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APPLYING FOR NDHCE

Licensure/certification examinations have a well defined purpose: to protect the public by ensuring that those who are certified possess sufficient knowledge and skills to perform important occupational activities safely and effectively (AERA et al., 1999).


How to apply for the NDHCE (National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination)


Please note that Applicants must meet all of the criteria for eligibility before applying for the Exam. If those criteria are not met, the NDHCB will not allow the application and will reimburse the application fee minus a non-refundable fee of $100 (+ Tax).


There are 2 ways to apply for the NDHCE; by Mail or Online. 


Online (preferred option)


You can fill an exam application, upload a photograph of yourself and pay by credit card online by clicking here. See the "Quick Links" (left side) to access the Online Examination Application Guide for more details.


By Mail


You can download and print an Examination Application Form to write the NDHCE. You will then have to complete it by hand and mail it to the NDHCB with the supporting documentation required. Click here or See the "Quick Links" (left side) to access the print version of the form and the Manual Examination Application Guide for more details.


What is the NDHCE?


The National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination (NDHCE) is designed to assist the provincial and territorial dental hygiene regulatory authorities to determine whether or not an applicant for certification, registration, or licensure possesses adequate knowledge and/or skill related to entry-level dental hygiene practice standards.


The NDHCE is intended to fulfill the written examination requirement. However, acceptance of the NDHCB Certificate is completely at the discretion of the individual provincial or territorial dental hygiene regulatory authority.

The format of the NDHCE is as follows:


  • The exam is delivered in electronic form in computerized testing centres across Canada and is comprised of 200 multiple choice questions;

  • This four-hour exam consists of 2 two-hour sessions delivered back to back but with a compulsory 15 min break in between;

  • the passing score is calculated using a proven psychometric method. The scaled score range is from 200 to 800 with a passing score of 550. Candidates whose total score is at or above 550 pass the exam. Candidates whose total score is below 550 do not pass the exam;

  • the International tooth numbering system is used in the exam;

  • the Metric system is used throughout the exam; and

  • the examination is offered three times a year (in January, May and September) in at least one centre in each region in Canada (see list).


The NDHCE tests the candidates' ability to apply their knowledge as entry-to-practice professionals to solve oral health care problems and answer questions related to dental hygiene practice. The examination is based on dental hygiene competencies (e.g. Dental Hygiene Process (DHP): Assessment & Diagnosis, DHP: Planning, DHP: Implementation, DHP: Evaluation) outlined in the latest Examination Blueprint. The dental hygiene competencies were reviewed and validated by dental hygiene professionals representing all fields of practice and all regions of Canada. Regulatory authorities were consulted to ensure that the competencies reflect dental hygiene practice in all jurisdictions.


  Dates of Examination               (Application Deadline Dates)


  January 20-21, 2020                (November 21, 2019)  


  May 19-20, 2020                      (March 19, 2020)   


  September 21-22, 2020           (July 23, 2020)  



Note:  the number of days the exam is offered may vary in certain exam centres depending on the number of candidates and seating availability.


Examination Fees


The fees for the certification examination must be paid in full by credit card (VISA or Master Card), VISA Debit Card, certified cheque or money order in Canadian funds (payable to the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board), at the time of application.


  • 1st attempt Certification Examination Fee: $685 + applicable tax (if writing in: AB, BC, SK, MB, QC add $34.25 GST; in ON add $89.05 HST; in NS, NB & NL add $102.75 HST) for 1st time attempt - this includes a $100 (+ tax) non-refundable fee.


  • Certification Examination Rewrite Fee: $585 + applicable tax (if writing in: AB, BC, SK, MB, QC add $29.25 GST; in ON add $76.05 HST; in NS, NB & NL add $87.75 HST) for subsequent attempts - this includes a $100 (+ tax) non-refundable application fee.


Examination fees are subject to change without notice.


Withdrawing or Transferring from the Examination


If you decide to withdraw from the examination or transfer to a later date, please inform the NDHCB in writing (email is fine) as soon as possible. The NDHCB will acknowledge your withdrawal or transfer in writing, and send you re-application information. Candidates who withdraw from the examination will receive the following refund.





Testing Accommodations


It is important that you complete the appropriate request forms for testing accommodations, if you have a professionally diagnosed disability that could adversely affect your performance on the examination. If you require some accommodation (e.g., separate room, large print examination, etc.) in taking the examination, please consult the page on Special Accommodations and then download, fill and return the Candidate Testing Accommodation Application Form. Don't forget to have the documentation form supporting your accommodation request completed by a professional and to include all details about past accommodations in academic/exam settings. We cannot guarantee that the accommodations will be available unless the accommodations are requested at the same time as you apply to write the examination.



Quick Links

Candidate Guide


Exam Blueprint


Applying for the QA Test


Special Accommodations


English/French Lexicon


Sample Questions


Online Prep Tests


Reference Material

Exam Results


Request for Certificate Duplicate