates will be undertaking the SVQ in Dental Nursing concurrently. Entry will be at the discretion of the centre. However, due to the nature of the award, candidates should be in employment within an oral health care environment or have access to a suitable placement which will allow them to achieve the required competencies. In addition, it would beneficial if candidates have an adequate level of Communication and/or a science or numeracy subject which could be evidenced by achievement of, for example, Communication, English or equivalent at SCQF level 5 or above and Maths, Numeracy or a science-based course at SCQF level 4 or above (or equivalent).

There is direct articulation and progression to other awards in the SQA framework as follows:

  • SVQ Level 3 Dental Nursing
  • PDA Oral Health Care: Dental Administrators at SCQF level 6
  • PDA Oral Health Care: Dental Managers at SCQF level 8
  • PDA Facilitating Learning, Training and Assessment in the Workplace at SCQF level 8

Specific subject expertise is required to deliver this qualification which is detailed in the Group Award Specification (Arrangements Document). To gain approval for this qualification centres should complete and submit a Qualification Approval Application Form. The Business Development Team can provide guidance in completing this form.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements as outlined in the guide to approval.

Assessment guidelines and Evidence Requirements are contained within each Unit. With the exception of the Dental Nursing Assessment Unit, each Unit may be assessed holistically using short-question papers to cover the knowledge and skills in each Unit.

Assessment of the Dental Nursing Assessment Unit takes the form of a question paper which is set under closed book conditions. Centres must ensure that appropriate accommodation is available for the examination. The examination is of 1.5 hours duration and is currently available at two points in the year: on the first Friday of June and the first Friday of December.

Full details of the assessment procedure for the Dental Nursing Assessment Unit can be found in the Arrangements document.

Remote Invigilation Report for use with Solar Assessment (24 KB)

Group Award code: G9C4 47 (40 SCQF credit points)
SCQF level: 7


The PDA in Dental Nursing consists of five mandatory Units:

Dental Nursing: Principles of Infection Prevention and Control in the Dental Environment (H9RA 34)
Dental Nursing: Principles of Oral Health Assessment and Treatment Planning (H9R9 34)
Dental Radiography (H9R8 34)
Dental Nursing: Principles in the Management of Plaque Related Diseases (H9R7 34)
Dental Nursing Assessment (F6C7 34)