Practicing as a dentist


Important: The information on this page is intended to provide you with the basics of the credentialing process. It is your responsibility to contact your provincial regulatory body to ensure you are familiar with the process to return. While we review this content on an annual basis, it is subject to change at any time. Please ensure you review all information provided by the regulatory bodies for the most up-to-date information. OzTREKK is not responsible for your credentialing process.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) recognizes Australian Dental Council (ADC) and Dental Council of New Zealand (DCNZ) accreditation for all general dentistry degrees, including postgraduate Doctor of Dental Surgery/Medicine (DDS/DMD) and undergraduate Bachelor of Dental Surgery/Science (BDS/BDSc).

This means that Canadian graduates of an Australian or New Zealand dental school can return to practice in Canada via the same process as graduates of a Canadian dental school (outlined below), which includes passing the National Dental Examination Board (NDEB) written and clinical exams and registering with your provincial dental regulatory authority. Starting in 2023, the current NDEB (written exam and OSCE) will be replaced by the virtual OSCE.

Steps to Certification

Pathway to Certification
1. Graduate with a general dentistry degree whose accreditation is recognized by the CDAC. All the dentistry degrees featured by OzTREKK are accredited with the CDAC.

2. Complete the NDEB’s certification process:

  • Apply through the NDEB portal.
  • Submit proof of graduating with an accredited degree in general dentistry (your original transcript).
  • Register, study for, and pass the NDEB written and clinical exams (taken a maximum of 3 times each). Will be replaced by the virtual OSCE in 2023.
  • Know the up-to-date fees.

Once you’ve passed the exam and have provided proof of your graduation, you will be certified and a certificate will be issued.

3. Register with your provincial dental regulatory authority (below).

Provincial Requirements

While all Canadian provinces require you to have Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada certification in order to become licensed to practice, each province has additional licensing requirements. Check the website for your provincial regulatory body:

College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia (CDSBC)
Alberta Dental Association and College (ADA&C)
College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CDSS)
Manitoba Dental Association (MDA)
Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO)
Ordre des dentists du Québec (ODQ)
New Brunswick Dental Society (NBDS)
Dental Council of Prince Edward Island (DCPEI)
Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia (PDBNS)
Newfoundland Dental Board (NLDB)
NWT Dept of Health and Social Services: [email protected]
Yukon Consumer Services: ([email protected] with CV)

Practicing in USA

Although Canada and Australia have a reciprocal agreement between CDAC and the ADC, this does not extend to the United States and the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). While much of the application experience is the same for Americans, there are a few differences you should know about, including the accreditation processes.

To practice dentistry in the United States, whether as a domestic or international dental school graduate, you must follow the American Dental Association’s licensing process. Licensing requirements will vary by state, so it determined by the individual state dental boards.

The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) administers several standardized exams to evaluate the preparedness of individuals for the study and practice of dentistry and dental hygiene. They include the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) Part II, the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE), and two new examinations which have recently launched: the Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE) and the Dental Licensure Objective Structured Clinical Examination (DLOSCE), launched June 2020.

The INBDE is a written cognitive examination for dental licensure. This exam has replaced the NBDE Part I and will replace Part II when it is discontinued on August 1, 2022.

The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations provides all the information on exams required by state. There are 5 regional examination agencies, depending on your preferred state, but all examinations have the same basic requirements for examinations that include an education component, written, and clinical components. To determine the requirements for the state in which you wish to practice, visit the Initial Licensure Requirements Map.

Most states require a degree from an accredited dental program by the CODA. You may be required to obtain additional qualifications from a CODA accredited program in the United States through and advance standing program through the American Dental Education Association. You can apply to this program through the Centralized Application for Advanced Placement for International Dentists.



Should I take Grade 12 biology if I want to study dentistry?

Yes, having Grade 12 biology would give you a better foundation for Year 1 of a dental program. The University of Queensland highly recommends having it.

When should I start my dental school application?

We encourage all dental school applicants to begin the process by filling out the OzTREKK application in January – February. Afterward you’ve pressed “Submit,” we’ll send you an email outlining the remaining documents required by the universities to complete your application (e.g., final transcripts, passport photo, DAT score report, etc.).

Beginning early sets you up for success. With OzTREKK guiding you through the process, you’ll have all your paperwork in order, and you won’t miss any deadlines!

What is a competitive GPA to get into dental school?

The competitive average for graduate-entry dental school applications starts at approximately 80%, but it’s important to remember that universities use other methods of assessment including weighting, DAT, interviews, etc.

Please see OzTREKK’s Eligibility page for the most recent competitive dentistry application statistics and GPA Conversions.

How long is my DAT valid for?

DAT reports have a validity period of 2 years.

Can I apply with my high school grades even if I’m in my undergrad?

If you haven’t completed your undergraduate degree, you’ll only be eligible to apply to undergraduate dental degrees. Only your current university GPA will be considered, not your high school GPA. Your high school courses will be assessed to ensure prerequisites are met, e.g., English requirements, math, science, etc.

Can I apply to graduate-entry dental degrees without finishing my fourth year of university?

You are eligible to apply to graduate-entry dental degrees with a completed three-year undergraduate degree. If you haven’t completed your degree, you may consider applying to an undergraduate dental degree and have your university studies and GPA assessed, along with prerequisite high school subjects.

Do dental programs have rolling admissions?

James Cook University is the only undergraduate-entry dental program that has rolling admissions (first come, first served). Offers start in June and close in August at their deadline when all seats are filled.

What high school subjects should I have to get into dental school?

To get into an undergraduate-entry dental program, the 5 – 6 best courses are assessed for the GPA along with prerequisites at Year 12 (varies by province).

English is required; math and science are strongly recommended at minimum (some universities require both). Year 12 calculus, chemistry, and biology are also recommended.

If you’re not sure about your prerequisites, please reach out to [email protected]!

Do things like clubs and extracurriculars increase chances of acceptance?

Of all the dental schools we represent, only James Cook University will consider extracurriculars and clubs, which should be included on the Bachelor of Dental Surgery supplemental application.

JCU will also accept up to 3 reference letters.

Do I have to write an essay to get into dental school?

James Cook University is the only university that requires a supplemental form as part of its admissions requirements. It has approximately 5 questions to answer in short essay format. JCU also allows up to 3 reference letters to be included in the application.

Do Australian dental schools consider shadowing hours?

Only James Cook University Dental School will consider up to 3 reference letters and work/volunteer experience, which you can include in the supplemental application. The other OzTREKK-represented dental schools do not considering volunteer or work/shadowing experience.


Are there any scholarships for international students?

Scholarship options in Australia are usually limited for international students as they tend to be reserved for those undertaking postgraduate research degrees; however, we can advise you where to look and whether specific programs have a history of offering scholarships.

Occasionally, scholarships are granted to high achievers—those with very high marks. In previous years, we have seen $5000- to $10,000-scholarships given to OzTREKK students.

Check out OzTREKK’s Financing page to learn more about scholarships and paying for your degree.

Do you have course outlines on file? 

Before sending us outlines, check to see if we’ve already got them. We can save you a lot of time and ensure we’re submitting good outlines on your behalf. Outlines must be within 2 years of the time you took the course (as listed on your transcript).

I received a low mark on my prerequisite course. Will this impact my application? 

To meet the prerequisite subjects, you need to have been granted the credit (passed); the grade isn’t considered in the prerequisite assessment.

How does OzTREKK know if my application will be competitive?

The majority of Canadians applying to full-degree programs in Australia (i.e., not study abroad courses, which usually only last a semester or two) apply through OzTREKK. They’re studying medicine, dentistry, law, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, etc.

Since they’re using OzTREKK’s services, this gives us a good idea of the starting point of a competitive application each year, allowing our admissions officers to help you determine which universities/programs are most likely to present you with a letter of offer!

You can get started on determining your chances by reviewing the admissions requirements on each program page. Then, visit our GPA Conversions and Eligibility pages for details and suggestions to help you get into the program of your dreams. Of course, OzTREKK is always here to help if you have questions.

What is a 5.0 GPA in Australia?

Unlike in Canada, GPAs in Australia are simple. They are standardized, so they mean the same thing to everyone.

In Australia, a 5.0 / 7.0 would roughly translate to a 2.7 / 4.0 or approximately 70% – 72%, but keep in mind all universities assess slightly differently.

Learn more on our GPA Conversions page where we list the most common Canadian GPA scales to their corresponding Australian GPA grade.

Is it hard to get into Australian dental schools?

If you have a bachelor’s degree and have completed the Canadian or American DAT, you may be eligible to apply to graduate dentistry degrees like the Doctor of Dental Medicine or the Doctor of Dental Surgery.

Just finishing high school or partially finished an undergraduate degree? Undergraduate dentistry degrees like the Bachelor of Dental Science and Bachelor of Dental Surgery may be options for you. Check out the admissions requirements.

Should I apply to undergraduate- or graduate-entry dentistry degrees?

Students are eligible to apply for undergraduate-entry degrees straight from high school, with a partially finished undergraduate degree, or with a completed undergraduate degree. These programs do not require a DAT, and are 5 years in length.

If you have a completed undergraduate degree and have written the Canadian or American DAT, you are eligible to apply to graduate-entry dentistry degrees. These programs are 4 years in length.

Both bachelor and master (doctor) dentistry degrees allow the graduate to practice dentistry.

Which prerequisites do I need?

Prerequisite courses vary by university and by program. We’ve listed university- and program-specific requirements on each program’s page under “Admissions Requirements.”

What are official transcripts, and how do I send them?

Currently, our Australian universities require original transcripts to assess your application—certified by OzTREKK, which means we have to put our stamp on paper. Literally.

Usually, students order transcripts from their high school, college and/or university and have them mailed to our office. Alternatively, you can pick up your transcripts and mail them to OzTREKK, as long as they remain in their original, sealed envelopes.

You will need to submit final transcripts (showing your degree/diploma is completed) from every institution you have attended. We only require one copy of each transcript, even if you apply to multiple universities or programs.

OzTREKK educational services
301-1 Sherbrooke St. E.
Perth, ON K7H 1A1 CANADA

Alternatively, your high school, college and/or university can email them to [email protected].

P.S. Try sending your documents via FedEx and Purolator, especially when you need your documents to arrive at our office ASAP. If you use Canada Post’s courier Xpresspost, please don’t request a signature, as this can add unexpected delays!

As soon as your transcript arrives, we’ll let you know!

What are the average marks for entry?

For undergraduate dental degrees, average marks for entry vary by university. The 6 best courses (Ontario) are assessed for the GPA, along with prerequisites at Grade 12 level. English is required; math and science are recommended at minimum, and some universities require both. An 85% is considered the minimum and a 90% – 97% range is considered a competitive average to receive an offer. Click on a university for uni-specific entry requirements.

Which dental school is best?

The Australian and New Zealand universities OzTREKK represent are ranked highly by higher education ranking systems. Each dental program is known by the quality of its education, its state-of-the-art facilities, and by its specialties e.g., rural and remote dentistry. Deciding which program to undertake is usually a personal choice, but chatting with OzTREKK’s dentistry admissions officer is usually the best place to start!

What’s the difference between bachelor / master / doctor in the degree title?

Bachelor dentistry degrees are considered undergraduate degrees and are open to students who have a high school diploma. Master (or doctor) dentistry degrees are considered graduate degrees; therefore, candidates must hold an undergraduate degree to qualify for entry.

While the Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine has “doctor” in their titles, it is considered a master’s degree. A doctorate degree is considered a research degree (PhD).

Both bachelor and master (or doctor) dentistry degrees allow the graduate to practice dentistry.

What if my GPA doesn’t meet the minimum?

If your GPA doesn’t meet the minimum requirement for your program of interest, OzTREKK is not able to submit the application. Depending on the program, your options will vary:

1. Complete another degree
GPA is a tricky requirement, as each university / department has their own way of assessing. If you don’t meet the minimum GPA to apply, this may mean you will need to complete another degree (whether it’s a bachelor or master will depend on the university and program).

Unfortunately, while many students undertake additional courses with the hope of boosting their GPA, any non-award courses taken outside your most recently completed degree will not be considered in your overall GPA assessment.

2. Apply to another program
If you’re interested in health care, consider completing a degree in pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, etc. instead, as long as your GPA meets the minimum requirements.

How do I meet Melbourne’s DDS prerequisites?

The University of Melbourne’s DDS prerequisites are quite strict and require that you’ve completed approved courses in human anatomy, human physiology and biochemistry to be eligible to apply.

1. Check Melbourne’s prerequisites
To see if your courses meet the prerequisites, please go to the University of Melbourne’s prerequisites page. Select the drop-down menu titled “List of assessed subjects” and click “International” to download the current list of subjects. Please note this list is updated regularly.

2. Have your courses assessed
If you find that the anatomy, physiology and/or biochemistry courses that you have completed are not found on this chart, you will need to have these courses assessed by submitting a Prerequisite Subject Assessment Form, including full course outlines for each course you want assessed. You are encouraged submit this form well in advance of applying so you can plan accordingly.

When assessing for the human anatomy prerequisite, the university will be looking to see that the course(s) being assessed included a lab component with human cadaveric materials. So you’ll want to make sure that your courses included such a component, and that it is referenced in the course outlines you submit for assessment.

3. Enroll in the missing prerequisite(s)
Melbourne will allow students to take non-award courses during the application season to make up the prerequisites they are missing. This means you can submit your application early in the year with your interim transcript and proof of enrollment into the prerequisite course. Before enrolling in any prerequisite course, we advise checking with either your admissions officer or the university to make sure the course will satisfy the prerequisite. Usually, Melbourne requires students to complete the course(s) by November.

If you haven’t completed the prerequisite course by the time offers are issued, then the university will issue a conditional offer. When you have successfully completed the required anatomy/physiology/biochemistry course(s), your final transcript can be submitted, and the conditions will be lifted.

What if my DAT is too low or is no longer valid?

If you don’t meet the minimum requirements on your DAT, OzTREKK is unable to submit the application to the universities. As soon as the university receives an ineligible DAT, the application is deemed unsuccessful.

1. Re-sit the DAT
If the DAT sit date is coming up in Canada, you can re-sit the test and hope to receive an eligible score. If you are re-sitting the DAT, make sure that you will receive the official scores before the university application deadline. With the Canadian Dental Association, you can write the DAT twice per year. The American Dental Association allows students to write it more frequently, so we often have students take the test in the United States.

2. Apply to another dentistry program
Consider applying to a dental program that doesn’t require the DAT. For dentistry, this means you can apply to the following undergraduate programs:

If you have specific questions about these degrees, please email [email protected] and we will be happy to assist.

If you haven’t written the DAT, or your DAT is too low or no longer valid, but you have a completed degree, you may be eligible to apply to University of Otago. Please note, Otago has strict prerequisites, so we encourage you to check with OzTREKK to determine if you’re eligible.

What are course outlines and how should I submit them to OzTREKK?

A course outline includes all the necessary information about a university course. It will include the course title, the year, the learning goals, the professor’s contact information, reading materials and most important, a weekly learning schedule. This will help the universities to see what you studied on a week-to-week basis and assess if you have covered the material they expect you to know.

  • Year and semester date
  • Faculty contact information
  • Course description
  • Hours of study
  • Textbook information
  • Detailed list of topics that are covered in the course; usually found in a detailed lecture schedule or list of chapter readings

Please note, one-paragraph course descriptions will not suffice. The university would like to see course outlines like those handed out at the beginning of the semester, which outline all topics covered within the course. If you do not have copies of these on hand, contact the faculty from which you undertook these courses, as they usually have copies on file.

These course outlines must be attached to the email in PDF (do not send PDF links) and labelled in the following manner:

CAPS 391 Human Anatomy I UBC F2015 (COURSE CODE)(Name of Course)(University)(Semester & Year)

When you do this, it helps us be more efficient and move your application(s) at lightning speed.

What if my transcripts / documents are not in English?

If your documents are not in English, you must provide full translation of each document, either prepared by your university or by a registered translator. You must not translate the documents yourself.

Please note OzTREKK must receive the official translation directly from the university or translator in order to certify the document. Please read How Do I Send My Transcripts for more information.

I don’t have all the prerequisites. Can I still apply?

Unfortunately, if you do not have the required prerequisites, you are not eligible to apply. If you are missing a course or two, you can enroll in those courses before applying and we will submit your interim transcript with your application. Otherwise, you are welcome to send in a course outline you feel covers the required content. If you’re unsure, please contact OzTREKK for details.

How many places are there for international dentistry students?

Please note the number of places listed are estimates given to OzTREKK by the universities and are subject to change from year to year.

Charles Sturt University: 10
Griffith University: 25
James Cook University: 15
La Trobe: TBC
University of Melbourne: 40
University of Otago: 10
University of Queensland: 40
University of Sydney: 40
University of Western Australia Graduate: 6
University of Western Australia Undergraduate: TBC