Program Approval Policies

September 25, 2019

The College of Alberta Dental Assistants (the College) was proclaimed under the Health Professions Act (the Act) on January 1, 2006. In accordance with the Act, the College has the authority to approve dental assisting programs and education courses in Alberta.1

In 2003 the College’s Program Approval Task Force (the Task Force) was established. The mandate of the Task Force was to develop and recommend to the College a comprehensive plan to approve all educational programs for dental assisting in Alberta. The Task Force reviewed all available and necessary materials to make recommendations.

The composition of the Task Force included a College Councillor to serve as Chairperson, representatives from each existing dental assisting program in Alberta, the School Committee Liaison representative to Council, and the Canadian Dental Assistants’ Association representative to Council. The Executive Director and Registrar were also members.

In March 2006, Council approved the Task Force’s recommendations. In the spring of 2006, work to develop the policies that would define program approval based on the approved recommendations began. In November 2006 the Program Approval Policies were approved by Council, and came into effect.

1. Health Professions Act (2000), s.3(1)(f)

Council approves the program approval policies. Council delegates program approval-related tasks to its appointed Registration Committee to support and enhance the work of Council.

Note: This is a dynamic document, and is subject to change by the College without notice.

Pre-requisites for entry to a dental assisting program and evaluation criteria are set by the school offering the program. The schools are responsible to ensure that pre-requisites are reasonable to promote student success and to support the scope of the profession.

The College participates in all Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) site visits to programs in Alberta. It also supports the CDAC through an annual grant.

The College sends an observer to all National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) Clinical Practice Evaluation sessions in Alberta. It also holds a director seat on the NDAEB board.

Program Approval Policies

Policy Statement

The College approves Alberta dental assisting programs and education courses for the purposes of registration requirements2 through a Council motion.

Indicators

(1) Council may:

(a) prescribe Provisionally Approved Program status or Approved Program status; and,

(b) utilize recognized third-party organizations to assist with the administration of its program approval processes.

2. Health Professions Act (2000), s.3(1)(f)

Policy Statement

Provisionally Approved Program status may be granted to a proposed dental assisting program in Alberta that is in the process of meeting the requirements for Approved Program status.

Indicators

(1) Council may consider provisional approval of a new dental assisting program in Alberta when:

(a) a complete proposal with supporting documentation is submitted; and,

(b) the Registrar has reviewed the proposal and deemed it as meeting the requirements as determined and described by Council below.

The Proposal

(2) The proposal will be in writing and include:

(a) A letter of intent. It will identify the nature of the request; institution name; contact information of the institution and contact person regarding the proposal; the proposed program name; the proposed start date of the first cohort of students; and information about any existing program that this proposed program may be replacing.

(b) A copy of the proposed program mission statement and program outcomes. The two must be aligned and mutually supportive.

(c) An entire copy of the proposed program curriculum. It should include course outlines with name, description, outcomes, pre/co-requisites, course hours, delivery method, evaluation procedures, and completion requirements.

(d) An explanation of how the curriculum adequately covers the current College-authorized, entry-to-practice intraoral skills including foundational knowledge to support the skills, as well as current infection prevention and control standards, the fundamental principles of dental assisting, chair side assisting and laboratory and administrative skills.

(e) A description of how the proposed program will ensure students are provided with appropriate learning experiences to demonstrate students completing the program are competent and safe to practice, at minimum, the current Alberta entry-to-practice intraoral skills.

(f) A description of the proposed program student evaluations.

(g) The length of the proposed program (weeks and hours) including total student clinic instruction time, theory instruction time and practicum time. Provide a draft time table and course delivery schedule.

(h) The proposed program faculty to student ratios for theory instruction and clinical instruction.

(i) Maximum enrolment number at the time of implementation and maximum enrolment number following the initial cohort. Include the number of student intakes each calendar year.

(j) The criteria for admission and a description of the admissions process.

(k) A description of the organizational structure for the administration and operation of the proposed program.

(l) A description of the required qualifications of program faculty. Dental assistants employed as faculty in the program must hold registration with the College and should have completed or be pursuing formal training in education/facilitation methods.

(m) A description of how the proposed program will ensure student access and availability to practicum offices for similar clinical learning experiences.

(n) An outline of the proposed program’s physical resources (i.e. theory and clinic space, student change rooms, patient waiting area, washrooms).

(o) A description of the operations of the clinic including patient management; clinical care; clinic administration.

(p) An outline of the health and safety provisions and patient care and quality assurance protocols.

(q) A copy of the proposed program or parent institute’s policies that identify and address student concerns.

(r) A copy of the proposed program advisory committee terms of reference.

(s) Verification that the proposed program graduates will be eligible to sit the NDAEB written examination.

(t) A statement that the institution is aware the proposed program must apply for accreditation with the CDAC as soon as it is permitted to do so as per CDAC policy.

(u) A statement that the institution is aware that programs holding a College program approval status must attend and participate in an annual “dental assisting program” meeting hosted by the College and that the program is required to provide an annual program report.3

(v) A statement that the institution is aware that prior to accepting enrolment into the proposed program it must provide the College with confirmation that the program is recognized by the appropriate Ministry of Education branch in Alberta.

(w) A statement that the institution is aware they must clearly identify to applicants that graduates of their program are required to successfully complete the NDAEB clinical practice evaluation to be eligible for registration with the College.

Process

(3) The Registrar receives the proposal.

(4) The Registrar through consultation with the Registration Committee will confirm that the proposal meets the proposal requirements as set by Council.

(5) The Registrar will invite the program representative to present to Council.

(6) The Council will consider the Registrar’s recommendation.

(7) The Council will consult with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education and consider the comments from those Ministers.4

(8) The Council will make its final decision for provisional program approval.

(9) The Registrar will notify the program representative of the Council’s decision.

(10) Provisionally Approved Programs must:

(a) Be recognized by the appropriate branch of the Ministry of Education in Alberta prior to accepting enrolment in the program. Provide the College with confirmation.

(b) Submit a progress report with evidence of meeting outstanding requirements to the College registrar at least every six months.

(c) Apply to the College for approval of any major proposed changes with respect to curriculum content (i.e. additions/deletions), program delivery, prerequisites for entry to the program, faculty to student ratios, enrolment numbers and program length.

(d) Achieve CDAC accreditation status within three years following the date Provisionally Approved Program status was granted. Provide the College with confirmation of status.

3. Appendix: Annual Program Report Template

4. Health Professions Act (2000), s.132.1

Policy Statement

Approved Program status may be granted to an Alberta dental assisting program that has met the requirements as determined by Council.

Indicators

(1) Council may consider approved status of an Alberta dental assisting program when the dental assisting program meets the requirements as determined and described by Council below.

(2) Approved Programs must:

(a) achieve and maintain accreditation with the CDAC;

(b) provide the College with a completed Annual Program Report;5

(c) attend and participate in the annual “dental assisting program” meeting hosted by the College;

(d) maintain approval by the appropriate branch of the Ministry of Education in Alberta;

(e) obtain written approval from the College to offer intraoral continuing education courses which result in the consideration of addition to scope of practice; and,

(f) apply to the College for approval of any major proposed changes with respect to curriculum content (i.e. additions/deletions), program delivery, prerequisites for entry to the program, faculty to student ratios, enrolment numbers and program length.

5. Appendix: Annual Program Report Template

Policy Statement

The College may remove the approval of an Alberta dental assisting program or education course for the purposes of registration requirements6 through a Council motion.

Indicators

(1) Council may consider removing approval of a dental assisting program for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to:

(a) the College is provided with notice of closure;

(b) the program fails to meet or maintain program approval requirements;

(c) the program fails to provide evidence of progress towards meeting outstanding requirements; or,

(d) a concern is raised regarding the safety of students and or patients.

Process

(2) Notice of closure.

(a) The College receives notice of closure.

(b) The Registrar confirms the closure or pending closure.

(c) The Registrar notifies the Council.

(3) Program fails to meet or maintain approval requirements

(a) The Registrar identifies a gap in requirements.

(b) The Registrar will serve notice of remedial process to the program.

(c) Failure to meet the remedies will result in notice of recommendation to Council for removal of program approval status.

(d) The Council will consider the Registrar’s recommendation.

(e) The Council will consult with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education and consider the comments from those Ministers.7

(f) The Council will make the final decision for removal of program approval.

(g) The Registrar will notify the program representative of the Council’s decision.

(4) Concerns regarding a program.

(a) The Registrar receives the concern in writing.

(b) The Registrar will contact the program representative to discuss the concern.

(c) The program will have the opportunity to present their position.

(d) The Registrar and the program representative will determine remedial steps and timeframes for compliance.

(e) The program representative will report to the Registrar as requested on compliance.

(f) The Registrar will report to Council and receive Council feedback.

(g) The Registrar, considering Council feedback, will determine any further steps.

(h) Failure to meet the remedies will result in notice of a recommendation to Council for removal of program approval.

(i) The Council will consult with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education and consider the comments from those Ministers.8

(j) The Council will make the final decision for removal of program approval.

(k) The Registrar will notify the program representative of the Council’s decision.

(5) Graduates of programs whose approval is removed may be deemed ineligible for registration.

6. Health Professions Act (2000), s.3(1)(f)
7. Health Professions Act (2000), s.132.1
8. Health Professions Act (2000), s.132.1

Post-Graduate Course Approval

PAP5 Approval of Orthodontic Education Courses – RESCINDED September 7, 2019

Course Approval

Policy Statement

The College approves advanced practice education courses through a Council motion for the purposes of authorizing regulated members to perform Advanced Practices.9 Course providers who intend to deliver advanced practice education courses to dental assisting students and or regulated members must first apply for and obtain approval with the College.

Indicators

(1) Council may consider removing approval of a dental assisting program for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to:

(a) the College is provided with notice of closure;

(b) utilize a third-party to assist with the administration of its course approval processes.

(2) Council will consider course approval when a complete application with supporting documentation is submitted and the Registrar, or their delegate, has deemed it as meeting the requirements. Supporting documentation will include the following:

(a) detailed course information, including copies of course outlines, timetables, course workbooks or manuals, and evaluations/assessments;

(b) a description of the teaching methods and learning activities used within the course, including the number of clinical learning experiences performed by students on manikins and patients;

(c) evidence the course is being delivered as a component of an accredited10 dental assisting program, or as a continuing education course delivered by:

(i.) an accredited faculty of dentistry;

(ii.) an accredited dental assisting program; or

(iii.) an accredited dental hygiene program.

(d) evidence the instructors are regulated members of their respective regulatory authority and authorized to perform the advanced practice being taught;

(e) a description of the equipment, instruments and material available to the support the course and permit students to use the techniques being taught to achieve an acceptable entry-level of competence for the performance of the advanced practice;

(f) a description of instructor to student ratio for clinical course components; and,

(g) the applicable advanced practice education course approval fee payment.

(3) Each application for approval will be reviewed on an individual basis.

(4) The Registrar, or their delegate, may request additional information and or evidence and or a site visit to determine whether the submission meets the requirements.

(5) Review and approval of complete submissions may take up to 16 weeks, or longer if additional information or evidence is required.

(6) Applicants must ensure course approval is in place prior to advertising and enrolling students.

Orthodontic Clinical Competencies

(1) obtain diagnostic records;

(2) prepare teeth for bonding and banding procedures;

(3) place and remove orthodontic separators;

(4) select, fit and cement orthodontic bands;

(5) insert orthodontic appliances;

(6) place and bond orthodontic brackets and bondable attachments;

(7) insert, ligate and remove orthodontic arch wires, which were formed by a dentist, using individual elastomeric ligatures, chain elastomeric ligatures, wire ligature ties (separate and continuous) and self-ligation mechanisms;

(8) trim and or bend distal ends of orthodontic arch wires;

(9) place and remove orthodontic accessories;

(10) remove orthodontic bands, brackets and bondable attachments with hand-held instruments;

(11) remove excess bonding agent and cement with hand instruments and or slow speed rotary handpiece; and,

(12) apply non-medicinal material to reduce the effect of irritating orthodontic components.

Prosthodontic Clinical Competencies

(1) place intermediate restorative materials for temporary restoration of a tooth, and remove excess material from occlusion or contour with hand instruments and slow speed rotary handpiece;

(2) select or fabricate and fit provisional acrylic crowns, inlays, onlays and bridges intra-orally using self-curing or light curing materials, or prefabricated or custom fabricated acrylic shells, and remove excess material from occlusion or contour extra-orally with slow speed rotary handpiece;

(3) cement provisional crowns, inlays, onlays and bridges using temporary cement, and remove excess temporary cement with hand instruments;

(4) remove provisional crowns, inlays, onlays or bridges and cement with hand instruments; and,

(5) place and remove gingival retraction cord with or without hemostatic agents (no epinephrine) in sulcus.

Preventive Clinical Competencies

(1) perform periodontal screening and recording assessment;

(2) perform full mouth periodontal probing;

(3) evaluate periodontal scaling instruments for appropriate sharpness;

(4) perform periodontal scaling instrument sharpening; and,

(5) perform periodontal scaling using hand-held instruments and ultrasonic instruments.

Expected Outcomes

The College can expect students and dental assistants, who successfully complete an approved advanced practice education course, to receive relevant theoretical knowledge, clinical experiences and evaluations to be deemed competent and safe to perform the advanced practice for patients.

9. Registration Policy RP7 Advanced Practice Authorization
10. Accreditation must be issued by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada.

Appendix

November 2016
Reporting Requirement
Program Response
State the educational institution and program name.
State the name and contact details of the key program contact person.
State the reporting year.
State the program’s current Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada accreditation status.
State the current program theory, clinical and practicum hours.
Describe the current faculty complement.
Describe the current program admission requirements.
State the number of program graduates during reporting year.
Identify and describe any substantial changes during reporting year to:
  • curriculum
  • how students are prepared or evaluated for practice
  • clinic operations
  • other i.e. facilities, learning resources
Provide NDAEB statistics for the reporting year.
Identify and describe any anticipated substantial changes for the upcoming reporting year to:
  • curriculum
  • how students are prepared or evaluated for practice
  • clinic operations
  • other i.e. facilities, learning resources
Identify the number of program intakes planned for the current reporting cycle (include dates).
State the maximum number of students enrolled per intake.
Provide any additional comments and / or information.
Scroll to Top