Way to abroad for Dentist; 10 open secret Steps to crack INBDE – Many dental graduates from all above the world want to practice dentistry in USA and Canada. But with the dental graduation degree from their country isn’t enough to work as a dentist in USA and Canada. Well, it’s not impossible though. So in this article we will try to explain in detail the step by step procedure to practice dentistry in USA and Canada.
‘‘Dream doesn’t work unless you do.” So the first step is to confirm what is that you really want to do after BDS because this whole process is tedious and if you are not that interested you may leave it in between. But if you’re really determined and ready for everything then here it is.
Since your dental degree isn’t valid there you need to do DDS in dental college in USA for 2-3 years depending upon the university. DDS program go with various names for international dentists like ITDP, PPID, IPD. To get admitted to school you need to pass their national board exam. But there are lot more things that you need to know before admitting in dental school.
Step 1 Dentpin
Dentpin stands for Dental Personal Identifier Number and is a unique identification number that has to be obtained to every individual who is going to be associated with dental education in the USA. This is required for you to appear in any further exam. You can simply get it from ADA website by just registering an online form and it’s free of cost. Please register through ada.org and use your legal name as it appears on your government issued ID (first name, middle name, last name). When entering your email address, please use your personal address (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) and not your school email address, which may be obsolete after you graduate.
Step 2: ECE Evaluation
In South Asian region most of the dental colleges provide us degree with percentage so ECE is basically conversion of our percentage into GPA according to their system. They charge you approximately 195$ for this but this may vary every year. This can be done through https://www.ece.org/ website. Before you apply to this make sure you have an USA address because they only send back the ECE documents to an USA address. It need not to be your own address you can write the address your family, relatives or friends in USA. Document that ECE requires are:
- Dental graduation certificate
- Internship Completion certificate
- Final Transcript
- Yearly marksheet (Year I to Year V)
- Clerkship Letter
- Permanent registration certificate (as a dentist) of your country
All the documents must be an original or an attested copy with an original institutional seal and signature. The attested copy should be issued and signed/stamped by the same office that issues original documents. Notarized copies are not acceptable. The envelope should be sealed by the issuing body with a seal, stamp, or signature of an official on the back side flap closure. Your dental college can provide you with all of these but you need to give an application and pay some amount.
Third Step: Apply for exam
International dentists NBDE part I & 2 but the NBDE Part I will be discontinued as of July 31, 2020. The NBDE Part II will be discontinued two years later, on August 1, 2022. and so now it is replaced with only INBDE.
NBDE is National Board Dental Examination and INBDE is integrated NBDE. This exam can only be given in USA. All the details about the procedure, fees and exam pattern is provided in JCNDE website. After applying for exam you have to schedule it according to your feasibility. And later if you want to change you can reschedule it too but you need to pay to do so.
NBDE part I costs 425$ and part II costs 475$ whereas INBDE costs 680$ but these may vary so just an approximate amount. For the preparation of exam you can find all the resource materials on JCNDE website but I can suggest you to go through some books like Dental Decks, Mosby’s, First aid, Dentin, ASDA released papers, etc. You can join facebook groups with people preparing for NBDE and INBDE exams where they discuss questions and everything. You can simply prepare in your home country and go to USA just for exams or you can first go and prepare there in USA but I would suggest you to go for the first option.
Step 4 Applying for Visa to USA
As previously mentioned students can appear NBDE exam only in USA. You need visa to USA at any cost. You can apply for tourist visa via embassy in respective country via online form and deposit nominal charge. They will schedule interview and at the time of interview don’t forget to take your documents of NBDE exam registration so they can trust you that you are going for your exam. There is an another way where students apply for masters’ degree in any program like in public health so they enter USA in student visa. While doing their masters’ degree they appear in INBDE exam and apply for college. This is also an option because it will take almost 1-1&1/2 years for the whole procedure and in tourist visa you cannot stay more than 6 months so you have to come back and apply for another visa.
Step 5 NBDE or INBDE Exam
NBDE part I contains 500 questions from basic science and part II contains 400 questions from dental subjects so total of 900 questions in two settings. Now that it is INBDE, it contains 500 questions with basic science and dental subjects combined . So as we can see it will cost less with INBDE but at the same time it is more tough with exam point of view since all subjects has to be studied at the same time. The NBDE & INBDE is designed to be scored as pass/fail. Numeric scores are not expected to be provided to students who pass the examination. All the information that you want to know about exams are available on official website of JCNDE.
Step 6 TOEFL
TOEFL is Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is mandatory proficiency exam. It tests your ability to communicate in english. You can register to https://www.ets.org/toefl for it. It will cost you around 180$. It can be given from your own country There are various prometric test centres available which contains Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking ability. But I would suggest you to give it after you pass NBDE or INBDE since TOEFL expires after 2 years so if you haven’t passed your board exams within 2 years of TOEFL you need to give it again. Overall score of more than 100 out of 120 is preferred.
Step 7: CAAPID
It stands for Centralized Application for Advanced Placement for International Dentists.
It is an application portal which allows you to apply to multiple dental education programs in the U.S. with one application. You can fill an online form on this website paying some amount. This has a list of all the dental schools and everything that they require to get student admitted in Dental School. There are many colleges who doesn’t even require part 2 to be cleared. Besides ECE, INBDE & TOEFL, you need to have a statement of purpose & 3 letters of recommendation (LOR). For LOR, one should be from Dean of your dental school, another should be from faculty of your dental school and the another one should be from licensed dentist of USA. There are many applicants for the college so you need to stand out to get selected. They prefer students who have done shadowing, volunteering, community services, any other courses, etc.
You can do shadowing at wherever you are staying. This basically means just observing a dentist while he/she is doing their work. You can just ask the dentist if you can shadow him/her for some time. You can also ask that dentist to write a LOR for your CAAPID. You can volunteer as a dental assistant in a clinic or you can also do other non dental volunteering work. You can join for preceptor-ship program.
Preceptor-ship is like a training program in various subject where you can have to assist the residents over there. Many dental school like UCLA offers such courses for a minimum of three months and maximum up to 12 months. But you should know that these courses are really expensive. Be involved in extracurricular activities and try to expand your experiences. You can have some research paper published then it will help you a lot to get selected in Dental School.
Another is PASS which stands for Postdoctoral Application Support Service. You can directly apply for residency program without DDS through this application portal but there are many disadvantages with this. You can practice dentistry only in few states and in low pay. It is difficult to get accustomed to the US ways of practicing dentistry since you weren’t educated here. There are only few universities which accept international dentist without DDS for residency program. It is really difficult to get accepted in the universities for residency program but not impossible.
Step 8 Interview & Bench test
This is final portion. If you’re called for interview there are multiple types of interviews.
- Multiple mini interviews
- Group discussion
- Clinical scenarios
After your interviews, there is something called bench test. This is a practical skills test that most of the school takes so you have to be prepared for this as well. Most of the colleges give you to prepare Class II cavity, PFM or Gold crown prep in manikin. But you should be prepared for everything. There are bench test preparation classes so you can join them. You can also buy your personal practice set to practice at home. Many students do this too.
Step 9: Getting into a Dental School
If you pass all the interviews and bench test finally you will get admitted to dental school. But other important thing is to manage the finances. It can be a huge burden in managing finances because average cost of a dental school is 150,000 to 3,00,000 $. It is a lot to manage on your own but you can apply for private dental loan in USA with a co-signer who is a US citizen or permanent resident. You have to pay back your loan with interest only after 6 months of graduation. You can also apply loan for your personal expenses during your study duration.
Step 10: Dental licensure exam The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) /Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)
The last step ahead of your dream to practice dentistry in USA is license exam similar to that we get in our country. After completing your DDS you can apply for license examination. Though requirements vary from state to state, all applicants for dental licensure must meet three basic requirements; an education requirement, a written examination requirement and a clinical examination requirement. There are 5 clinical testing agencies like CITA, WREB, NERB, etc but this may vary from state to state. You can get all the necessary information on ADA official website.
After getting license you can now practice as a general dentist in all the 50 states of USA. If you calculate the time frame, this is a long and tedious process but all this is worth the time and money you have invested once it’s done. So at first you have to be determined if you want to go through all this or not.
If you’re really determined to do this then best of luck for your future. It may seem difficult but you can do this. The above mentioned information are correct to the best of my knowledge but they may change frequently. So please go through the official websites if there is any doubt. If you know of any information on the blog that is incorrect, please feel free to share. I will try my best to update the correct information.