Career Compass

Acquiring your dental license

Acquiring your dental license to practice can seem complicated, especially figuring out which exams you need to take. This article details initial licensure requirements and how those impact where dentists can practice. To obtain your initial dental license, there are three basic requirements.

1. Students must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited dental school. Foreign-trained dentists must complete at least two years of academic study to achieve the level of knowledge and clinical proficiency expected of a graduate or they can achieve their license through a residency program in some states.

2. Students must earn a score of 75 or above to pass the National Board Dental Examination.

3. Students must pass a clinical competency test. Requirements vary by state. The clinical test could be a live-patient examination, a manikin-based kinesthetic exam, a postgraduate year residency program (PGY-1), or a comprehensive patient care portfolio.

Finish reading this article in the April 2022 issue of Contour magazine.

Tommy Lau

Tommy Lau, Michigan '24, is a previous District 6 trustee and chapter legislative liaison and professional development chair.

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