06 October, 2011

Can I Speak English?

For those of you who don't know, for the past few months I have been gathering and filling out paperwork to be registered in the UK as a dental hygienist. My hope is to continue with dental hygiene on a part-time basis because it is something I both miss and enjoy.

Registering to work in healthcare in a country not your own is quite the rigorous process! Now, I expected to have to give proof of the university I attended with transcripts as well as proof of licensure from the Oregon Board of Dentistry. No problem, no big deal. However, in addition to that I have to produce all the syllabi from all the dental hygiene classes as well as prerequisite classes I took. Whew! While this has been a headache, it is coming together and I can understand why the UK Dental Council would require these documents, though I feel it's all a bit much.

As it turns out, in addition to all of these more understandable and expected requirements, until I take a test, they won't believe that I can speak English! Anyone from outside the UK and British colonies must take the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) to prove that they can read, write, understand and speak proficiently in English...to the tune of £115 ($180)! I've checked around and though it is obvious to everyone that English is my first language, there is no other lesser expensive test I can take to prove it. This is just one more hoop I have to jump through so I can be registered in the UK as a dental hygienist. After all, dental personnel are known for asking questions and not letting their patients answer without a million things in their mouth, so it makes sense that the dentist or hygienist would need to carry the conversation. ;)

All that to say, I have scheduled to take the IELTS on Oct 22 and will let you know as soon as I get the results whether or not I am actually competent in the English language!