Licensure is a process whereby a state grants dentists the legal authority to practice dentistry. Every dental graduate will need to obtain an initial license from a state. In the United States, each state has the right to set its own requirements for professional licensure.
Current Licensure Requirements
Use our Licensure Map to see your state’s requirements. Although specifics may vary, all states have educational, written and clinical requirements:
All states’ educational requirements are satisfied by graduation from a dental school accredited by the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation.2. Written
(National Board Dental Exams)
There are two parts to the National Boards: Part I and Part II. Although additional written examinations may be required at the state level, all licensing boards use the National Board Dental Examinations
to satisfy a major portion of their written exam requirements.
Clinical exams may vary (they are not standardized). Most candidates who do not achieve licensure on their first attempt fail in some aspect of the clinical exam. Currently, only five jurisdictions administer their own clinical exams (California, Delaware, Florida, Nevada and Virgin Islands). The remaining boards contract that responsibility to one of the five regional testing agencies. Alternatives to the clinical exam include Post-Graduate Year-1 (PGY-1), Canadian National Dental Examining Board (NDEB) Exam and a portfolio system.
ASDA Policy on Licensure
Unlike most current licensure requirements, ASDA believes that any clinical licensing examination intended to measure technical skill via a sequence of independent clinical tasks should:
- be a non-patient based examination emphasizing the recognition, diagnosis and treatment planning of disease, in conjunction with the treatment of simulated disease by use of a typodont.
- be administered in the final year of dental school.
- provide opportunities for remediation, at the candidates‘ dental school, prior to graduation.
- guarantee anonymity of candidates and examiners.
- be administered by examiners who have been calibrated to provide standardized and consistent scoring.
- not include a written examination that duplicates the content of the National Dental Board Examination Parts I or II.
- be offered to candidates at the lowest reasonable cost possible.
- be universally accepted by all state boards of dentistry.
- be psychometrically sound.