Dental licensing in 2020: Where are they now? Part 2

As discussed in a blog post earlier this week, 2020 grads faced challenges obtaining their dental licensure until ASDA stepped in to assist with this effort. Elizabeth Stapleton, a 2020 graduate in Virginia, shared, “The original plan for my licensure included a manikin exam with ADEX for prosthodontics and endodontics, and a live-patient exam for restorative and periodontics.”

Dental licensing in 2020: Where are they now?

In March 2020, many dental schools shut classroom and clinic doors. A deadly virus was circulating the globe, known as SARS-CoV-2, or more commonly referred to as COVID-19. With many clinics and testing centers closed, students were prevented from taking licensing exams. Additional barriers stood in the way of students in states that required a live-patient exam, or a live-patient component of the exam, that could not be fulfilled under a state of emergency.

Non-patient-based exams and licensure during the pandemic

This time of the year usually signifies great celebration for graduating dental students across the country. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, graduation ceremonies look a lot different this year with virtual walks across the stage and celebrations at home in quarantine. How graduates will become licensed is different as well, and non-patient-based alternatives are now coming to the forefront.

Taking the licensure exam: A timeline

Each year, more than 6,000 dental students across the United States obtain dental licenses through a patient-based clinical licensure exam. As a dental student, I’ve learned all about what the test will entail: performing two fillings and a cleaning on a live patient, and then preparing a crown, bridge and an anterior root canal on plastic teeth. I’ve also learned about the controversies surrounding the exam.

Licensure reform: How to get started in your state

Navigating the licensure landscape can be tricky. It’s hard to know where to start or who to talk to when attempting reform in your state. ASDA wants to help. This video provides six easy steps to help you achieve reform in your state. The first step is to contact your ASDA district trustee. Watch to learn what the other five steps entail.

The tools you need to find out, reach out, speak out

“I failed my licensure exam because my patient didn’t show up.” “I’m graduating with more than $400,000 in student debt.” “My patient couldn’t afford the treatment they desperately needed.” These are the things dental students say, and it’s likely you will, too, during your dental student career. ASDA’s Advocacy Month aims to bolster the dental student voice by challenging ASDA members to “Find out. Reach out. Speak out” for dental student interests this midterm season and beyond.