International Dental Hygiene Programs
This page contains information for graduates of international dental hygiene programs which have not been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada or by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Please refer to the Career Map
, which provides detailed information on the application process for graduates of international dental hygiene programs.
Assessment of Course of Study
Please note the CDHO does not provide informal assessments. Completed applications are reviewed to ascertain whether the applicant meets the current registration requirements. The application will not be processed if completed improperly or if it does not contain the appropriate supporting documentation.
If an applicant is not eligible to sit the NDHCB examination and wishes to proceed with an application to the CDHO, the application will be referred to the Registration Committee of the CDHO to determine if the applicant’s course of study meets the educational requirements of the CDHO. The applicant must arrange to have an original detailed course description submitted directly to the CDHO from her/his institute of graduation, as well as a detailed description of all the subjects taken within the applicant's course of study and the number of hours spent in each subject. The course description must specify the number of clinical hours that were actually spent on scaling, root planing and prophylaxis procedures, as well as how many and what types of clients the applicant performed these procedures on during the course of study. The course descriptions must relate to the applicant's years of study.
The CDHO requires an applicant to have reasonable fluency in either English or French. This is assessed informally through the applicant's ability to successfully complete the written examination(s) and clinical competency assessment. Please note that all documents submitted in languages other than English or French must include official translations.
Once a completed application package and the required supporting documentation have been submitted, it takes approximately three (3) months for the course of study to be assessed and a decision to be handed down by the Registration Committee.
The fee for an assessment is $250.00. If successful, this fee is credited towards the initial certificate of registration fee.
To determine equivalency, the Registration Committee reviews all the documentation submitted by an applicant to determine what courses taken by the applicant are relevant to dental hygiene. The process is divided into four (4) sections (behavioural sciences, biomedical sciences, oral health sciences, and dental hygiene theory and practice), which address different required elements of course content and application that must be found within the applicant's course of study to establish equivalence. It is more difficult to assess courses that were not directly in dental hygiene as the Committee will be reviewing the applicant's course of study for elements of therapeutic/preventive therapy that include preclinical practice and the dental hygiene process of care with respect to a variety of patients/clients. In addition, the Committee will review the applicant's course of study to determine if the areas of oral health education, health promotion and professional practice are covered in sufficient scope and depth to ensure equivalency.
Applicants Who Graduated in Dentistry
A non-exemptible requirement for registration as a dental hygienist in Ontario is that an applicant must have graduated from a recognized, accredited dental hygiene program or a dental hygiene program considered substantially equivalent by the Registration Committee of the CDHO. In Ontario, dental hygiene is considered a separate and distinct health profession from dentistry. Work experience is not considered a substitute for training in a supervised educational setting. Therefore, unless an applicant has successfully completed a program of study in dental hygiene in addition to her/his degree in dentistry, the applicant's course of study would not be considered equivalent to a recognized accredited dental hygiene program.
These applicants would be required to complete an approved dental hygiene program prior to applying to the CDHO. In Ontario, the educational institutions that teach dental hygiene do not normally take part-time students. Therefore, it is usually necessary for an applicant to be first accepted into a full-time dental hygiene program where s/he may receive credit for prior learning. Any prior learning assessment or credit would have to be determined by the dental hygiene program to which the applicant applies. The CDHO has no control over the number of credits, if any, that an applicant who applies to a dental hygiene program in Ontario receives for prior learning.
Ontario Regulators for Access Consortium
The Ontario Regulators for Access Consortium (ORAC) offers an online educational program for internationally educated individuals. Orientation to Regulation of Professions in Ontario is a 1-hour, web-based program that will help internationally educated individuals develop strategies for working more effectively with regulatory bodies.