A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Become HARP Certified

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What is HARP Certification?

HARP stands for “Healing Arts Radiation Protection” certification, which is a certification program for individuals who work with X-ray machines in the healthcare field, including dental assistants in Canada. The HARP certification ensures that individuals who operate X-ray equipment are trained to properly use and maintain the equipment, as well as to protect themselves and their patients from unnecessary radiation exposure.

How to get HARP Certified?

In order to obtain HARP certification, individuals must complete a course that covers topics such as the principles of radiation safety, the use and maintenance of X-ray equipment, and the regulations and guidelines related to the use of X-rays in healthcare. The course can be completed through an accredited institution or online. The length of the course may vary, but typically it takes around 12-16 hours to complete.

After completing the HARP certification course, individuals must pass an exam to obtain their certification. The exam is typically administered by the same institution that provided the course. The exam includes questions on radiation safety, X-ray equipment operation and maintenance, and regulations and guidelines related to X-rays in healthcare.

It’s important to note that HARP certification must be renewed periodically, typically every five years, by completing a refresher course and passing an exam.

The Benefits of Having a HARP Certification & How It Can Help Boost Your Career

Having a HARP certification can offer several benefits for individuals who work in healthcare settings that use X-ray equipment. Here are some of the ways that a HARP certification can help boost your career:

  1. Demonstrates Professional Competence: HARP certification shows that an individual has completed a course and passed an exam that demonstrates their knowledge and competence in radiation safety, X-ray equipment operation and maintenance, and regulations and guidelines related to X-rays in healthcare.
  2. Enhances Patient Safety: HARP certification ensures that individuals who operate X-ray equipment are trained to properly use and maintain the equipment, as well as to protect themselves and their patients from unnecessary radiation exposure. This helps to ensure that patients receive the minimum amount of radiation necessary to obtain diagnostic information, which helps to reduce their risk of unnecessary radiation exposure.
  3. Increases Employment Opportunities: Many healthcare employers require or prefer candidates who have HARP certification. Having HARP certification on your resume can help you stand out as a qualified candidate and increase your chances of getting hired for jobs that require or prefer this certification.
  4. Advancement Opportunities: Having a HARP certification can also open up advancement opportunities within your current workplace. For example, it may lead to opportunities to take on more responsibilities, such as managing X-ray equipment or pursuing specialized roles within the healthcare field.
  5. Continuing Education: HARP certification requires periodic renewal, which involves completing a refresher course and passing an exam every five years. This ongoing education and training can help you stay current with new developments in radiation safety and X-ray technology, and can also demonstrate your commitment to ongoing professional development.

Where to Find the Courses & Resources for Obtaining HARP Certification

Which colleges provide harp certification?


There are several institutions and organizations that offer online courses and resources for obtaining HARP certification in Canada. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Willis College
  2. George Brown College
  3. Southern Ontario Dental College
  4. DDS Masters
  5. Sparks Academy
  6. Niagara College Canada


Willis College provides a certificate course that will allow a qualified healthcare professional to expose, process, and mount dental radiographic images following HARP guidelines under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist. Within 75 hours of a combination of a self-directed, college-paced, theory course (40 hours) and an instructor-led practical course (35 hours), you will earn your Dental Radiography HARP Approved Certification. The 35 hours of practical application will be conducted at the Willis College Dental Lab in Ottawa. Theory content will be accomplished online.

In addition to the self-directed online learning component, this course includes 12 hours at the end of the course where you must go to campus to practice your skills in the state-of-the-art radiography clinic. Clinic dates are most often scheduled over the two days of a weekend, but there may be some weekday or weeknight availabilities. You will be able to select from a range of options.

Fee: $1,431                  Duration: 60 hours

SODC is now offering an 8-week part-time HARP Qualification Course. This course is offered as a hybrid of online and in-person learning.

DDS Masters and its HARP1 Dental Radiography HARP Approved course are not registered under the Ontario Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 as it is a non-vocational course. However, they have ministry approval to offer a HARP-approved course. The theory portion of the course is self-paced, and totals 62.5 hours of learning time including lectures, assignments, quizzes, tests, and a 3-hour exam. Upon completion of your first exam, you will then proceed to complete a 2-day (one weekend) practical portion.    

Fee: $1995

This course introduces the intra-oral dental assistant student to the basic science of radiation including its discovery, history, safety and regulatory requirements, and modern use within the dental profession. Students are introduced to the equipment and supplies required for the various types of films and images that are utilized in the dental profession. The course will provide the student with the skill to critique x-rays that have been exposed, clarifying the cause and effect of various equipment and armamentaria adjustments.

Fee:  $3500            Duration: 4 weeks

This course presents a study of the theoretical, legal, and practical applications involved in exposing, processing, and handling dental radiographs. Emphasis will be placed on the understanding and employment of provincial and federal regulations, radiation hygiene measures, and standard intraoral radiographic techniques. Upon successful completion of the course, the participant will receive a Statement of recognition that will be proof that they have met all requirements set out by the Healing Arts Radiation Protection legislation and are deemed to be qualified to operate an X-ray machine in the province of Ontario. But, there are no classes currently being offered for this course.


It’s important to ensure that any online course you take for HARP certification is accredited by the relevant provincial or territorial regulatory body. You can check with your provincial or territorial regulatory body for a list of accredited courses and institutions.


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