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By Arzoo Shaikh

Working as a graduate dentist in North America

2 min
Arzoo Shaikh smiling

The opportunity to work as a dentist abroad can be exciting. However, it’s important to remember that dentistry is heavily regulated, and requirements vary from country to country.

If you're a dental student or qualified dentist thinking about moving to North America - either for a little while or to settle - there are some requirements you'll need to be aware of. In this blog, final year dental student, Arzoo Shaikh, talks us through everything we need to know.


Canadian certification is regulated by the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB), which requires a UK graduate to pass three exams (AFK, ACJ and NDECC) to be eligible to sit the Canadian dental certification exams. This takes place in the form of a virtual OSCE.

Once you pass all four exams, you can apply to any province for obtaining a dental licence to practice. This process can take around 18 months to complete, and having a year of experience as a foundation dentist can really boost your prospects when it comes to securing a good job in the most popular areas in the country.

United States

Certification in the US is trickier, as requirements vary greatly depending on which state you want to work in. However, a blanket rule for all states is that you must pass the Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE) to apply for certification.

As a UK graduate, you can essentially obtain a licence to practice straight away in the state of Minnesota. In the state of Texas, you could join a specialty program and be eligible to work as a specialist without having to sit any certification exams.

Unfortunately, for states like California and Washington, you are still required to complete two years of dental school in the US to be recognised as an accredited dentist and able to practice.

It’s no secret that the pathway to licensure in North America is demanding, but the level of education and clinical skills delivered in UK dental schools are on a par with American standards. So, it does give applicants an advantage when they choose to sit these examinations.

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