Program accreditation questions

Program Accreditation Questions

When should a program be submitted for accreditation?

Accreditation for new dental practitioner programs planned for introduction require a notice of intention from the education provider, or school, to the ADC at least 12 months prior to the planned commencement of the program.

The ADC strongly recommends educators contact the organisation at the earliest point in time for consultation regarding accreditation requirements and to allow the accreditation process to proceed in a timely and efficient manner.

The ADC will initiate the process to reaccredit existing dental practitioner programs at least 12 months before accreditation is due to expire.

What type of programs does the ADC accredit?

The ADC only accredits programs that enable graduates to apply for registration as a dental practitioner with the Dental Board of Australia (DBA) or that lead to endorsement of registration for a dental practitioner.

The ADC does not accredit continuing professional development programs or courses.

What is a major change?

A major change to a program is one which affects, or potentially affects, compliance with any of the accreditation standards against which all programs are assessed.

The ADC regards the following as examples of major changes:

• Discontinuation of a course, or part of a course, or a significant change in the length of a course (i.e. months/years). The ADC Teach out of accredited programs guideline is a reference which should be consulted when advising the ADC of a decision to teach out an accredited program.

• Marked changes, other than continuing evolutionary changes, in the design of a program affecting learning opportunities and/or the achievement of learning outcomes.

• A change in the mode of delivery or participation, such as a move to distance education.

• A change in the delivery partner, or arrangements with a delivery partner.

• Substantial changes in the expected learning outcomes for graduates.

• Changes to admission requirements potentially presenting barriers to the achievement of learning outcomes.

• Significant changes to student assessment.

• Significant change to the program quality monitoring arrangement and graduate outcomes of programs.

• A substantial change in student numbers for the program relative to available resources, including capital, facilities and staff.

• Significant changes in the staffing profile.

• A significant change in the overall funding of the program.

• Any conditions imposed on the provider by an educational regulator, such as the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

Does my course for continuing professional development have to be accredited by the ADC?

The ADC only accredits programs that enable graduates to apply for registration or endorsement of their registration with the Dental Board of Australia.

As CPD courses do not change the registration status of a dental practitioner, the ADC is not required to accredit these courses under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009.

For further information about the requirements for CPD courses please see the DBA’s Registration Standard and associated guidelines here

How does the ADC undertake the re-accreditation of specialist dental practitioner programs?

The ADC undertakes the assessment of specialist practitioner programs as outlined in the Procedure for the review of specialist dental practitioner programs. Accredited specialist dental programs are re-accredited by the ADC at least every five years. Where a provider offers more than one specialist dental program the ADC will aim to review all programs at the same time to reduce the burden of accreditation on the provider. The procedure can be viewed here

How does the ADC select assessors for the accreditation process?

The ADC has developed the Policy on assessor criteria and appointment of Site Evaluation Teams which outlines the criteria for an individual to be appointed to the Register of Assessors.

Interested individuals can apply by submitting an application outlining how they met the assessor criteria as detailed in the policy and including a statement addressing the selection criteria and a CV.

Various associations, academies and societies may be asked to nominate experienced individuals to be considered for addition to the register. Each nomination is subject to review by the ADC accreditation committee prior to admission to the register. This is to ensure nominees meet the assessor criteria.

When an Accreditation Team is assembled, individuals from the register are invited to become a member of the Accreditation Team. Considerations are followed during this process to ensure conflicts of interest are identified and managed during the accreditation process

What is happening to specialist academy or society peer review processes?

Education providers are free to engage with academies and societies to undertake a peer review.

The outcome of the peer review does not affect an accreditation decision by the ADC. However, an education provider may choose to bench mark their program against world’s best practice for kudos and reputation of the program. Peer review could be used to show external input from the profession is used in the design and management of the program in accordance with Accreditation Standard 2 – Academic governance and quality assurance processes are effective.

Will each specialist dental program be reviewed by a Accreditation Team with just one specialist assessor?

Normally, yes.

The ADC may include more than one specialist assessor in the Accreditation Team for the review of a particular program if a greater breadth of experience is needed. The ADC also has in place its Second specialist accreditation assessor guidelines. These explain how specialist academies or societies may nominate a second assessor to support the primary ADC specialist assessor during the accreditation process if they wish to do so. You can view the guidelines here

Are the ADC accreditation standards the same as specialist academy or society peer review standards?


There is, as you might expect, a lot of overlap. However, there are also differences between the accreditation standards and the requirements for peer review. The accreditation standards are threshold standards setting out the expectations of an accredited program for graduates to achieve the necessary outcomes to practice competently.

Peer review processes focus on world’s best practice thus assessors may look at a program through a different lens.

How does the ADC ensure consistency in applying the accreditation standards to so many dental practitioner programs?

The ADC ensures consistency in a number of ways.

Training is made available to individuals on the ADC register of assessors prior to each site visit. In some cases, a one-day workshop will also be held. This ensures all members of the Accreditation Team have a shared understanding of the accreditation standards and process.

All Accreditation Teams are chaired by an experienced person who has undertaken a minimum of three previous accreditation visits and is familiar with the ADC accreditation standards and process.

An ADC staff member is part of every Accreditation Team. This ensures the process runs appropriately, consistently and also for the sharing of experience across multiple accreditation visits.

Finally, all Accreditation Team reports are presented to the Accreditation Committee which oversees all of the organisation’s program accreditation activities, ensuring consistency in the approach and outcomes of all Accreditation Team.