Dental Nurse

Service:Surface Fleet
Humanitarian aid
A Royal Navy Dental Nurse at work.

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

As a Dental Nurse in the Royal Navy, you’ll be a central part of a professional dental practice – one that travels the world looking after the health of our people. Your team will be led by the Dental Officer, who will rely on your support to deliver first-class dental healthcare everywhere from a shore establishment in the UK, to a portable dental unit in the Middle East. Alongside the rest of the Medial branch, you’ll be central to ensuring our personnel are fighting fit at all times, both on active service abroad and when they’re at home.

Your role

  • Take responsibility for preparing instruments and materials for the Dental Officer, adapting to the wide range of procedures you’ll be tackling every day.
  • Maintain stocks and make appointments, ensuring that the surgery runs smoothly at even the busiest times.
  • Take charge of patient care, both before and during their appointment. That means easing any concerns and ensuring they are fully aware of the procedure.
  • Prepare the surgery and making sure that everything is clean and tidy – that’s easier said than done, especially at sea in challenging conditions, or even attached to a Royal Marines Unit.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Study for GCSEs, A-Levels, NVQs or even a degree
  • Gain specialist vocational qualifications as your career progresses

    Diploma in Dental Nursing and registration to the General Dental Council if you don't already have it

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn to adapt your skills to a range of challenging and changeable environments
  • Develop your clinical and administrative skills through world-class training

Career progression

What you'll need


  • If you take your GCSEs after the start of 2017, you need 2 grades 9 – 4 including English Language; before 2017, you need 2 grades A* – C

    If qualified you will need to be registered to the General Dental Council
  • You’ll need to be aged at least 16 years and 9 months old when you apply, and under 37 years old when you begin basic training
  • You need to be a minimum height of 151.5cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • You must be a British or Irish national, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to applying, or a dual national

Skills and interests

  • A passion for helping people
  • Great team players who thrive on working with others
  • Enthusiasm for working in highly challenging environments
  • A real sense of adventure
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NRST)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Pre Royal Navy Course (PRNC)

    Pre Royal Navy Course (PRNC) – This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy is a pass or fail course

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at HMS Raleigh

Initial training

You’ll spend 30 weeks training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth, focusing on: Military Skills, Maritime Skills and Initial Fleet Time. The military skills phase includes learning leadership and teamwork skills, and the principles of command and management. You will put this into practice during several exercises on Dartmoor.

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

Professional training

Once you have the essential military and maritime skills under your belt, it’s time to start your specialist training, where you’ll focus on developing your expertise for use in the maritime environment.

Directly after completing basic training, you’ll progress to the Defence Medical Services Training Group (Dental Training School) in Aldershot. Your 14 weeks here will include spending time at a Royal Navy Dental Centre on shore.

At the end of your training, you’ll sit the national examination for dental nurses and register with the General Dental Council. This part of your training will be shorter if you’ve already achieved this accreditation.

After this, and throughout your Royal Navy career, you’ll have the opportunity to attend specialist courses run by the Royal Navy and other organisations, and even to train as a Dental Hygienist.