Browser Cookies
This site uses cookies necessary to properly function. By closing this popup, clicking a link or continuing to browse otherwise, you agree to the use of cookies. View our policies.

Equivalency Assessment

The Federation of Dental Hygiene Regulators of Canada™ provides equivalency assessments for internationally educated dental hygienists and graduates of non-accredited North American dental hygiene programs, on a fee for service basis.


Minimum Requirements

To be considered for an Equivalency Assessment of your credentials and qualifications, any applicant must be able to provide evidence of minimum requirements. In its assessment process, the FDHRC™ uses four (4) minimum criteria that must be met before it can proceed further:

  • Criterion 1 - the applicant must have graduated with a diploma/degree or its equivalent, in dental hygiene.
  • Criterion 2 - the dental hygiene program must be established as a separate school, faculty, division or department recognized by the appropriate government agency in the country/jurisdiction where the program is established at a post-secondary institution which is also recognized by the appropriate government agency.
  • Criterion 3 - the program must be of a minimum of two (2) full time academic years of formal dental hygiene education in a recognized Dental Hygiene program, including a clinical component with direct client care supervised by dental hygiene faculty.
  • Criterion 4 - the program must have learning outcomes/competencies and evaluation criteria set out in a clear, concise and detailed manner to the satisfaction of the FDHRC™.

Note: Applicants must meet all of the criteria listed above before the FDHRC™ can even open an Equivalency Assessment file on their behalf. If those criteria are not met, the FDHRC™ will not conduct an Equivalency Assessment, will reimburse the application fee minus a non-refundable application fee, and the applicant will be denied equivalency. Please make sure to consult the Equivalency Assessment Handbook for further details about how to apply.

Assessment Policies and Decisions

The FDHRC™ determines eligibility to write the NDHCE™, in accordance with established criteria. One copy of the assessment report result will be issued to the applicant or their agent. A successful assessment result establishes eligibility for the applicant to apply to write the NDHCE™ within a period of three (3) years from the date of approval.

When an applicant’s assessment of credentials is deemed eligible to write the NDHCE™, a letter to the applicant will outline the process on how to apply for the examination (NDHCE™). The letter will also include the date of the next scheduled examination for which the applicant is eligible to apply.

An applicant who did not have their credentials deemed equivalent to those of a graduate of a Canadian accredited dental hygiene program will NOT be eligible to write the NDHCE™. The assessment report sent to the applicant will outline specific deficiencies and suggest other mechanisms that may be available to pursue eligibility to write the NDHCE™ in the future. Once an applicant has been notified, in writing, of the negative result of the assessment, the applicant’s assessment of credentials’ file is closed. If the applicant wishes to reactivate the file, a new application, appropriate fees, and additional documentation must be submitted.

Assessment of credentials reports may differ over time as the FDHRC’s™ assessment decisions are based on the most recent educational assessment standards for the profession.

Notice of Right to Appeal

Any applicant who is denied equivalency and believes that they were treated unfairly can request an appeal. Please refer to the Rescoring and Appeal Policy for more details about how to appeal an FDHRC™ decision.

Note:  If the applicant is deemed eligible to write the NDHCE™, a language deficiency in either English or French shall not be grounds for review of examination results or for any form of exam accommodations.

Application Forms for an Equivalency Assessment

The Application Package provides further information about the procedures required to have your qualifications assessed. You can download the Equivalency Assessment Guide and related forms which you can fill, save and submit with your application or have a third party submit on your behalf. 

Please make sure you download the MS Word version of each Appendix and TYPE IN the information required.  You (or a third party) can then print it and mail it in or submit it electronically (preferred).

Note: The Equivalency Assessment process can take 8-10 weeks from the time we receive all the required documentation (no assessment will start until all documentation has been received).  

​The FDHRC™ will communicate with the individual applicants in writing once it has reached an eligibility decision. If your application is successful and you are granted equivalency, this letter will include instructions on how to apply for the required examinations.

Examination Requirements


National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination™ (NDHCE™)

Once an applicant has received formal notice that they have been granted equivalency, they are eligible to write the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination™ (NDHCE™). Successful completion of the NDHCE™ is required by provincial regulatory bodies in every province but Quebec. The NDHCE™ is offered three times per year, in both virtual and test centre environments (subject to change). Examination preparation courses with sample questions and answers are available for purchase, and applicants are encouraged to participate in the free pre-examination webinar that provides guidance on exam policy and procedures in advance of the scheduled exam days. For a complete overview of how to register for, prepare and write the NDHCE™, click here.

Canadian Performance Examination in Dental Hygiene™ (CPEDH™)

Applicants from non-accredited schools who have been granted equivalency and have passed the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination™ (NDHCE™), must also successfully complete the Canadian Performance Exam in Dental Hygiene™ (CPEDH™) before they can register to practice in most provinces. Individuals should check with the Regulator in the province they wish to register to confirm their requirements to practice. A full list of Regulators is available here.

The CPEDH™ is delivered annually in a central location and as of 2022, is administered by the FDHRC™.

The CPEDH™ was developed through a partnership of the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia, College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta, and the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario.​

Additional Requirements


Language Proficiency

Most provinces require that applicants be able to effectively comprehend and communicate in either English or French, both orally and in writing. Language proficiency is assessed informally through the applicant’s ability to successfully complete the written examination(s) and clinical competency examination. Some provinces may require additional language proficiency assessments.

Occupational Training and Upgrading

If an applicant has not practised dental hygiene within a certain time limit before their application is received by the provincial regulator, the applicant may be required to successfully complete an approved clinical refresher course prior to taking the clinical competency examination. This varies with provinces so applicants must contact the provincial regulator for specific registration requirements.


Territory Acknowledgement

The FDHRC™ office stands on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. The Algonquin peoples have had a special, reciprocal relationship with this territory since time immemorial, and this relationship continues today. The FDHRC™ recognizes without qualification the inherent lands and territory rights of the Algonquin peoples as articulated in Section 35 of the Constitution Act of Canada 1982, as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which is enshrined in various legislation in what is now commonly called Canada. 

See the FDHRC’s™ full territory acknowledgement here.