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Overview

Dental Technology is the technical side of dentistry where a dental technician, on prescription of a dentist, makes any prosthesis or appliance for the head and neck.

This could consist of:

  • Artificial teeth such as complete dentures, partial dentures, crowns and bridges, and implant-supported dentures in various materials such as acrylics, alloys, and ceramics
  • Removable orthodontic appliances consisting of springs and retainers in acrylic bases for the movement of teeth
  • Mouth guards to protect against sports injuries
  • Maxillofacial appliances such as artificial eyes, ears, and facial prostheses that may be required after surgical treatment

Dental technicians do not have direct contact with patients. Instead they work in a dental laboratory where various prosthetic appliances are custom made.

Dental technicians can be thought of as artists who, with a thorough understanding of dental materials science, use their technical skills to fabricate the form, colour, and function of individual teeth or maxillofacial prostheses for a patient.

The fact that the product can affect the health and appearance of a person demands of the technician a high level of responsibility and accuracy.

For this reason, the profession of dental technology is registered under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2004.

Graduates with the Bachelor of Dental Technology (BDentTech) degree are automatically entitled to register with the New Zealand Dental Technicians Board.

Dental Technology at Otago

The University of Otago's Bachelor of Dental Technology (BDentTech) programme is the only one in New Zealand. It is a three-year degree programme taught within Otago's Faculty of Dentistry.

This creates long-lasting relationships with other dental health professionals, and establishes the right dental care perspective from day one.

During your study you will learn about the oral environment, biomaterial, design principles, and practical skills in designing and fabricating appliances for the mouth.

These appliances include:

  • Artificial teeth (such as complete dentures)
  • Partial dentures
  • Implants
  • Mouth guards
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Removable orthodontic appliances

Entry requirements

The Dental Technology Admissions Committee considers applications from candidates in the following categories:

Secondary School category

To be considered for admission under the Secondary School category, an applicant must:

  • Not have commenced university study
  • Have completed (or be completing) NCEA Level 3 subjects (or equivalent) within the last five years
  • Have attained a minimum of 14 credits in each of two National Certificate Educational Achievement ( NCEA ) Level 3 approved subjects (or equivalent) from Science, Mathematics or Technology
  • Have provided a statement of interest and a current curriculum vitae

Scoring is in accordance with the University of Otago Entry Pathway calculation:

Final admission is based on NCEA Level 3 results (or equivalent) and a possible interview. Note: Applicants who have not yet completed NCEA Level 3 (or equivalent) are initially considered based on their Level 2 (or equivalent,) performance and subjects taken for NCEA Level 3 (or equivalent).

One Year of University Study category

To be considered for admission under the One Year of University Study category, an applicant must:

  • Have undertaken one year of relevant study (for example biological sciences, and – if you are structuring your degree – it is recommended that you include biological physics and chemistry papers) in a New Zealand university in the last five years, to a standard determined by the Dental Technology Admissions Committee; and
  • Have provided a current curriculum vitae.

Scoring is in accordance with the University of Otago GPA calculation:

Final admission is based on results obtained in the first year of university.

Applicants may be required to pass prescribed papers, to a standard determined by the Committee, Before being admitted to the programme.

Two or More Years of University Study category

To be considered for admission under the Two or More Years of Tertiary Study category, an applicant must:

  1. Not be a finalist but must have completed within the last five years, two or more years of relevant full-time study (for example biological sciences, and – if you are structuring your degree – it is recommended that you include biological physics and chemistry papers) at a university in New Zealand, comprising at least three papers at 200 level, to a standard determined by the Dental Technology Admissions Committee
    and
  2. Have provided a current curriculum vitae

Scoring is in accordance with the University of Otago GPA calculation:

Final admission is based on results obtained.

Applicants may be required to pass prescribed papers, to a standard determined by the Committee, Before being admitted to the programme.

Graduate category

To be considered for admission under the Graduate category, an applicant must have completed, in the minimum academic time, at least one of the following qualifications awarded by a university in New Zealand:

  • A bachelor's degree
    or
  • A bachelor's honours degree
    or
  • A bachelor's degree followed without a break in study by a postgraduate diploma or postgraduate honours year

to a standard determined by the Dental Technology Admissions Committee;

and have provided a current curriculum vitae.

An application must be received within three years of the completion of the qualifying degree, to a standard determined by the Dental Technology Admissions Committee.

Scoring is in accordance with the University of Otago GPA calculation:

Final admission is based on results obtained.

Applicants may be required to pass prescribed papers, to a standard determined by the Committee, Before being admitted to the programme.

Alternative category

To be considered for admission under the Alternative Qualifications category a candidate must not be eligible for any other admission category and either:

  • Hold a relevant degree from a New Zealand university
    or
  • Have completed a relevant degree at an overseas university at a standard of at least NZQF Level 7
    or
  • Hold a relevant master's or doctoral degree
    or
  • Have completed relevant study acceptable to the Dental Technology Admissions Committee
    or
  • Have health-related experience as determined by the Dental Technology Admissions Committee

and have provided a statement of interest and a current curriculum vitae.

Final admission is based on academic merit.

Applicants may be required to pass prescribed papers, to a standard determined by the Committee, before being admitted to the programme.

Equity groups

Te Kauae Parāoa is the policy on admissions for domestic students to the health professional programmes offered by the Division of Health Sciences. This policy supersedes the former Mirror on Society Selection Policy.

Te Kauae Parāoa promotes and facilitates equity for students from underrepresented priority groups with the aim to produce a workforce that represents the communities it serves to improve health outcomes for all.

Applicants may also be considered in one or more of the following sub-categories:

  • Māori
  • Indigenous Pacific (see note)
  • Socioeconomic Equity
  • Refugee Background
  • Rural

An applicant in either the Māori, or Indigenous Pacific, or both of these sub-categories requires verification of ancestry by the University. You can apply for verification of ancestry from the “My details” section of your eVision portal, and we would encourage you to request this as soon as possible if you are intending to apply for the health sciences professional programmes, to minimise delays in processing your application.

Māori equity group

Applicants wishing to be considered under the Māori equity group must indicate this at the time of application by ticking the Māori equity group box in the online application. Using the form below, applicants will also be required to complete and upload a written personal supporting statement.

Māori – Supporting Statement form (PDF)

In order to be eligible for the Māori equity group your ancestry needs to be verified by the University. You can apply for verification of ancestry from the “My details” section of your eVision portal.

Successful applicants from the Māori equity group are required to attend a mihi whakatau (greeting) at the commencement of classes in Dunedin. Whānau are welcome and encouraged to attend.

It is recommended that students wishing to apply under the Māori equity group attend a relevant information session held by the Division of Health Science Māori Health Workforce Development Unit ( MHWDU ) and/or contact the MHWDU to arrange a meeting with staff or for further information:
Email mhwdu@otago.ac.nz

New Zealand Resident Indigenous Pacific Origins ( NZRIPO ) equity group

An application via the NZRIPO equity group requires verification of ancestry for one or more of the following Pacific nations:

  • American Samoa
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • French Polynesia
  • Hawaii
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • New Caledonia
  • Niue
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rapanui (Easter Island)
  • Rotuma
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Wallis and Futuna

Applicants wishing to be considered under the NZRIPO equity group must indicate this at the time of application by ticking the NZRIPO equity group box on the application form.

In order to be eligible for the NZRIPO equity group your ancestry needs to be verified by the University. You can apply for verification of ancestry from the “My details” section of your eVision portal.

Using the form below, applicants must also complete and upload:

  1. An endorsement of your application by a leader of a Pacific Island Community Group
    and
  2. A written personal supporting statement (500-word limit) giving your reasons for applying under the NZRIPO equity group.  Please explain your understanding of the NZRIPO subcategory, and outline your commitment to and interest in the health of the Pacific Island Community in New Zealand.

New Zealand Resident Indigenous Pacific Origins (NZRIPO) endorsement and statement form (PDF)

Successful applicants from the NZRIPO equity group are expected to be connected and contribute to the Health Sciences Pacific support network.

It is highly recommended that students wishing to apply under the NZRIPO equity group contact the staff in the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit, in the Office of the Associate Dean (Pacific):
Email vot@otago.ac.nz

Socioeconomic Equity group

To be eligible for the Socioeconomic Equity ( EQ ) group, you must be a domestic student who has attended a New Zealand secondary school that was decile 1, 2 or 3 until 2023, or has an Equity Index ( EQI ) number of 479 or greater. You must have attended during Years 11, 12 and 13 within the last five years.

You can apply for Dental Technology under the Socioeconomic Equity group via the Secondary School, One Year of University Study, Two or more Years of University Study or Graduate categories of Admission.

Applicants wishing to apply under the Socioeconomic Equity group must indicate this at the time of application by ticking the Socioeconomic Equity group box in the online application and provide the following supporting information:

It is strongly recommended that students wishing to apply under the Socioeconomic Equity group contact the Division of Health Sciences, EQ Project team (Raukaha Workforce Development – Kōhatu Centre for Hauora Māori).

Socioeconomic Equity ( EQ ) Project
Email eq.project@otago.ac.nz
otago.ac.nz/equity

Note: Successful applicants from the Socioeconomic Equity group are expected to maintain engagement with the EQ /Raukaha team throughout their studies.

Refugee Background equity group

In order to apply under the Refugee Background equity group you must have either been granted refugee status in New Zealand, or have a parent(s)/primary guardian(s) who has been granted refugee status in New Zealand. The Refugee Background equity group  applies to all categories of admission.

Applicants wishing to apply under the Refugee Background equity group must indicate this at the time of application by ticking the Refugee Background equity group box in the online application and providing the following supporting information:

If you are applying as a person who has been granted refugee status then you must provide:

Either

  • Certified copies of your Certificate of Identity or your passport confirming refugee status and Permanent Residency.
    or
  • A letter from Immigration New Zealand confirming your status as a permanent resident was obtained on the basis of being a refugee. This must include your full legal name and date of birth.
    or
  • A letter from Immigration New Zealand confirming that you are a former refugee and that you have applied for residency. This must include your full legal name and date of birth.
    Request or change your personal information – Immigration NZ

If you are applying as a child or dependent of a parent(s) / primary guardian(s) who was granted New Zealand Residency as a refugee, you must provide:

  1. A letter from Immigration New Zealand confirming that your parent(s) / primary guardian(s) was granted NZ residency via on the basis of their status as a former refugee. This letter must include their full name and date of birth. If Immigration NZ is not able to provide such a letter, equivalent official documentation can be submitted and will be considered for acceptability. Please contact Dr Jackie Tagg in the Health Sciences Divisional Office for advice.
    Email jackie.tagg@otago.ac.nz
    and
  2. A document that confirms they are your parent(s)/primary guardian(s), for example your birth certificate, a joint passport, or adoption papers.

Using the form below, your application under the Refugee Background equity group must include a personal supporting statement (500-word limit) outlining your understanding of the Refugee Background equity group, how your refugee background will impact your practice as a health professional, and your commitment to the health of former refugees.

Refugee Supporting Statement form (PDF)

It is strongly recommended that students wishing to apply under the Refugee Background equity group contact the Refugee Background subcategory support person, Dr Jackie Tagg, in the Health Sciences Divisional Office:

Email jackie.tagg@otago.ac.nz

New Zealand Rural Origins equity group

In order to apply in the New Zealand Rural Origins equity group, candidates for admission must:

  • Have undertaken a minimum of four years of their pre-tertiary education at a school in a rural area of New Zealand
    or
  • Have resided in a rural area of New Zealand for a minimum of four consecutive years following the completion of their secondary education
    or
  • Have undertaken a combination of pre-tertiary education at a school in a rural area of New Zealand and residence in a rural area of New Zealand, for a minimum of four consecutive years

Applicants wishing to have their New Zealand Rural Origins status considered with their application must indicate this at the time of application by ticking the New Zealand Rural Origins equity group box in the online application.

Applicants must provide the following supporting information:

either

  • An official letter from the pre-tertiary regional / rural education institution they attended, outlining:
    • The duration of their study,
      and
    • The physical location of the institute

or

  • A statutory declaration, made before an authorised person, confirming residency of four years or more in a rural location (this declaration must specify which years are being claimed as the four qualifying years). A statutory declaration can be used for your residential address only. It cannot be used to confirm school attendance.

An authorised person is a person listed in the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 as able to take declarations. This person could be a:

Students within New Zealand may wish to check justiceofthepeace.org.nz for a list of Justices of the Peace in their area. Students from remote areas who do not have access to anyone in the approved categories should contact us via the AskOtago Service Portal for advice.

For applications based on a rural residential address or attendance at a rural school(s) the University classifies rural as per the Geographic Classification for Health (GCH). For the purposes of this policy, applicants will be eligible if the address or school(s) on which the rural equity group application is based on, is classified within Rural 1–3.

Using the map image in the link below, you can undertake an informal check of the classification of the residential area provided in your application.

It is important to note that this should be considered as a guide only. The Statistical Area 1s (SA1s) of the residential address and/or the school(s) provided will be checked against the GCH database during the assessment of your application. If your application is found to not be eligible under the rural category you will be notified, and your application will be processed under the general category.

Students will not be bonded after graduation.

Application process

Online application and enrolment

New and returning students are required to complete their application through eVision.

You should apply in the first instance to the 'Health Sciences Undergraduate Professional Programmes' and then select 'Dental Technology' from the list.

If you have any questions regarding your application please contact the AskOtago Service Portal:

Tel 0800 80 80 98 (from within New Zealand)
Tel +64 3 479 7000 (from overseas)
Email ask@otago.ac.nz
facebook.com/otagouniversity
Visit the AskOtago Service Portal

Supporting documentation

Please ensure that the following supporting documentation is available to upload, as these will be required to complete your online application.

  • Curriculum vitae with the following clearly stated:
    • Awards attained
    • Positions of responsibility
    • Participation in sports
    • Leisure activities
    • Community activities
    • Voluntary work
    • Employment record
    The Career Development Centre has useful information available on their website about how to prepare your CV , should you require assistance.
  • Documentation of your secondary school qualifications
    • If you studied NCEA , please include:
      • School Result Summaries – To obtain a copy, candidates need to login to the Learner area. You will need to register online first if you haven't logged in before.
      • Do not include your Record of Achievement – this is not the same as School Result Summaries
  • Official academic transcripts for previous tertiary study
    • University of Otago records will be accessed directly and do not need to be provided.
    • We understand that you will not be able to provide an official academic transcript for any ongoing semester 2 study until after the semester ends. Please ensure that you provide an official academic transcript including the results of that study as soon as you are able after results are released.
    • If any required transcripts are not provided by December 1 this may result in a delay to the outcome of your application.
  • Statement of Interest of no more than 600 words, explaining why you wish to pursue Dental Technology
    • Your Statement of Interest would be enhanced by including details of your recent interaction with this profession and should cover the following areas:
      • Describe the day-to-day working life of a dental technologist and the attributes that you feel you could bring to the profession
      • Describe your motivation for wanting to join the profession
      • Statement of Interest for Dental Technology (PDF)

Application deadlines

Applications open 1 August.
Applications close 15 September.

Outcome of application

You will be advised of the outcome of your application no later than 11pm (New Zealand Time) 18 December.

Selection criteria

Selection of candidates for the Bachelor of Dental Technology programme from among those meeting the eligibility requirements established by the programme regulations conforms to the following criteria:

  1. Those applying as members of an equity group undergo additional preliminary assessments:
    1. Applicants are confirmed as equity group members in accordance with the programme regulations.
    2. Confirmed equity group applicants are then considered by the Divisional Academic Board or its delegate against selection attributes for each specific equity group relating to the policy rationale of Te Kauae Parāoa.

    On the basis of these assessments, confirmed equity group members who are also established as meeting the policy rationale of Te Kauae Parāoa will be prioritized in the selection process outlined below.

  2. Applicants submit academic (including, in the case of Secondary School category applicants, NCEA) records, a CV, and a statement of interest.  On the basis of this information, the Admissions Committee first assess applicants as suitable for the programme.  Those assessed as suitable will be advanced for further consideration and ranking.
  3. The Committee will rank applicants across all categories based on the Committee’s judgement of their overall merit.  This judgement of merit will be equally weighted between the Committee’s assessment of the academic strength of the applicant (drawing primarily on academic or NCEA transcripts), and the Committee’s assessment of the suitability of the applicant’s personal characteristics for the programme (drawing on the statement of interest and CV provided).
  4. Where NCEA level 3 results are not yet available, the assessment and ranking of an applicant under the Secondary School category may draw upon NCEA level 2 results and enrolled NCEA level 3 units.  Any selection made on the basis of these results will be subject to confirmation of satisfactory NCEA level 3 results.
  5. Final selection of candidates across all categories is on the basis of the Committee’s ranking and the number of places available to the programme as a whole.  Selections are made in the following sequence:
    1. Equity group members in the following sequence
      1. Māori
      2. Resident Indigenous Pacific
      3. Refugee Background
      4. Socioeconomic Equity
      5. New Zealand Rural Origins
    2. General applicants

Accepting or declining offers

If your application is successful and you receive an offer, this will include a deadline for accepting or declining it. If you do not respond to your offer by this deadline, the offer will be lapsed.

Please think carefully before making your decision; once you have declined your offer there is no opportunity to have the offer reinstated.

What is the waiting list?

If your Outcome of Application indicates that you have been placed on the waiting list, you will be contacted should a place become available. Separate waitlists are maintained for each Health Sciences Undergraduate Professional Programme.

You could be offered a place from a waiting list any time right up to the time classes begin. It is important that you continue your enrolment process for any alternative programme of study you may be considering. If you are on a waiting list and it is confirmed that there are no available places in the programme, you will be notified, and your application declined.

Deferral of entry

Successful candidates may request to defer their entry to the following academic year.

Requests will be considered on the following grounds:

  • Graduate category or Alternative category candidates who wish to complete current academic study (e.g. an honours year) that in the opinion of the Dental Technology Admissions Committee will enhance a student's future study in Dental Technology. If approved, the Dental Technology Admissions Committee will advise of the minimum grade(s) that must be attained. Deferral requests, submitted under this criteria, must be received no later than the last day to add a first semester paper.
  • Serious medical grounds or other exceptional circumstances. Candidates that are approved deferral on medical grounds or exceptional circumstances will be required to provide evidence that they are able to resume study.

To apply for a deferral of entry please complete and return the deferral form (PDF)

Deferrals will only be granted for a maximum period of one academic year.

Applicants must have their personal and financial affairs in order when they apply so that if their application is successful, they are able to take up a place at the start of the first semester.

English language requirements

Admission to the programme shall be subject to applicants meeting an English language requirement as determined by the Dental Technology Admissions Committee, dependent on the category under which the application is made.

International students

International students are defined as all those students who require a student visa to study in New Zealand. In any given year, a limited number of places in Dental Technology may be available to international students. To be eligible to apply for admission to Dental Technology, international students must have completed all necessary prerequisites at a minimum standard, which is determined on a yearly basis.

Undergraduate Health Science: Information for International Students

Should an international student's residency status change prior to notification of the application outcome, they must notify us via the AskOtago Service Portal immediately and will have to compete for admission with other domestic students.

Important dates

  • Online application closing date: 15 September
  • Outcome of application sent out by: 18 December
  • Mihi whakatau: TBC
  • Introduction Day: TBC
  • Classes begin: TBC

Introductory classes are compulsory. Students who fail to attend classes on the start date risk losing their place.

Health and disabilities

Please contact the University of Otago's Manager of Disability Information and Support, or visit the AskOtago Service Portal, if you have a health condition and/or disability that may affect whether or not you are able to meet the requirements of this programme or obtain professional registration.

Any applicant who has a mental or physical condition that could adversely affect their fitness to practice or is found to have failed to declare a condition may be declined admission to the programme by the Dental Technology Admissions Committee on the recommendation of the Health and Conduct Review Group. Any offer of admission made before responses to medical requests or requests for information regarding an applicant's health status have been received is conditional on the information received confirming the applicant's suitability for admission.

You may be requested to complete a further health declaration required by your clinical provider.

Criminal offences

Any applicant who is, or has been, the subject of criminal charges, or is, or has been, subject to disciplinary proceedings of a tertiary institution or professional body, or is found to have failed to declare a matter may be declined admission to the programme by the Dental Technology Admissions Committee on the recommendation of the Health and Conduct Review Group. Any offer of admission made before responses to requests for information regarding an applicant's past conduct have been received is conditional on the information received confirming the applicant's suitability for admission.

Some convictions may prohibit registration, applicants are advised to consult the regulations of the registering professional body:

All applicants must consent to verification from the New Zealand Police and Department of Courts that there are no undeclared criminal charges or convictions.

Health and Conduct Review Group

The Health and Conduct Review Group considers a student's suitability for admission to a Health Sciences Professional Programme having regard to fitness to practice issues.

Health and Conduct Review Group – Terms of Reference (PDF)
Health and Conduct Procedure (PDF)

Culturally-sensitive issues

All students must participate in laboratory, practical and clinical activities, including those that may be unusual in some cultures. In the professional programmes, some aspects of the teaching will require individuals to practise certain techniques on each other that may involve body contact with other students. Training occurs under close supervision and all students are required to participate, as it is essential for their acquisition of clinical skills.

First aid certificate

All candidates who accept a place into Dental Technology must have a certified copy of an appropriate New Zealand First Aid Certificate before the start of the programme.

Applicants must gain this qualification through an NZQA-registered training provider who is authorised to assess NZQA first aid standards.

The certificate should include at least NZQA Standard 6401 and NZQA Standard 6402, but students are recommended to obtain a qualification which includes the higher NZQA Standard 6400.

The following are a selection of recommended training courses:

Immunity status

All applicants who are offered and accept a place in Dental Technology will be required to provide evidence of their serology status.

Because of the nature of their practice, health professionals are required to take steps to ensure they neither acquire infections from their patients nor transmit infections to patients.

Immunity testing arrangements will be made known during December, preceding the start of the programme. It is the responsibility of the applicant to cover all costs associated with completion of immunisation screening and vaccinations.

Please refer to the Infectious Diseases Policy for Health Professional Students (PDF) for further details regarding immunity status.

Domestic place numbers

The maximum number of domestic student places available across all admissions categories for 2024 is 30.

Special examinations and adjusted paper marks

Applications from students sitting special examinations will be placed on hold until the special examination results are released. Once you receive your special examination results you must immediately advise us via the AskOtago Service Portal to ensure the processing of your application is completed.

Practising in New Zealand

To register with the Dental Council of New Zealand to practise Dental Technology in New Zealand, applicants may be required to satisfy the English language requirements as set by the Dental Council of New Zealand.

Please contact the Dental Council of New Zealand (DCNZ) for further information:

Email inquiries@dcnz.org.nz

Programme content

First-year papers

Second-year papers

Third-year papers

Careers

Dental Technology is a global profession.

Throughout the world there is a high demand for skilled dental technicians. The high skill base that New Zealand dental technicians achieve makes them desirable to overseas employers.

In New Zealand and Australia, dental technicians are employed by commercial dental laboratories. These laboratories provide the bulk of the work for the private dental industry, the defence forces, hospitals, and state dental services.

The ratio of employer to employee is approximately 1:3, and many dental technicians ultimately set up business for themselves. There are no barriers to becoming self-employed.

The areas within the profession are diverse, with individuals specialising in different areas of dental technology.

Regulations

Regulations for the degree of Bachelor of Dental Technology (BDentTech)

Disclaimer

The University of Otago makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided on its web pages. However the matters covered, including the availability and structure of courses, are subject to regular review and no warranty or representation can be provided regarding the accuracy of such information, and the University does not accept liability for any losses or damage arising directly or indirectly from reliance on the information.

While the University of Otago takes all due care in implementing the regulations, policies, and procedures that relate to the admissions process, it reserves the right to correct any administrative errors that may occur.

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