PDA Recording Patient Assessment for Dental Care Professionals SCQF level 8

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

The PDA in Recording Patient Assessment for Dental Care Professionals at SCQF level 8 covers measuring and recording plaque indices in relation to oral health assessment, oral health education, and producing a range of intra- and extra-oral clinical dental photographs to the required standard and to the prescription of a dentist.

It also includes the taking of alginate dental impressions for the purpose of working or study models, responding to emergency support procedures for common medical emergencies, and self-evaluation and reflection for self-development.

This qualification is available through colleges and training providers. 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.

The PDA in Recording Patient Assessment for Dental Care Professionals at SCQF level 8 has been developed in partnership with NHS Dental Education for Scotland so is fit for purpose.

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

The Unit-based structure aids timetable flexibility. Units are typically 40 hours of learning and they can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis.

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

The target audience is experienced dental nurses who are registered with the regulatory body the General Dental Council (GDC) and who are seeking to extend their clinical duties within their professional scope of practice and to contribute towards their continued professional development.

Where appropriate, other GDC-registered Dental Care Professional (DCP) groups (for example, orthodontic therapists and dental technicians) may also wish to undertake an HN Unit to extend their clinical duties within their professional scope of practice, or for the purposes of continued professional development.


Entry to this qualification is at the discretion of the centre. Learners must be registered with the General Dental Council as a Dental Care Professional. The learner must be working in a dental environment and have the opportunity to gain regular experience in supporting and recording oral health assessment.

Learners undertaking this PDA must also be disclosed under the PVG scheme (2011) standard or enhanced

The Units in the PDA have been mapped against the National Occupational Standards for Dental Nursing.

Learners would have the opportunity of progressing to other PDAs in the oral health care sector or to the HND in Dental Nursing. 

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.

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

Ongoing course assessment will apply.  Learners may be required to produce a report based on the practical aspect of their learning, undertake assessments and complete a work-based portfolio. 

There are opportunities to integrate assessment within each Unit.

Group Award code: GK6L 48 (24 SCQF credit points)

The PDA in Recording Patient Assessment for Dental Care Professionals at SCQF level 8 consists of three mandatory Units.

For further information on the Units and structure of this qualification please refer to the Group Award Specification document.