Practicing as a dentist

Overview

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 graduates of an Australian or New Zealand dental school are eligible to practice in Canada and can follow the same process as graduates of a Canadian dental school (outlined below), which includes passing the virtual OSCE and registering with their provincial dental regulatory authority.

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 virtual OSCE (taken a maximum of 3 times).
  • 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: professional_licensing@gov.nt.ca
Yukon Consumer Services: (consumer@gov.yk.ca 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 Part II.

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.

Resources

FAQs

Can I apply if I’m only 17?

Yes, but you’ll require parental or guardian consent (signature). OzTREKK will provide the necessary documentation for this signature.

If you won’t be 18 when your program starts, you’ll be required to show that you’ll be living with an approved guardian until you turn 18. If you don’t have an approved guardian in Australia, you may need a family member to apply for a guardian visa to accompany you. This guardian visa should be obtained as part of the student visa application

 

Where can I see what grades have been considered competitive in the past?

Please visit our Eligibility page for past competitive scores.

If I have an educational background in dentistry, will this change my admissions requirements?

No. Even if you’ve studied dentistry in some capacity (e.g., you’re a dental hygienist), the admission requirements to study dentistry at an Australian or New Zealand dental school would be the same as if you hadn’t. Depending on the university, you could apply to have them consider course for credit or exemptions for coursework/course load or exemptions for work experience (pathway), but it’s not guaranteed.

Will taking a year off from my studies look bad on my dental school application?

No, not necessarily. We often ask for a résumé so that we can provide the university with information about that year(s) in question. For instance, did you volunteer, work, take additional studies, etc.? You won’t be penalized by taking a year off.

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?

Generally, DAT reports have a validity period of 2 years. For the University of Melbourne, exam results must be from within the last 4 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?

No. All OzTREKK-featured dental programs have specific application deadlines. Please visit the individual program page to learn more.

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 dentistry@oztrekk.com!

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.

 

Can my entire application be submitted through OzTREKK?

Absolutely. We will manage and submit your application(s) on your behalf and communicate any updates from the universities. We’re here to be an advocate for you, and to walk you through the entire process from start to finish.

OzTREKK will keep you on track with application deadlines, interview dates, and any applicable events. We’ll supply you with a step-by-step list of what you’ll need to submit, and when.

Should you have any questions along the way, just send us an email or book a chat! That’s why we’re here!

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 us 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 dental 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 dental degrees. These programs are 4 years in length.

Both bachelor and master (doctor) dental 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.”

How do universities calculate GPA?

Calculations differ by university, but most use cumulative (all units within a program) or weighted GPA (typically last 2 or 3 years of study). See GPA Calculations for more information.

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 transcripts@oztrekk.com.

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% – 99% 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 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.