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

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

Important: Important

You should rely only on these pages or the Committee of Postgraduate Deans and Directors (COPDEND), Oriel and Pearson VUE websites for recruitment information.

The Dental Core Training National Recruitment Office (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.

You will 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 (Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties (MJDF) and Member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS))
  • shape a CV for the benefit of future career progression
  • decide upon a career pathway

You are 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.


You are 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.

Find out more about eligibility requirements for DCT training.

How does recruitment to DCT work?

DCT programmes are available at 3 different entry levels (DCT1, DCT2, and DCT3) and are typically for 12 months. However, there are a small number of 24-month programmes available.

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

You will be considered for appointment across the whole of the UK based on your 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 online.

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.


The DCT curriculum is set and approved by COPDEND.

Read the DCT curriculum on COPDEND.

Salary for Dental Core Training dentists

DCT salary varies across the 4 nations of the UK. 

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

You should familiarise yourself 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, you should seek support from the local office responsible for the post regarding the starting salary for your position before you 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, you may go on to enjoy mixed part-time work in practice and in hospitals as Trust Dentists.

You may also apply for Specialist Training. This could be in one of the following specialties:

Page last reviewed: 10 August 2023
Next review due: 11 August 2024

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