Additional Information for Internationally Trained Applicants

General Information

The College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta (CRDHA) is the professional body that regulates the profession of dental hygiene in the Province of Alberta. This means that you must have a license from the CRDHA before you can work as a dental hygienist in Alberta.

Please note: The CRDHA does not do assessments for the purpose of immigration.

Under the Health Professions Act (the Act), the University of Alberta (U of A) Dental Hygiene Program is the standard approved program for registration with the CRDHA. All applicants who did not graduate from the U of A’s dental hygiene program must be a graduate of a dental hygiene program that is established as a recognized school, faculty, department, division or program at a post-secondary educational institution, and the competencies taught in that program must be substantially equivalent to those taught in the U of A program.

Substantial Equivalency Assessment

In order to assist with determining whether an applicant’s qualifications and competencies are substantially equivalent to graduates of the U of A program, the Registrar or Registration Committee may require the applicant to undergo any examination, testing or any assessment activity, and may direct the applicant to undergo any education or training activities that are considered necessary in order for the applicant to be registered. The cost of assessments, written or clinical examinations, testing, and any additional education or training activities is the responsibility of the applicant.

Step 1: Before you apply to the CRDHA, gather documents required for registration

The CRDHA requires the following:

  • Your academic credentials
    • Transcript from your dental hygiene program
    • Dental hygiene program detailed course outlines and information for classroom and clinic components
  • External Agency Assessment: Verification of Authenticity Certificate from either:
  • English language proficiency test results (see below)

English Language Proficiency

Section 10 of the Dental Hygienists Profession Regulation requires an applicant be sufficiently proficient in English to be able to engage safely and competently in the practice of dental hygiene. Proof of English language competence is required when:

  • There is no equivalent English proficiency requirement in the jurisdiction where the applicant is currently registered
  • An applicant's primary language is not English
  • The program of study was conducted in a language other than English

English Language Tests Accepted by the CRDHA and Accepted Achievement Level for Each

Note: Official English language scores must be sent directly from the testing service to the CRDHA and examination scores will only be accepted if achieved within the most recent two (2) years.

Name of Test Required Minimum Scores Website Additional Information


Test of English as a Foreign Language

Reading: 21

Listening: 21

Writing: 21

Speaking: 26  


International English Language Testing System (Academic Version)

6.5 overall score with no band less than 5.0 (Academic Version)


a minimum 7.5 minimum score on the spoken section of the test

Edmonton official testing site

Calgary official testing site

Step 2: Apply to Write the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board of Canada Exam

Applicants should apply and complete the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board of Canada (NDHCB) written exam prior to applying for registration to the CRDHA.

Successful completion of the NDHCB written exam is required by all applicants in order to practice as a dental hygienist in Alberta.

Three attempts to successfully complete the NDHCB written exam are allowed.

Individuals who do not meet the requirements to write the NDHCB exam, or who fail the exam, will not be eligible for registration in Alberta.

Information regarding the NDHCB exam can be obtained by contacting:

National Dental Hygiene Certification Board
75-B Colonnade Road N
Ottawa, ON K2E 0A8
Phone: (613) 260-8156 Fax: (613) 260-8511
NDHCB Website

Individuals who graduated from a dental hygiene program not accredited in Canada or the US must apply for examination eligibility through the NDHCB website. Exam eligibility is determined by an Equivalency Assessment.

Step 3: Apply for Registration to practice

Please complete the online application for General registration once you receive notification that you have successfully passed the NDHCB written examination. You will need to provide all documents requested.

  • Details of the requirements for registration:
    • Application and practice permit fees
    • English proficiency test results (if required)
    • WES or IQUAS evaluation report
    • Official transcript from your dental hygiene school
    • NDHCB certificate
    • Dental Hygiene program detailed information
    • Criminal Record Check
    • Verification of registration or licensure from each Regulatory College where you have been previously registered as a dental hygienist or other health professional
    • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate (see current requirements)
    • CRDHA Jurisprudence exam
    • Evidence of Liability insurance

A paper review of your dental hygiene program classroom courses and clinic components will be done to determine basic substantial equivalency to the U of A Dental Hygiene Program. 

Step 4: Complete the Canadian Performance Exam in Dental Hygiene

Once your application for registration is reviewed and the substantial equivalency review of the theory and clinical portions of your dental hygiene program are completed, we will notify you if you are candidate for the Canadian Performance Exam in Dental Hygiene (CPEDH).

The CPEDH will be required to assist in determining substantial equivalence to the College's bench mark program of clinical competence (knowledge, skills, abilities, and judgment) unless at the time of your graduation, your dental hygiene program was accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) or the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

Three attempts to successfully complete the CPEDH are allowed.

Additional information on the CPEDH can be found on this website, on the Exam Information page.

A registration number and practice permit cannot be issued until all registration requirements have been met. 

You should be aware that practicing dental hygiene in the Province of Alberta without being registered with the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta and holding a valid practice permit is a contravention of the Health Professions Act and punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.

Registration processes prior to, and after, arrival in Alberta, Canada:

Must be Completed Prior to Arrival To be Completed After Arrival
Have educational institute send the CRDHA your official transcript English language proficiency exam
Have educational institution send the CRDHA your dental hygiene program information

Write NDHCB examination

Obtain External Agency Assessment:

Apply for General Registration with the CRDHA
Apply for NDHCB equivalency assessment Complete Canadian Performance Exam in Dental Hygiene
Obtain NDHCB written examination authorization, and apply to write exam