HND Dental Nursing

HND Dental Nursing

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HND in Dental Nursing (SCQF level 8) develops advanced knowledge and skills in areas such as supporting oral health improvement and practice management.

This qualification covers specialist skills such as patient sedation, dental impressions, special care dental nursing, and radiography.

This HND is available through colleges, training providers and some employers. Typically, an HND takes two years to complete full time or four 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 develop advanced professional attitudes and practice that support the General Dental Council’s Scope of Practice for Dental Nurses — ‘additional skills’ framework.

Who does this qualification suit

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

  • dental nurses wishing to develop ‘additional’ and ‘prescribed additional’ dental nursing skills which are listed within the GDC Scope of Practice for Dental Nurses
  • dental care professionals who wish to access the units for CPD purposes
  • returners to work who wish to upskill or refresh their existing dental nursing skills
  • individuals who wish to seek a career in dental nursing


Access to the HND is at the discretion of individual SQA-approved centres and will form part of the submission for approval to offer the qualification. However, as these are advanced qualifications with recognised levels of demand it is recommended that candidates have a good level of general education, particularly good communication skills. This may be demonstrated through a pre-assessment interview or by a candidate’s existing qualifications, eg English or Communication units at SCQF level 5 and/or other equivalent qualifications such as the NEBDN National Certificate or qualifications from another awarding body.

Candidates who wish to undertake the HND should have already completed the following qualifications (or equivalent)

  • SVQ 3 in Dental Nursing at SCQF level 7
  • PDA in Dental Nursing at SCQF level 7
  • HNC in Oral Health Care: Dental Nursing

There is also scope for accreditation of prior learning (APL). All candidates are required to achieve the HNC graded unit 1, regardless of the access route used. See the group award specification for details.


Learners who achieve an HND in Dental Nursing may progress to the BSc Dental Nursing offered at New College Lanarkshire in collaboration with The University of the West of Scotland or other degree programmes in a related subject; however, this is at the discretion of the receiving centre.


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

HND in Dental Nursing

Group award code: GL65 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

This HND at SCQF level 8 consists of 17 mandatory units (160 SCQF credit points) and a minimum of 10 optional units (minimum 80 SCQF credit points).

Group Award Specification

Qualification Verification Summary Reports

Qualification Verification Summary Reports were formerly known as Internal Assessment Reports.


Qualification Structure

The group award GC7T 16 has been replaced and has entered into its lapsing period.

The finishing date for this qualification is 31 July 2020.

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)

HND Dental Nursing

Group Award code: GC7T 16 (240 SCQF credit points)
SCQF level: 8

The structure of the HND has been designed to incorporate SVQ and PDA Units from the registerable qualifications along with HN units at SCQF levels 7, 8 and 9 which will facilitate continued professional development and reflect the current GDC Scope of Practice for Dental Nurses.

Please refer to the Group Award Specification for the current qualification structure.

Group Award Specification

Title: HND Dental Nursing
Code: GC7T 16
Date: Version 12 (May 2019)
Download: HND Dental Nursing Arrangements Document (235 KB)

Example Log and Record Sheets

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.

Centres must ensure that any Units offered as part of the HND which state that the candidate should be registered with the GDC are only delivered to those learners who have that status.

It is contingent on the candidate to be GDC registered to complete the HND.