Working & Volunteering Abroad

Working Abroad

There are many dental hygiene opportunities abroad. However, the process of obtaining an authorization to practise dental hygiene, a work permit and/or a visa differs substantially by country. You will need to contact the government authority and the regulatory body overseeing the dental hygiene profession. Visit the International Federation of Dental Hygienists for more information.

Some of the things to look for include:

  • Special knowledge or certification requirements
  • Requirement for a clinical and/or written exam
  • Whether the employer offers accommodation or other benefits
  • Terms of the employment contract
  • Taxation requirements for Canadians working outside of Canada

Visit CDHA’s Career Centre for opportunities abroad.

Volunteering Abroad

There are volunteer opportunities for dental hygienists around the world, from South America to the Middle East to the South Pacific. One of the most important things to keep in mind when thinking about going on a volunteer trip is that you are likely working with underserved groups. They are likely to experience difficult living conditions and have complex oral health needs.

Getting in the right frame of mind is essential to making the most of your volunteer experience abroad. For many dental hygienists, the experience of meeting and helping underserved children will far outweigh the difficulties. One of the best ways to prepare for the conditions you will face is to read articles about other peoples' experiences in volunteering abroad and researching the area where you will be providing dental hygiene services.

As of January 1, 2024, the Territorial Limit of the PLI policy for CDHA member is now Worldwide. This means that your PLI policy will extend to cover you for insured claims based on services you deliver as a dental hygienist when working or volunteering outside of Canada, where these claims are brought forward against you and defended in Canada. Please note that for coverage to apply, you must abide by the regulatory requirements in all relevant jurisdictions, including the regulatory licensing requirements in the jurisdiction where you will be delivering your services, if there are specific requirements governing the practice of dental hygiene in that area. BMS also recommends that you determine if there are any local insurance requirements where you are delivering your services. Your professional liability insurance policy under the CDHA program may not meet these and it may be advisable to purchase local insurance coverage. If you have any questions, please contact our broker, BMS at>

Learn about other dental hygienists’ experiences volunteering abroad by reading the Dental Hygiene at Home & Away articles in Oh Canada! CDHA's Oral Health Canada Magazine.