If you are wondering how to become a dentist in Canada as an international student, you have not only made the right choice in deciding to practice dentistry in Canada; but you have also come to the right page to get all the information you will need.
As a dentist, you actively assist others, whether by filling a cavity, performing a routine exam, or seeing cancerous tumors early enough to potentially save a patient’s life. You get to relieve patients’ suffering and contribute to their confidence-building.
Also, you won’t have to worry too much about the effects of the economy or whether you will have patients to serve because dentistry is a lucrative profession inside a stable and expanding industry.
With the continual development of technologies and procedures in the industry, seeking to practice dentistry as an international student is not a walk in the park. Yet, going through all those hurdles of obtaining a license and becoming a dentist in Canada pays off handsomely. Here is why: Canada now ranks among the top five countries worldwide for practicing dentistry in terms of salary and quality of professional life.
Records show that senior associates and clinic owners have enormous earning potential, although first-year associates in Canada often start with wages of roughly $150,000.
In this article, we will be answering the question of how to become a dentist in Canada and gain these benefits. We will be exploring three ways or routes that answer how to become a dentist in Canada as an international student, what you are to expect, and what would be required of you.
3 Ways to Become a Dentist in Canada as an International Student
Dentistry is a regulated profession. This means that you cannot practice dentistry in a state without having a license to practice dentistry there. The qualifications for obtaining a license in each province are determined by the dental regulatory body for that province. As for Canada, this dental regulatory body is the NDEB.
The National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) is the body responsible for establishing and maintaining a national standard of competence for dentists in Canada. This is the body that qualifies you to really be a dentist and practice your profession in Canada.
The National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) made some significant modifications on the 29th of October 2021, to one of the routes an international student can take to become a dentist in Canada; these modifications have been reflected in this article.
For an international student seeking how to become a dentist in Canada and secure a license from NDEB, here are the three main routes:
How to become a dentist in Canada #1: Get a Dental Degree from a Canadian University
As an aspiring dentist, you can major in whichever subject you want in college. However, individuals who desire to practice dentistry must eventually attend dental school to get a DDS or DMD degree. An international student who desires to practice dentistry in Canada and wonders how to become a dentist in Canada,/can enroll in an accredited dental school in Canada to get the DMD or DDS degree if they don’t have that already. Though a DMD or DDS degree does not automatically qualify a person to practice dentistry in Canada, it qualifies students to take the board exams and thus qualify for a license.
Each college has its own set of admissions and application requirements. It is crucial to get in touch with the admissions office of the relevant dental school to find out what is required for admission. Most Canadian dental schools require applicants to submit DAT (Dental Aptitude Test) scores, which are administered by the CDA, as part of the admissions process.
For residents of Canada, the cost of a four-year undergraduate dental degree can range from $50,000 to $200,000, and for international students, it may go as high as $360,000. Academic, extracurricular, and dental equipment costs are frequently included in tuition fees. However, university tuition costs vary, so it is best to do some research before applying.
How to become a dentist in Canada #2: Undergo the NDEB equivalency process
This route answers the “how to become a dentist in Canada” question for an internationally trained dentist, someone who has already secured a dental degree in another country but desires to practice in Canada. These internationally trained dentists must undergo the NDEB equivalency process also known as the direct licensing process to practice dentistry as licensed dentists in Canada.
Before you can apply for the NDEB equivalency process, you must first have your profile authorized, which might take up to 4-6 months but as long as you have the recognized degree, your profile should be approved.
After being accepted, you will have to pass the AFK (Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge) exam. You have two alternatives if you pass this exam: either continue the equivalency process and take the Assessment of Clinical Judgment (ACJ) and National Dental Examination of Clinical Competence™ (NDECC™), or apply to a Canadian university and complete a two-year bridging program. The bridging program is the third on how to be a dentist in Canada for international students and we will say more about it in the next section.
Currently, candidates have three chances total to pass both the AFK and ACJ exams. Candidates can also take the NDECC™ as many times as they like within a five-year window. This is part of the modification made by the NDEB in 2021.
The price of the NDEB equivalency procedure, including course and exam fees, is about $50,000. This cost may grow based on the number of attempts required to pass.
How to become a dentist in Canada #3: Bridging Programs
This third option is also open to internationally trained dentists who desire to practice in Canada. After passing the AFK (Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge) exam, you can decide to apply for a bridging program at a university in Canada. These programs are intended to bridge the gap between abroad and Canadian dentistry training.
After successfully completing a five- to six-month bridging program, students can enroll immediately in the third year of a 4-year Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program. A DDS program can be finished in two to two and a half years overall.
The majority of Canadian colleges generally demand the following qualifications if you want to enroll in a bridge course:
- You must have completed a minimum four-year university dental school that is not accredited by the CDAC (Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada).
- You must have a GPA that is generally high (each university has its own GPA requirements).
- Either possess Canadian citizenship or be granted permanent resident status.
- Show evidence of your English proficiency. The Test of Written English (TWE) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or an equivalent may be needed for students whose first language is not English.
- Successfully passing the NDEB’s AFK exam with a score of at least 90% will significantly increase your chances of being accepted.
You will be contacted for either an interview or to take part in a bench test if you satisfy all the requirements for the program at your preferred institution.
It is significant to remember that not all universities provide bridging courses. To confirm the university’s stated entry criteria, it is recommended to get in touch with that institution.
The bridging program application process can cost up to $90,000 however, actual costs may differ based on tuition and non-refundable application fees charged by individual institutions.
How to become a dentist in Canada: The Final Step
Pass Board Exams
The final stage of becoming a dentist in Canada is to pass the Board Exams. It is the end point of all three routes to becoming a dentist in Canada. To be certified as a licensed dentist in Canada, every internationally trained dentist must pass the OSCE. This test, also known as the Objective Structured Clinical Examination, will be your last. This comprehensive exam, as its name implies, determines if you are qualified to work for or own your clinic.
The OSCE is a booklet exam with two sessions that take place on the same day. The first is a 50-question multiple-choice survey that will cover everything from case history to dental records. Each question will have up to 15 possible responses, at least one of which will be accurate. The second session consists of a lengthy response to a single structured question that examines your capacity for practice in greater detail.
Like the others, this exam requires a score of 75 or better to pass. By accessing your NDEB account and making the required payment, you can schedule your OSCE. This exam has the prospect of changing to the NDEB Virtual OSCE in 2023. By doing this, the written test and OSCE will be combined into a single exam that will be presented online in a single session as opposed to two.
You have three chances to pass the OSCE however, we strongly advise working with a nearby prep facility that specializes in assisting internationally trained dentists with the NDEB equivalency program throughout the entire examination process.
After passing the OSCE, you will have satisfied all requirements to practice dentistry in Canada. All that remains is to submit your final application to the NDEB, and they will award you a license.
How many years does it take to study dentistry in Canada?
Following an undergraduate degree, dental school lasts at least four years. The curriculum will take an additional two to three years to finish if you choose to specialize.
What is the qualification for BDS in Canada for international students?
Pass an English Proficiency exam if enquired, IELTS- range of 6.5 to 6.0, TOEFL- overall 90, PTE- overall 65.
Do Canadian dental schools accept international students?
International students have a variety of dental course options to choose from at all Canadian dentistry universities. The disciplines you can choose from depend on the study level you select, but some examples include dentistry, dental hygiene, pediatric dentistry, and oral health.
Whatever route you decide to take as an international student, it will require your time, money, and effort as the exams you would need to take are not only expensive but professional. But be of good cheer! As we stated earlier, the effort you put in will eventually pay off. Also, there are lots of groups and past questions you can use to prepare for these exams. We hope this article helped you understand how to become a dentist in Canada as an international student. Good luck as you begin your journey.
Ndeb-bned.ca – How to Become a Licensed Dentist in Canada
Internationaldentistscanada.com – NDEB Equivalency Process
Prepdoctors.ca – How to be a Dentist in Canada
Mcgill.ca – Becoming a Dentist in Canada
Itdaoc.ca – How to become a Dentist in Canada.