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State Licensure Spotlight: Florida

Dr. Rebecca WarnkenDr. Becky Warnken, Marquette '13
2012-13 District 7 trustee 

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

Licensure in Florida is a seemingly straightforward process. The requirements for licensure by examination in Florida are as follows:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age
  2. Graduate from a CODA-accredited dental school or its successor agency OR be a dental student in the final year of a program at such an accredited dental school who has completed all the coursework necessary to prepare the student to perform the clinical and diagnostic procedures required to pass the examinations
  3. Successfully complete the following examinations:
    1. Dental National Board Examination Part I and Part II
    2. ADEX Dental Licensing Examination administered in Florida; OR
    3. ADEX Dental Licensing Examination (administered outside of Florida): if completed after Oct. 1, 2011, Florida Laws and Rules Examination Applicants are required to submit the following documents for licensure:
      • National Board Dental Examination scores from ADA
      • Final official transcripts
      • Proof of completion of a minimum two-hour course in the prevention of medical errors within the past two years.
      • If applicable, a certification of licensure from each state in which applicant currently holds or has held a dental or dental hygiene license.
      • Current proof of training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the basic support level, including one – rescuer and two rescuer CPR for adults, children, and infants; the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and the use of ambu-bags.

These requirements exist for every dentist, whether you graduated 10 years ago or this year, meaning that you must take the ADEX exam to apply for licensure in Florida. In some cases, you must retake the exam if you took it elsewhere and did not begin practicing within Florida within 365 days of passing the ADEX exam.

My advice: Prepare, prepare, prepare. In my case, Marquette did not offer the ADEX (or NERB) examination. I had to travel in order to take the examination. This required research, extra applications for permission to take the examination in another facility, and the arrangements for both my patients and myself to be in another state for the examination. These arrangements and applications take time, requiring you to be proactive and prepared. It’s important to start this preparation early. NERB registration opens as early as June, so this is something you should realistically begin looking into as early as spring of your D3 year!

The basics: A complete application for licensure in Florida includes NBDE Part I and Part II scores, completion of all parts of the ADEX exam, final transcripts, a two-hour state approved C.E. course on the prevention of medical errors, and current proof of CPR training. Much of the application is completed online and everything other than your final transcripts can be submitted ahead of time to speed processing upon graduation.

ADEX exam: The North East Regional Board (NERB) administers the ADEX Exam. This exam is offered at both Florida dental schools, in addition to about 28 other dental schools in the United States and Canada. It requires you to complete five parts:

  1. Endodontics (manikin)
  2. Prosthodontics (manikin)
  3. Restorative (live patient)
  4. Periodontics (live patient)
  5. Diagnostic Exam (computer)

My biggest piece of advice for this exam is to read and know the examination manual inside and out. The better you know the manual, the better you will be able to navigate all aspects of the exam without any glitches. Have all X-rays printed and ready. Have back-up lesions, back-up patients and back up x-rays. Screen patients six months (or more) ahead of time, have backups and pick the most predictable cases possible. Do not wait to treat larger lesions or periodontitis if it will compromise the health of the patient. Instead, use these patients as practice in the time leading up to the exam. Practice the manikin portion of the exam several times before the exam day. The more you practice, the less likely you are to face any surprises during the exam. The biggest challenge for most examinees on any aspect of the exam is time. The more you prepare, the more efficient you be, allowing you to complete the exam in the time allotted without making small or costly mistakes. 
The State Board: As soon as you begin your application, send as much information as possible. Send your NBDE Part I and Part II scores, your proof of CPR certification and all personal information immediately. Supplement your application with additional information as you complete items, including your ADEX score report as soon as you pass! Register and take the two-hour online course on the Prevention of Medical Errors. Upon permission from the board, register and take the Florida Laws and Rules exam. Prepare for this by knowing and understanding all of the laws and rules covered in the material given to you upon application for your license. Finally, submit proof of graduation and your final transcripts, and patiently await the arrival of your Florida State License!

To summarize Florida licensure:

  • You must graduate
  • You must pass both National Board Exams (part I and II)
  • You must pass the ADEX (or NERB) Exam
  • You must pass the state Laws and Rules Exam and complete all C.E. requirements
  • You must complete an application for licensure for the state of Florida Dental License

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

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