Overview of Dental Core Training (DCT) Dental Core Training (DCT) recruitment

Dental Core Training (DCT) usually follows on from the 1st year of Dental Foundation Training (DFT).

It can last for 3 years, but applicants can also train for just 1 or 2 years. After completion of DCT2, trainees are eligible to apply to enter Specialty Training.

Important: Important

You should rely only on these pages or the COPDEND, Oriel and Pearson VUE websites for recruitment information.

The DCTNRO does not endorse information provided by any other source.

Why undertake Dental Core Training?

DCT1 offers dentists the chance to work and train for a year in a setting very different from general dental practice.

Trainees learn: 

  • to work in a large, often multidisciplinary team, alongside specialists and consultants, many of whom have national or international reputations in their field of work
  • to manage patients referred from primary care. In many of the posts, trainees will treat victims of trauma and serious illness
  • to focus on a particular field and begin the path to becoming a consultant
  • to apply knowledge gained in dental school and learn new skills 

The posts also offer excellent opportunities to:

  • study for the Membership examinations (MJDF, MFDS)
  • shape a CV for the benefit of future career progression
  • decide upon a career pathway

Important: Eligibility

You’re only eligible to begin Dental Core Training (DCT1) if you've completed at least 12 months whole time equivalent (WTE) postgraduate clinical experience to the full scope of a dentist by the start date of the post.

To find out more, go to the Eligibility page.

How does recruitment to DCT work?

DCT programmes are available at three different entry levels (DCT1, DCT2, and DCT3) and are typically for 12 months. However, there are a small number of 24-month programmes available.

The guidance on these pages deals with all levels of entry to DCT. 

Applicants should make 1 application for all participating Health Education England (HEE) local offices, NHS Education for Scotland (NES), Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA) and Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW).

Applicants will be considered for appointment across the whole of the UK based on their performance and rank.

Once we've checked applications for eligibility against the person specification for the level applied for, all eligible applicants will be invited to book a place to sit the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) at a preferred location (subject to availability).

Upon completion of the SJT, applicants will be invited to book a virtual interview, which will take place on Microsoft Teams.

You'll then be asked to preference posts in areas you'd be happy to work in.

Recruitment to DCT will take place once for a September start date. This recruitment round is termed Round 1. For key dates, go to the recruitment timeline.

Non-urgent advice: Dental Core Training curriculum

The DCT curriculum is set and approved by the UK Committee of Postgraduate Deans and Directors (COPDEND).

View the curriculum on COPDEND

Salary for Dental Core trainees

DCT salary varies across the 4 nations of the UK. 

Each nation is responsible for agreeing the pay points on their respective Dental Trainee salary scales. These are subject to change due to national contract renegotiations and annual uplifts.

Applicants should familiarise themselves with the relevant pay circulars when applying for a training position.  

Salaries are not protected and can increase or decrease when moving between nations or into a more senior post. For example, from Dental Foundation Training to Dental Core Training).

If there is any uncertainty, applicants should seek support from the local office responsible for the post regarding the starting salary for their position before they apply.

The British Dental Association (BDA) website provides a resource of information on pay for dentists in the whole of the UK. Their guidance advises you on any issues you may have such as pay scales, expenses and pay protection, providing you with the detailed support you may need.

For information about pay and conditions in England, go to NHS Employers.

For Northern Ireland, go to the Northern Ireland Department of Health.

For Scotland, go to the Management Steering Group website.

For Wales, go to Health in Wales.

What can DCT lead to?

Following DCT, some dentists go on to enjoy mixed part-time work in practice and in hospitals as Trust Dentists.

Others apply for Specialist Training. This could be in one of the following specialties:

HEE does not currently offer any training in Oral Microbiology.

Page last reviewed: 1 December 2021

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