Southern Ontario Dental College

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How to Become a Registered Dental Hygienist After Your Education

Posted in Articles, Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienist.

Did you know dental hygienists are the 6th biggest regulated health profession in the country? If you’ve graduated or will soon graduate with a dental hygiene degree, congratulations! You’re ready to become a registered dental hygienist.

Do you know the next steps to take to get your license? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Read this to learn all the steps necessary to become a registered dental hygienist.

Prepare for the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination

Becoming a registered dental hygienist is easy if you graduate from an accredited program (like ours). Just submit proof of graduation and complete the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination (NDHCE).

The NDHCE is an electronic test that you can take at various testing centres across the country. This exam is made up of 200 questions that are multiple choice. The exam is four hours, with a mandatory 15-minute break at the two-hour mark.

The exam tests the ability to apply their knowledge to dental hygiene practices. It’s offered three times a year: January, May, and September. To pass, the applicant must receive a score of 550 or better.

For more information on the exam, check out the NDHCE blueprint. This document explains exactly what you need to study in order to pass the exam.

You May Need to Take the Clinical Competency Evaluation

There’s an additional step if you graduated from a non-accredited program (check out the list of accredited dental programs). Once you pass the NDHCE, you’ll have to pass a clinical competency evaluation. This is called the Canadian Performance Exam in Dental Hygiene (CPEDH).

This exam is offered at least once a year, lasts for two days, and is a performance-based assessment. This test examines skills in both a simulated setting (on day one) and actual clinical context (on day two).

If you fail the examination, you can take it again within a time frame of two years. But if you fail the exam four times, you are barred from taking the exam ever again.

Additional Requirements

There are a few additional requirements for receiving your certificate of registration. You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and speak English or French fluently. You also have to provide a police record check and proof of professional liability insurance.

If you have any other professional certificates, you’ll need to submit a certificate of professional conduct for that jurisdiction. Finally, meet the “Good Character” requirement and pay any applicable fees. And note that if you graduated over three years ago, you’ll have to complete a clinical refresher course.

Ready to Become a Registered Dental Hygienist?

Becoming a registered dental hygienist is easy once you know the steps. So whether you’re graduating or you’re just beginning your education journey, congratulations!

Are you considering a dental hygiene degree program? Contact Southern Ontario Dental College for more information on our accredited dental hygiene degree program that will allow you to bypass the clinical competency evaluation.

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