Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is eligible for ADA membership?
- Can I join the ADA directly?
- What membership category is right for me?
- What does “tripartite” mean?
- How much are ADA dues?
- What is the ADA Reduced Dues Program?
- Is membership automatic for new dental school graduates?
- What is the membership year?
- Can I get pro-rated dues if I join mid-year?
- How will I renew my membership?
- I’m relocating—does my membership move with me?
- When I am eligible for retired membership?
- What is life membership?
- I let my membership lapse! What should I do?
- Can I pay “back dues”?
- How can I get more information?
Dentists in the U.S. and abroad, U.S. dental students and non-dentists who work in the field of dental education or research can be eligible for ADA membership.
Almost all U.S. dentists are tripartite members (at the local, state, and national levels), and join the ADA through their state dental society. Dental students join the ADA through the American Student Dental Association. Only federally employed dentists, graduate students, international dentists, nonpracticing dentists, licensed dentists ineligible for tripartite membership, non-dentists who work in the field of dental education or research, and recent dental school graduates who have not yet established a place of practice can join the ADA directly.
An explanation of membership categories and applications is available on ADA.org—just review the descriptions.
The word “tripartite” is defined as “composed of three parts.” The three parts of ADA membership—through your local dental society, state dental society, and American Dental Association—complement each other. Each level offers valuable benefits and resources to members.
In 2010, full dues for an ADA member remained at $498. Recent dental school graduates and retired members pay a reduced rate. ADA dues at the national level are set each fall by the ADA House of Delegates. Local and state dental society dues vary by location.
The ADA Reduced Dues Program allows recent graduates to become members with graduated payments. The first full calendar year following dental school graduation, the national dues rate is $0; in the second year, it is 25 percent of full dues/assessment; in the third year, 50 percent; in the fourth year, 75 percent, and in the fifth year and thereafter, it is 100 percent. Recent graduates who enter into a graduate program within the five years following dental school graduation pay the graduate student rate of $30/year during the program, and are eligible to either begin or resume the Reduced Dues Program schedule upon completion. Most state and local dental societies offer similar reductions, and the program requires continuous membership from dental school graduation.
No. To make a smooth transition to active membership following dental school graduation, it is important to apply in the appropriate membership type. Although ASDA/ADA student membership continues through December 31 following dental school graduation, new graduates are encouraged to apply for membership by October 1 for the following membership year.
The ADA membership year runs from January 1 to December 31.
If you are accepted into membership after July 1, you may be eligible for 50 percent dues and if you join the ADA after October 1 you may be eligible for $0 dues. As long as you were not a member the previous year.
Tripartite members are invoiced for their dues at the local, state, and national level, usually by the state dental society. Many state societies offer installment payment programs and/or accept credit card payments. Direct ADA members will be invoiced by the American Dental Association, and may choose to pay their dues online. The online renewal service becomes available each year about December 1.
You will need to transfer your membership to your new location – please let both your original local and state societies know of your move, and then contact the local and state dental society at your new location. Your ADA membership will continue, but in order to keep your publications and other member communications coming your way, please contact the ADA at 312-440-2500 or by e-mail at email@example.com to update your address, telephone, and e-mail contact information. You may also update your ADA Membership Profile online.
ADA members who retire from the practice of dentistry and do not move into another dental occupation become eligible for retired membership the year following retirement. An affidavit of retirement should be submitted to your state dental society (or to the ADA, if you are a direct member). Retired members pay 25 percent of full dues/assessment.
Dentists who are 65 years of age or older and who have accrued 30 years of continuous membership (or 40 total years if the membership years are discontinuous) are eligible for life membership. Dentists who achieve life membership while still practicing (active life members) pay 50 percent of full dues/assessment. Dentists who are retired life members pay $0 at the ADA level.
In most cases, reinstating your membership is easy—just contact your state dental society or, if you are a direct ADA member, the American Dental Association staff. Even if much of the year is over, it is usually wise to pay the dues for that year, instead of waiting to reinstate your membership effective January 1. Many ADA benefits (such as insurance) require current membership, the Reduced Dues Program requires continuous membership, and a lapse in membership negatively affects your eligibility for life membership.
ADA Bylaws allow you to pay the dues you missed for up to three years—but they have to be the three years immediately preceding the current membership year. If you missed a year 10 years ago, it is too late to pay the dues you missed. Call the ADA Department of Membership at 312-440-2607 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about tripartite membership or information about your tripartite dues, contact your state dental society.
For questions about FDS membership or your FDS member dues, contact the FDS Membership Office at 800-232-2083 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
For questions about Graduate Student, Provisional or Affiliate or other direct membership categories or related dues, contact the ADA Department of Membership Information at 312-440-2607 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about predoctoral student membership, contact the American Student Dental Association at 312-440-2795 or online at www.asdanet.org.