HNC Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing

HNC Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC in Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as infection prevention and control, and chairside support. This contributes to the eligibility requirements for registration as a dental care professional with the General Dental Council (GDC).

This qualification covers areas such as health and safety, basic life support, oral health assessment and treatment planning, and principles in the management of plaque-related diseases.

This qualification is available through colleges, training providers and some employers. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete full time or two years part time.

Why deliver this qualification

Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry — so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The unit-based structure supports flexibility. A unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

There is a tailored choice of optional units designed to allow learners to progress towards registration with the General Dental Council (GDC).

This HNC provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

Who does this qualification suit

The HNC is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals who wish to seek a career in dental nursing


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • appropriate groupings of National units
  • any two National Qualifications at Higher together with three at National 5
  • an SVQ 2 or 3 in a relevant area
  • relevant work experience

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.


Learners who achieve an HNC in Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing may progress to the HND in Dental Nursing, although access is contingent on registration with the General Dental Council (GDC).

Higher National qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). This HNC contains units from the SVQ 3 in Dental Nursing at SCQF level 7 which contribute to the dental nursing registerable qualifications.


Centres interested in offering this qualification require 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 systems and qualification approval guide. The specific delivery requirements are set out in the group award specification (arrangements document).


How to assess

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification content and delivery tools


Qualification Structure

HNC in Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing

Group award code: GL64 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

This HNC at SCQF level 7 consists of 11 mandatory units (86 SCQF credit points) and one optional unit (10 SCQF credit points).

Group Award Specification


Qualification Structure

The group award GC7R 15 has been replaced and has entered into its lapsing period.

The finishing date for this qualification is 31 July 2019.

Centres should note that when a group award is entered into its lapsing period, the following will apply:

- the group award will be deleted from the relevant catalogue

- the group award arrangements document will remain until the qualification reaches its finish date at which point it will be removed from SQA’s website and archived

- no new centres may be approved to offer the group award

- centres should only enter candidates whom they expect to complete the group award during the defined lapsing period of three years (HNC) and four years (HND)

HNC Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing

Group Award code: Code GC7R 15 (96 SCQF credit points)
SCQF level: 7

The HNC consists of nine mandatory Units (88 SCQF credit points) and one optional Unit (from a choice of two).

Mandatory Units

Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing: Graded Unit 1 — FN3M34
Dental Radiography — F69A34
Principles of Infection Control in the Dental Environment — F69B34
Principles of Oral Health Assessment and Treatment Planning — F69C34
Scientific Principles in the Management of Plaque Related Diseases — F69D 34
Ensure Your Own Actions Reduce the Risk to Health and Safety — F300 04
Prepare and Maintain Environments, Instruments and Equipment for Clinical Dental Procedures — H4PT 04
Dental Nursing Assessment — F6C7 34

Group Award Specification

Title: HNC Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing
Code: GC7R 15
Date: Version 08 (June 2014)
Download: HNC Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing Arrangements Document (235 KB)

Other Information

It is essential that candidates are fully aware that the awarding of the HNC Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing will neither in itself allow successful candidates to register with the General Dental Council (GDC) as a dental nurse nor will it confer the status of qualified ‘dental nurse’ in terms of registration with the General Dental Council.