How to get certified
Dental Certification Standards Program for Costa Rica
A Guide to Becoming Certified as a Dentist in Costa Rica for International Dentists
How to get certified

Costa Rica is an attractive destination for dentists and dental specialists seeking new opportunities abroad. If you’re a dentist from another country considering relocating to Costa Rica, you’ll need to navigate the certification process to practice dentistry legally and ethically. This guide will walk you through the steps to become certified as a dentist in Costa Rica.

Understanding the Requirements:

  1. Language Proficiency: Fluency in Spanish is essential as it’s the primary language used in professional settings in Costa Rica. If you’re not already proficient, consider enrolling in language courses to improve your skills.
  2. Educational Equivalency: Your dental degree must be recognized by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health. Typically, this involves having your transcripts and credentials evaluated by a designated authority to ensure they meet Costa Rican standards.
  3. Licensing Exam: You’ll likely need to pass a licensing exam specific to Costa Rica. This exam may include written and practical components, testing your knowledge of dental practices and regulations within the country.

Steps to Certification:

  1. Research and Contact Regulatory Authorities: Begin by researching the regulatory bodies responsible for licensing dentists in Costa Rica. The Colegio de Cirujanos Dentistas de Costa Rica (College of Dental Surgeons of Costa Rica) is a key organization to reach out to for guidance.
  2. Credential Evaluation: Submit your academic transcripts, dental degree, and any other relevant documents to the appropriate authority for evaluation. This process determines the equivalency of your education to Costa Rican standards.
  3. Language Proficiency Test: If Spanish is not your native language or if you haven’t completed your dental education in Spanish, you may need to demonstrate proficiency through a language test recognized by Costa Rican authorities.
  4. Licensing Examination: Prepare for and take the licensing examination required by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health. This exam typically covers a range of topics related to dentistry and may include both theoretical and practical components.
  5. Professional Experience: Some regulatory bodies may require evidence of professional experience, such as previous employment or clinical practice. Be prepared to provide documentation of your work history in dentistry.
  6. Background Check and References: Expect to undergo a background check as part of the certification process. You may also need to provide professional references who can vouch for your skills and character.
  7. Application Submission: Complete and submit the necessary application forms along with any required fees. Ensure that all documentation is accurate and up-to-date to avoid delays in the processing of your application.
  8. Continuing Education: Once certified, stay informed about continuing education requirements to maintain your license. Participating in professional development activities helps you stay current with advancements in dentistry and ensures the highest quality of patient care.

Additional Considerations:

  • Legal and Immigration Requirements: In addition to dental certification, you’ll need to comply with any immigration laws and obtain the necessary work permits or visas to practice in Costa Rica legally.
  • Cultural Adaptation: Familiarize yourself with Costa Rican culture and healthcare practices to facilitate a smooth transition. Building strong relationships with colleagues and patients is essential for success in your new professional environment.
  • Professional Networking: Attend dental conferences, workshops, and networking events to connect with fellow dentists and professionals in Costa Rica. Building a strong professional network can provide valuable support and opportunities for collaboration.
  • Seeking Legal Assistance: If you encounter challenges during the certification process or have questions about regulatory requirements, consider seeking guidance from a legal expert specializing in healthcare law or immigration.


Becoming certified as a dentist in Costa Rica as an international dentist involves thorough preparation, including meeting educational, language, and regulatory requirements. By following the steps outlined in this guide and seeking assistance from relevant authorities and professionals, you can navigate the certification process successfully and embark on a fulfilling career in dentistry in Costa Rica.