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Protecting our Nation's Interests

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Careers Fleet

Dental Nurse

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As a Dental Nurse in the Royal Navy, you’ll be a vital member of the team, just as you would be in any well-equipped civilian dental practice.  The difference is that you’ll be seeing patients on board a warship, or in a shore establishment anywhere in the UK or overseas.  Working as part of a small team led by the Dental Officer, you’ll be responsible for preparing materials and instruments, making appointments and maintaining surgery stocks.  You’ll also look after patients before and during their appointments, prepare the surgery and keep everything clean and tidy – quite a challenge when you’re at sea, or attached to a Royal Marines unit.

Dental Nurse


Type Level

  • Action: 1
  • Leadership: 5
  • Hands on: 5
  • Technical: 3
  • Admin: 2
  • Teamwork: 3

Eligibility and qualifications

What are we looking for

You’ll need excellent technical and clinical skills and a bright, caring outlook. Our emphasis is on maintaining the highest standards of dental care and in managing patients, so you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues. Above all, you should enjoy working as part of a team, whether in the surgery or helping with routine and emergency tasks on board ship.


Two GCSEs (A* to C) or Scottish Standard grades or equivalent, which must include English language.

You must be aged between 17 and 36.

Skills and interests

You should like

  • Helping People
  • Working in Challenging Environments
  • Working as Part of a Team
  • A Sense of Adventure

You should have these skills

  • Highly Organised
  • Methodical
  • Compassionate and Caring Nature
  • Decisive


Career progression

Skills for Life

Training will be a constant feature of your time with us. We’ll help you gain academic qualifications like GCSEs, A-levels, even a degree. You can also work towards NVQs and other vocational awards. As well as helping you develop your Royal Navy career, everything you achieve will be recognised and valued by a future civilian employer.

Find out more about lifelong learning


You’ll start your career as an Able Rate. With some experience and further training, you could be promoted to Leading Hand. After that, you may go on to become a Petty Officer, Chief Petty Officer, then a Warrant Officer. If you show the right commitment, skills and academic ability, you may also have the chance to become a Commissioned Officer. You’ll be chosen for promotion on merit, so if you work hard, you can quickly rise through the ranks.

Pay & benefits

Royal Navy pay compares well with similar civilian jobs. As well as your basic pay, you’ll also receive extra money when you’re promoted and when you’re away at sea. We also offer an excellent pension scheme, six weeks’ paid holiday a year and free medical and dental care. 

You’ll generally join us on a full career, which is 18 years or to age 40, whichever is later. You may have the opportunity to serve beyond this, depending on what you want and the needs of the Royal Navy. If you want to leave, you can send us your request one year before completing your specified return of service. How long this return of service is, will depend on the branch you join. You will need to give 12 months’ notice.

Learn more about pay and benefits

Joining process

1. Get in touch by filling out a simple form or calling 08456 07 55 55.
2. Attend an Initial Careers Presentation (ICP) at a careers office near you.
3. If you’re still interested, then fill out a short application form.
4. We'll book you in for the Royal Navy Recruitment Test (RT). Find out more.
5. We'll then review the results with you and chat through the most suitable jobs.
6. Take the medical tests and the Royal Navy pre-joining fitness test. Take a look at our fitness programme.
7. Once you’ve passed all the tests, we’ll make you a formal job offer.
8. Pass our pre-Royal Navy Course.
9. Join the Royal Navy.

Find out more about the joining process

Training Process

Initial Training

Your Royal Navy career begins with 10 weeks’ basic training at HMS Raleigh. It sounds like a ship, but in fact it’s a shore base near Plymouth. The discipline, teamwork, organisational, firefighting and weapon-handling skills you’ll learn here will stay with you right through your Royal Navy career. Find out more about HMS Raleigh.

Aim to get yourself as fit as you can before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in good shape. There’s also a swimming test, so if you can’t swim, make sure you’ve learned by the time you join us.

More about Initial Ratings Training.

Professional Training

After your basic training, you’ll progress to the Defence Medical Services Training Group (Dental Training School) in Aldershot, Hampshire. Here, you’ll spend the first 14 weeks of your professional training, which will include spending time in a Royal Navy dental centre on shore. At the end of your training, you’ll sit the national examination for dental nurses and achieve your registration with the General Dental Council. This training will be shorter if you already have a qualification registered with the General Dental Council. As your career goes on, you’ll have a chance to specialise in practice management. There may also be opportunities to train as a Dental Hygienist.


Find out more about


If you have a family member joining the Royal Navy, what can you expect and how can we support you.

Related Roles

Dental Hygienist

You're responsible for running, restocking and hygiene of the surgery, just as you would in a civilian dental practice.

Naval Nurse (Qualified)

You'll keep everyone in the Naval Service team fit, healthy and effective anywhere in the UK and overseas.

Nurse (Student)

You’ll work both on shore and at sea, providing medical support to Naval personnel in the UK and around the world.


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