Assessment of individual qualifications, training and experience


Assessment of your overseas qualifications, training and experience for registration

If you hold an overseas qualification that is not prescribed by the Dental Council, you may still be able to apply for registration.

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act) provides that we may treat any overseas qualification as a prescribed qualification if, in our opinion, the qualification is equivalent to, or as satisfactory as, a prescribed qualification.

If you consider your qualifications, training and experience are equivalent to a prescribed qualification for the scope of practice in which you wish to register, you can apply for an individual assessment.

You should start your application by through the online assessment tool to direct you to the correct form.

The process to assess your qualifications, training and experience

An academic involved in the teaching of a New Zealand prescribed qualification, to which your qualification is compared, assesses your qualification curriculum and any further studies completed, to determine whether it is comparable to the New Zealand prescribed qualification. 

In cases where a conflict of interest exists between your application and the educational institution offering the New Zealand prescribed qualification, the academic assessment may be completed by an Australian academic. The assessor must teach in a programme approved for registration in Australia, in a similar scope of practice.

For specialist applications, a professional peer, registered in the scope of practice in which you wish to apply for registration, will also assess your clinical experience.

Once the assessment report has been received, your application and the report are considered at the next available Council meeting. It will determine whether your qualifications, training and experience may be considered equivalent to, or satisfactory as, a prescribed qualification. Council will also consider whether you satisfy the fitness for registration requirements.

Due to the process involved, these applications take some time from receipt until a decision is reached. 

What you need to provide

You need to submit information on your qualifications and training, and on your experience since graduating. You will also need to provide evidence of continuing professional development. 

Other information required relates to your fitness to register, such as good character, health and ability to communicate effectively in English. The information includes certificates of good standing and referee reports. 

Refer to our guide for supporting documents you may need to submit.

Getting your documents certified

We need certified copies of some items in your supporting documentation.

Refer to our guide for who can certify your documents and verify your identity.

Getting your documents translated

If any documents are not in English, you are required to submit an official English translation together with a certified copy of your original document.

Certificate of good standing

You are required to submit an original certificate of good standing from each Board or Council where you have been registered during the last seven years.

Certificates of good standing must be no more than three months old at the time your application is received.

English language requirement

If you require a pass in a Council-approved English test to meet the English language requirement, you will need to submit your pass test results with your application form. 

Please remember that:

  • results must be obtained in one sitting
  • a pass is valid for two years for new applications.

If you are not sure about your specific English language requirements, refer to the Policy on English language requirements.


The fee for the assessment of your qualification, training and experience is payable with the application form.

When you apply, we will ask you about your practising intentions – that is, whether you intend to: 

  • practise in New Zealand and apply for an annual practising certificate (APC)
  • not practise immediately but want your name retained on the register.

You will be asked to pay your registration fee at the time you complete your application for registration. If your registration application is successful and you don’t already have an APC with us, we will email you with an invoice to pay for your APC or retention fee.

Please note you can only lawfully practise in New Zealand if you hold a current APC.

If we do not receive valid documents to complete your application, it will be withdrawn and an administration fee may be deducted. You will then need to resubmit your application.

You need to familiarise yourself with New Zealand’s conditions of practice

To practise in New Zealand, you need to understand the cultural, social, and legal framework in which we practice.

You must familiarise yourself of the New Zealand healthcare and dental environment, by reading the New Zealand Conditions of Practice handbook.

You will be required to declare that you have read and understood the content of the handbook when you apply to register.

If your registration application is not successful

If Council determines that your qualifications, training and experience are not equivalent to a prescribed qualification, you could consider sitting the relevant New Zealand Dental Registration Examination, or completing a prescribed qualification.  

Details on the various registration options available for your profession: