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State Licensure Spotlight: Colorado

Dr. Alex BartonDr. Alex Barton, Virginia '13
2012-13 ASDA vice president

This content was originally published in the January 2014 issue of Advocacy Brief.

Thinking of making your way out west to Colorado?

Along with the required fee ($405), each applicant must have:

  1. Completed the application for a license (can be found here)
    • The application requires you to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, declare any other state dental licenses held, provide documentation of any name changes, and (if applicable) submit a National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) report of any pending or final disciplinary actions. (The NPDB report would not be applicable for new grads applying for a license for the first time.)
  2. Graduated with a DDS or DMD degree from a CODA-accredited dental school
    • Must request and submit an official (sealed) transcript directly from your dental school as proof of graduation
  3. Successfully passed NDBE Parts I and II
    • You can either send a copy of your scores in yourself or have one sent directly from the ADA (You can request the scores from the ADA at 800-621-8099)
  4. Successfully passed any state or regional testing exam including:
    • SRTA, NERB, CITA (All ADEX) (NOTE: The periodontal component of the exam is mandatory for licensure in Colorado)
    • CRDTS (Colorado is a “member” state of CRDTS)
    • WREB
    • Any individual state exam (i.e. Delaware, Virgin Islands)
    • Proof of passing the exam must also come directly from the state or testing agency
  5. Complete and submit the Jurisprudence Exam for Colorado
    • This is a 40 true/false question test that you must get a 70% on to pass. You download the test online and mail your answer sheet in.
  6. Provide proof of malpractice insurance  
  7. Complete an online Healthcare professions profile for the state of Colorado

Contact information: All of the requested information and application requirements listed above should be sent to: Office of Licensing-Dental, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1350, Denver, CO 80202. Any other questions you may have about licensure in Colorado can be directed to DORA (Department of Regulatory Agencies) via e-mail at this site. Once you apply, you can check the status of your application on the DORA website here.

DEA: After obtaining your license, you are eligible to register for your DEA number (Your DEA number is what allows you to write prescriptions). You must have an active and valid license before you apply for a DEA. The application for your DEA number in the state of Colorado can be found here.

Time frame: Licenses are processed through an agency called DORA (Department of Regulatory Agencies). DORA indicates that it takes about 4 weeks to process a license. However, if you are applying for a license in “peak time” (right after dental school graduation in May/June/July), it can take 6-8 weeks. Once you obtain your license, you are eligible to apply for your DEA number, which can take another 2 weeks or so to process. You can practice dentistry without a DEA, however you would not be able to write any prescriptions without a DEA number.

Renewal: You are required to renew your license in the state of Colorado every two years. All dental licenses expire on the last day of February in even-numbered years.

Continuing Education (CE): Colorado is the only state in the country that does not require you to complete any Continuing Education credits each year to maintain your license. However, if you belong to the Colorado Dental Association (which I joined during my residency and would encourage you to join as well!) you are asked to maintain 15 CE credits/year for membership.

Residencies: Residencies in the state of Colorado do not require you to have an active state license in order to attend the residency. If you get into a residency program in the state of Colorado, your program director will walk you through any required documentation for the state. My residency at Denver Health for example, required us to apply for a NPI (National Provider Identification) number prior to beginning the residency. Also, if you are considering working towards your Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry, be sure to keep your AGD membership valid throughout your residency. You will get 150 CE credits/year towards your fellowship during your residency year if you attend an AEGD or GPR, which gets a big part of the CE requirements out of the way!

Advice: It’s been said before, but my advice is to get everything in to the licensing office or ready to submit as soon as possible. You can go ahead and fill out the application for Colorado, take the Jurisprudence exam, send in your NDBE scores, and get your malpractice insurance going before you graduate, and then just send in your final transcripts and clinical board exam results as you get them. It took some of my colleagues a few months after graduation to find an associateship position (some are still looking), so having a valid license and being able to start working ASAP after graduation will give you a definite advantage over someone who doesn’t have their license yet. Colorado is great in that it accepts any regional or state board exam, but just be sure to take the periodontal component of the exam if you are at all interested in moving here. It doesn’t increase the price of the board exam to take the periodontal component, so my advice would be to just go ahead and take it!

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

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