In December 2017, CADTR was awarded funding from Employment and Social Development Canada to undertake a series of initiatives under the multi-year pan-Canadian “Access to Dental Technology Project”.
The overriding purpose of the project is to address the critical shortage of licensed dental technology professionals in Canada by centralizing functions related to the assessment of applicants in an effort to better standardize outcomes.
This involved creating harmonized standards, processes, programs and tools to support transparent, fair and objective credential evaluation and competency-based assessments. Importantly, ease of access to these tools, programs and guidance documents will ensure that aspiring internationally educated dental technology professionals who wish to practice anywhere in Canada know about the profession prior to immigration and are better prepared to pursue registration.
For the first time, an Education Benchmark has been completed which defines the minimum Canadian dental technology program requirements, curriculum, course content and content definitions based on current education programs.
Profession Specific Credential Evaluation (PSCE)
The PSCE is a consistent and fair way for CADTR to determine if applicants who have graduated from a dental health program or dental technology program not approved by CADTR have completed the equivalent of both (a) the entry-level education and (b) the practical experience defined by the Education Benchmark.
National Essential Competencies for Dental Technology Practice in Canada (NEC)
In April 2019 CADTR approved the NEC which is a comprehensive list of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that may be expected of a registered/licensed dental technology professional currently practicing in Canada at the start and throughout their career.
National Essential Entry-to-Practice Competencies (NEETPC)
NEETPC are competencies and performance indicators which describe the knowledge, skill, ability, and judgment that a fully licensed dental technologist/technician will require at the beginning of their careers. These competencies and indicators are a subset of the NEC, which were designed to encompass competencies across the career span. The entry-to-practice competencies and indicators were identified through a comprehensive process involving both focus groups and an online survey and comprised a nationally representative sample of practicing RDTs.
Dental Technology Entry-to-Practice Assessment (DTETPA)
For most dental technology regulators, successful completion of a competency-based assessment is a requirement for registration. Effective November 1, 2020 all new applicants will complete the DTETPA which is made up of two assessments: Knowledge-Based Assessment (KBA) and Performance-Based Assessment (PBA).
The KBA is computer-based, consists of 150-180 questions, will take no more than 4 hours to complete, can be accessed online and is virtually proctored. It will be offered twice each year.
The PBA is comprised of 8-12 stations that simulate professional practice. Candidates will perform technical skills and apply critical thinking non-technical skills. It will take no more than 4 hours to complete and will be held once each year in at least two provinces across Canada.
Applicant Engagement Strategy
The Access to Dental Technology Steering Committee introduced a web-based Applicant Engagement Strategy in April 2019. The strategy was designed to provide outreach to potential applicants and interested persons across Canada. With this strategy, there were a variety of engagement tools used, including a video, webinar and online survey, subscriber form and educator discussion guide.
The results from the strategy were promising:
- Yielded 1,741 unique website visits and 4,113 page views
- Resulted in the gain of 126 subscribers
- Approx. 80% of webinar online survey respondents viewed the project as very important to the profession, public and to them personally
- Approx. 70% of webinar online survey respondents indicated that the webinar was informative, interesting, easy to understand and was the right length