Information you need to know to work as a Dental Hygienist

Who is the licensing body responsible for Dental Hygienists in Alberta?

In Alberta, you must be registered with the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta (CRDHA) to practice as a Dental Hygienist. Only registered members may call themselves a Dental Hygienist.

What are the registration requirements for internationally educated Dental Hygienists?

The registration process for internationally educated dental hygienists begins with The National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB).

Internationally educated dental hygienists must:

  1. Submit a completed, signed and dated Application Form for Assessment of Educational Credentials. See Appendix A on NDHCB website.
  2. Pay the appropriate fee.
  3. If your current name is different than the name on your transcript, you  must send the NDHCB a notarized copy of proof of legal document showing the name change (for example,a marriage certificate).
  4. An original or a notarized copy of dental hygiene diploma/certificate/degree, submitted by the applicant. Simple photocopies are not acceptable.
  5. A legal description of the practice of dental hygiene in the jurisdiction/country of education. This document must be submitted directly by the dental hygiene regulatory authority.
  6. An official transcript of grades/mark sheets/academic records, submitted directly to the NDHCB office by the dental hygiene educational institution of graduation.
  7. A credential assessment prepared and submitted directly by one of the following external credentialing agencies approved by the NDHCB:
  8. Complete the first page of the Document Release form (Appendix B) and send it to your educational institution to release all official course syllabi/course outlines from your time of study. These documents must be submitted to the NDHCB directly by your dental hygiene educational institution. The documents must be submitted in the original language of instruction, unless the institution has an official word-for-word translation. You will be responsible for providing an official translation to the NDHCB. It is recommended that this information be submitted in electronic form if possible (CD, USB key, attachment, etc.)
  9. Complete and submit the Applicant Self-Evaluation and Credentials Form (Appendix D), the Applicant Continuing Competence Activities Report (Appendix E) and the Applicant Current and Former Employers Report ( Appendix F).
  10. Write and achieve the required passing score on the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination (NDHCE). Before writing the exam, you are encouraged to complete one or more of the Prep Tests. Note: A maximum of three attempts to pass the NDHCE is allowed. Candidates who fail three attempts will be required to graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program before attempting the exam again.

Once you have successfully passed the NDHCE, you will need to apply to the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta (CRDHA). Read the Information for Persons Applying for General Registration with the CRDHA and then complete the Registration Package Request Form.

Note: All applicants are evaluated on an individual basis. Applicants are encouraged to contact the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta for further information and an application form.

What are the educational requirements for Dental Hygienists in Alberta?

Note: Licensing bodies compare international education and experience to Canadian standards.

In Alberta, the University of Alberta offers a four-year Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Dental Hygiene specialization program.

What are the accepted English language proficiency tests and where can I be tested?

There are no formal English requirements for Dental Hygienists; however, Dental Hygienists must have a high level of English in order to successfully complete the National Dental Hygiene Certification Exam, communicate with patients and maintain patient records. To learn more about where to take an English language proficiency test in Alberta, visit English Language Proficiency Tests and Locations.

What resources and supports are available for internationally educated Dental Hygienists?

Directions for Immigrants offers workplace communication groups to help you integrate into the Canadian work environment. The Clear Communication for Health Professionals (CCHP) workplace communication group is designed to help internationally educated health care professionals fine-tune their communication skills with patients, supervisors, and colleagues. In one week, you will learn through role-play and scenarios the nuances and expectations of Canadian patients, inter-disciplinary teams, and other health care industry participants. Topics include overcoming communication barriers, professional workplace interaction/behaviour, Canadian workplace culture, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Visit Clear Communication for Health Professionals for more information.

What resources are available for Dental Hygienists in Alberta?

  • Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA)
  • College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta (CRDHA)
  • Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC)

Additional Occupational Information

For more information on occupations, duties and wages, visit: