National Dental Specialty Examination 2020 - Keep the June Exam Date for Licensure

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Dear esteemed colleagues,

As you are aware, the National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE) for board licensure has been undergoing restructuring through the last two years. Historically, the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC) hosted a combined NDSE/RCDC exam. On successful completion of the combined exam, applicants were eligible for both licensure within any province of Canada as well as fellowship status with the RCDC. As a result of the restructuring, RCDC will no longer be conducting the licensing examination (NDSE). Henceforth, the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) will be taking over the administration and management of the NDSE for all dental speciality programs. The RCDC will continue to offer a separate fellowship exam, which will be used to test candidate excellence and allow those successful to achieve the designation of a fellow of the RCDC.

This academic year as part of the exam restructuring, not only has the NDSE been separated from RCDC fellowship status, there has also been a proposal to delay the examination from its historical June date to September of 2020. Evaluation of the examinations will take the normal 6-10 weeks allowing successful candidates to be eligible to register with their provincial registration bodies in November to December 2020. This process allows Canadian dental specialty graduates of the Class of 2020 to be legally registered and eligible for professional employment in their designation as specialists by approximately January of 2021.

Additional to this separation from fellowship status with RCDC and the delay in the offering of the examination, the new NDSE will no longer be held in person but rather will be offered at prometric test centres around Canada and the US. While this offers some convenience to exam candidates there has been no reduction in the fees of the NDSE, which has been further increased to a cost of $7000 CAD not inclusive of a $450 CAD registration fee.    

Given the magnitude of changes to next year's NDSE, the dental specialties Class of 2020 will be forced to manage multiple interruptions to their professional, educational, financial and personal lives. Additionally, these changes to the exam timeline limit the public’s access to treatment via the health services that would be provided by newly qualified dental specialists.

We are confident that a shrewd evaluation of the multiple serious negative professional, educational, personal and social impacts will make members of the CDRAF and Canadian provincial regulators acknowledge the shortcomings in facilitating the decisions that have lead to moving the licensing examination date to September 2020.

We ask for your support in petitioning the CDRAF and all Canadian provincial dental regulators along with the NDEB to facilitate and accept FOR LICENSURE an examination from any body, be it RCDC or NDEB, in the historically conventional June time of year that coincides with the close of the dental residency courses.