Rank 1: United Arab Emirates
Starting to practice in the UAE is probably the easiest and quickest for Indians. One can start practicing as soon as two months after clearing the respective licence exams (DHA for Dubai; HAAD for Abu Dhabi; MOH for other Emirates). The exam fees are nominal and the work-experience requirement is also low: two years for general practitioners and three years for specialty-based practice. The visa process is quite simple and hassle free. Salaries are lucrative (starting 120,000 AED or ~2,300,000 INR annually) and tax-free. Dentists also enjoy a generous amount of paid leaves. A cosmopolitan culture and a vibrant community of Indians ensures that ones favorite cuisines are accessible. The proximity to India also means that family is never too far.
Rank 2: Australia
Indian dentists can start practicing in Australia as soon as they clear the equivalency exam (including written and practical assessments). Clearing the exam makes one eligible for working in New Zealand as well, under the Trans Tasman mutual recognition. Total exam fees cost ~400,000 INR, and duration of the process is about 15-18 months. Dentists can take the test at several venues in India, including Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Pune. One also has to clear the IELTS test as part of the process. Australia offers great starting salaries for dentists (starting 85,000 AUD or 4,150,000 INR annually). English is commonly spoken, and so one does not need to learn a local language. The country also offers free medical care and education up to the 12th grade.
Rank 3: The UK
Indian dentists can practice in the UK after clearing the equivalency exam ORE (conducted by General Dental Council). The exam is conducted in two parts (theory and practical). Total exam fees is ~300,000 INR and the duration of the process is about 18 months. One must also clear the IELTS test as part of the process. Starting salaries in the UK are around 35,000 GBP or 3,100,000 INR annually. Indians’ familiarity with the English language and culture, and a bustling Indian diaspora make it an attractive destination to migrate.
Rank 4: Canada
To practice in Canada, the professional has to clear the five-part exams conducted by the National Dental Examination Board of Canada. One does not need any additional coursework in a local college. However, the professional has to get a permanent residency before taking the tests. One must also clear the IELTS as part of the process. The examinations take about two years to complete and ~800,000 INR in fees. Passing the equivalency exam in Canada will also make you eligible for practicing in New Zealand with a few additional formalities.
Salaries in Canada start at ~100,000 CAD or 5,330,000 INR annually. Labor laws are strict, and PR holders are eligible for the same rights and privileges as a Canadian citizen. The country provides free education to children and various health benefits. There is also a rapidly growing Indian diaspora in the country. Working in Canada also creates a path for individuals to eventually become Canadian citizens.
Rank 5: New Zealand
Like Australia and Canada, one needs to clear the equivalence exams to practice in New Zealand. The New Zealand Dentist Registration Examinations (NZDREX) has been outsourced to the NDEB of Canada, and constitutes three of the five exams that one needs to clear to practice in Canada. The examination costs about 550,000 INR and takes about 18 months. One must also clear the IELTS as part of the process. Besides this, one must also meet the criteria for fitness of registration in New Zealand.
The starting salary for dentists is ~85,000 NZD or 3,840,000 INR annually. New Zealand offers a great lifestyle for expats, with a range of places to visit.
Rank 6: The United States of America
Despite being the world’s largest economy and home to the world’s best universities, the United States of America is not the most lucrative proposition for Indian dentists. A professional must first clear two theory exams conducted by the National Board for Dental Examination, and TOEFL. The professional can then get admission in the DDS course to study for two more years in the country’s dental schools, before the individual can practice in the country. One needs a minimum of one year to clear the exams and an additional two years for completing DDS. This is an expensive and time-consuming proposition. But the rewards are also proportionate. Salaries in the US start at 117,700 USD or 8,350,000 INR annually.
For ranking the countries we have used the following parameters:
- Time required to clear the respective equivalence requirements and start practicing (considering the professional clears the exam in the first attempt).
- Exam and visa fees, and fees for obtaining an academic degree (if required)
- Starting salaries
Sources: National regulatory bodies of the respective countries; Salary information from payscale.com; Exchange rates from Oanda.com (September 2019)
We did not consider several European countries given the language-related challenges that Indians would face there. However, with some early planning and extra effort in learning a European language, one can look forward to working in a European country.
We’ll keep that discussion for a later date. Till then, let us know what you think in the comments section below.
About the author
Dr. Shilpy Bhandari is a Hyderabad-based Periodontist and the founder of Dentistry Insider. She has worked extensively across dental clinics of all sizes — from large corporate chains to small, independent setups.
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