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Dental Hygiene Education Options

Dental hygiene education in Alberta is attained through a three-year diploma or four-year degree program at the University of Alberta (U of A). The U of A Dental Hygiene Program serves as the benchmark program of study for all perseons applying for registration in Alberta.

The U of A course of study includes all areas that support evidence-based practice such as:

  • general studies (e.g., English, communications, psychology, sociology)
  • biomedical sciences (e.g., histology, microbiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, anatomy, nutrition, pathology)
  • dental sciences (e.g., dental anatomy, embryology, head and neck anatomy, oral pathology, oral physiology, oral therapeutics, dental radiography)

The U of A offers three streams of dental hygiene education:


The BSc (Dental Hygiene Specialization) post diploma degree completion program is open to graduates of U of A's Dental Hygiene Diploma Program or dental hygiene graduates of other Canadian or international dental hygiene programs. 

Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada

All Canadian regulatory authorities advise that you choose an accredited program. The Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) is the body responsible for accrediting dental, dental specialty, dental residency, dental hygiene, and dental assisting education programs across Canada.

Visit CDAC's website Internal Link Image to check that a program you are considering is accredited.

Out-of-Province Education

You should be aware that not all programs offer an education that is substantially equivalent to the University of Alberta Dental Hygiene Program. If you or someone you know is considering attaining education outside of Alberta, be sure to investigate the course thoroughly prior to making your choice to ensure that it is substantially equivalent to the University of Alberta Dental Hygiene Program.


National Examination

You must successfully complete the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB) Internal Link Image examination to register with CRDHA. Check NDHCB's website to view the examination results Internal Link Image from various programs. (The examination results are aggregated by dental hygiene school: click the "combined" link to view the PDF file.) It appears that students from some programs may be better prepared than students from other programs to successfully achieve a passing grade in the NDHCB examination.