International Graduates

Graduates of Canadian dental schools and dental hygiene programs (accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada) have the same eligibility for licensure and regional licensure examinations as United States graduates.

Graduates of all other international dental and dental hygiene programs are not eligible to take the regional dental and dental hygiene licensure examinations. This applies even if the candidate has earned a subsequent specialty degree or higher level certificate at a U.S. school. This is because licensure in the United States is a state by state responsibility and the states generally base eligibility on the candidate’s entry level dental or dental hygiene degree and not on higher level certificates.

However, each state has the right to authorize an international candidate to take an examination (fully equivalent to the regional examination) for potential licensure in that state alone. As each state has different requirements, any international candidate must apply separately to each state when they wish to obtain a license.

In order for an international candidate (other than a Canadian graduate) to take a dental or dental hygiene licensure examination administered by CDCA, he/she needs to contact the state where they wish to practice and have that state officially notify CDCA that this individual is authorized to take the licensure examination for that state. As a result, the grades for the examination will only be sent to that state.


Can an international candidate have the grades authorized by one state to be sent to another state?

Yes, but the candidate must write to CDCA and a request a Score Report (and pay the associated fee). That report will indicate that the examination was not the regional examination but was an examination authorized by a specific state.

Can an international candidate who is finishing up a residency or graduate program be authorized to take the regional examination particularly, in the CIF format along with senior students, with the permission of their dean or authorized school official?

No, this candidate still must get permission from a state dental board in order to be permitted to take the licensing examination for that individual state. Their entry level dental or dental hygiene credential is still from an international school and determines their eligibility to take the regional CDCA examination.

Can an individual who took the examination as an international candidate (with permission from an individual state), who has subsequently obtained a U.S.-based DDS/DMD or dental hygiene degree, then request the former state-only examination be changed to the regional examination and then be forwarded to all participating state jurisdictions?

No, the examination was authorized by an individual state as originally given. The candidate would need to take a new examination based on the credentials of a U.S. degree in order to have these regional examination results sent to all participating state jurisdictions.