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.

If you are an active CDHA member and planning to work/volunteer outside Canada, you need to take a few steps to make sure your professional liability coverage travels with you. CDHA’s professional liability insurance policy includes coverage for:

  • A member practising on Canadian soil, or
  • A member practising overseas for a maximum of 90 days if you are accompanying patients on trips, attending academic courses or participating in professional exchange programs.

Please contact CDHA with your known dates of travel, name, and full address of the dental clinic you will be working/volunteering at including the country. The coverage will need to be approved by the insurer prior to your departure. Please allow for 5-7 business days for approval and processing. Any supplemental coverage may be accompanied with an additional charge.

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.