Equivalency Assessment Process

The Equivalency Assessment Process is written for graduates of dental hygiene programs that have not been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) or by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The equivalency assessment process is different in the province of Québec. Applicants wanting to work in this province should contact l’Ordre des hygiénistes dentaires du Québec.

Step 1 — Assessing Academic Qualifications

Applicants must first have the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB) assess their course of study to determine if they are eligible to take the national written examination. The NDHCB can be contacted directly at:

National Dental Hygiene Certification Board
1929 Russell Road, Suite 322
Ottawa, Ontario K1G 4G3
Telephone: 613-260-8156
Fax: 613-260-8511

The fees and dates for the NDHCB exams are available on the NDHCB website under Exam Application.

If not eligible to take the NDHCB examination, the applicant may proceed with an application to an individual Canadian Provincial regulatory body. The application will be further assessed to determine if the course of study meets the educational requirements. In this case, the applicant must arrange for the college of graduation to send an original, detailed course description directly to the provincial regulator. The course description must relate to the years of study.

This course description must also include:

  • a detailed description of all the subjects taught within the course of study;
  • the number of hours spent in each subject;
  • the number of clinical hours actually spent on scaling, root planing and prophylaxis procedure;
  • how many and what types of clients these procedures were performed on during the course of study.

Once the complete application is received, it takes approximately three months for the regulator to assess the course of study and come to a decision. The assessment fee is set by each province and may vary. It should be noted that although this path is available, regulators use the same assessment criteria as the NDHCB.

Step 2 — Examinations

There are two kinds of examinations:

Written Certification Examination

This examination is offered by the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board. Their office can be contacted directly at National Dental Hygiene Certification Board. For information on the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination (NDHCE) fees, click here. The NDHCB provides a guide and sample questions to assist a candidate prepare for its exam. If a candidate is not considered eligible to sit the NDHCE and the provincial regulatory body considers the course of study equivalent, the applicant will be required to successfully complete a provincial performance-based examination.

Clinical Competency (Performance-Based) Examination

Applicants who graduated from a non-accredited dental hygiene program are required to successfully complete a clinical competency (performance-based) evaluation. The clinical competency examination is currently held at least once a year in British Columbia, Alberta and/or Ontario.

Applicants are eligible to complete the clinical competency evaluation if:

  • they have already successfully completed the NDHCB written certification examination; or
  • their course of study has been approved by the provincial regulatory body and they have successfully completed the provincial written examination.

Step 3 — Registration

Registration (licensing) is required in each province that a dental hygienist wishes to practise.
To obtain a certificate of registration, please contact the provincial regulator directly.