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State Licensure Spotlight: Alabama

Dr. Ken RandallDr. Ken Randall, Kentucky '12
2011-12 ASDA vice president  

This content was originally published in the December 2013 issue of Advocacy Brief.

There are two ways to obtain a dental license in the state of Alabama:

  1. Graduate from dental school, pass a qualifying regional licensure exam and apply for a license
  2. Practice dentistry for at least five years (5,000 hours) in another state and apply for an Alabama license

My advice: research the licensure process in your state as early as possible. Collect all of the necessary supplemental materials to submit once you are eligible. Requirements for the licensure application vary depending on if you are applying as a resident of Alabama or if you are applying as a resident of another state. Download the application ahead of time so that you know everything that is required. This also applies to the regional licensure exam; make sure you understand the paperwork and rules of the road before you walk into the exam.

The basics: the requirements for the regional exam are that any exam can be taken as long as there is a periodontal portion on a live patient and an FPD preparation on a manikin. The exam must have also been taken in the past five years. Once your application to the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners has been approved, you will then be allowed to take the jurisprudence exam.

Dental school and National Boards: this is the most straightforward part of the licensure process. Pass all of your exams just as you’ve been doing since you started elementary school.

The regional exam: although I attended the University of Kentucky, I chose to take the Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA) exam because of the specific states that accepted it (including Alabama). This meant that I would have to travel a significant distance to take the exam. While this was not a huge hurdle for the manikin portion of the exam, it added significant financial, logistical and ethical challenges to the patient portion of the exam. If you can avoid traveling, I would strongly recommend it.

The application: for instate applicants, the following information must be submitted as part of your application:

  • Copy of your Alabama driver’s license
  • Copy of your Alabama voter registration
  • 2x2 photograph
  • Copy of current CPR card
  • Documentation of two hours of infectious disease training
  • Proof of completion of Hepatitis B series or titer
  • Official transcript of all predental courses taken
  • Official dental school transcript
  • Official National Board scores for Parts I and II
  • Official scores from your regional dental examination
  • Two testimonials of moral character
  • Application fee

Once your initial application is approved, you will be required to pass the jurisprudence examination.

If you are an out of state applicant, you must apply through both the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners and Professional Background Information Services (PBIS). PBIS charges a separate application fee and requires either a certified birth certificate or a notarized copy of your passport. PBIS will also charge additional fees for obtaining the necessary transcripts as they usually collect them directly from the necessary institution. Be aware that it may take up to three months for PBIS to approve your application and this must be accomplished before the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners will review your application and allow you to take the jurisprudence exam.

To summarize licensure in Alabama:

  1. You must graduate from dental school
  2. You must pass both National Board exams (Part I and II)
  3. You must pass a qualifying regional licensure exam
  4. You must apply for a license from the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners
  5. You must pass the state jurisprudence exam

You can get more information from the official website of the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners.

Find out about licensure in other states by visiting our licensure map.

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