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The Future of Licensure

Licensure by Credentials

The ADA supports licensure by credentials. The ADA House of Delegates strongly supports freedom of movement through licensure by credentials. Review the ADA Guidelines for Licensure (PDF) for details. The number of licensing jurisdictions that offer licensure by credentials has increased dramatically in the last decade.

Alternative models to the clinical licensure exam

While the clinical licensure examination continues to be the pathway to licensure for many dental graduates, there are several emerging alternative platforms in discussion.

Post-Graduate Year Residency*

Completion of a residency program at least one year in length (PGY-1) in an accredited postdoctoral program in lieu of the clinical licensure examination as a pathway to licensure in the state.

As of March 2010, the PGY-1 is offered by New York (mandated), Washington, Minnesota, California andConnecticut.

Canadian Examination—Non-Patient Based OSCE

On June 26, 2009, the Minnesota Board of Dentistry voted unanimously to accept the results of Canada's non-patient based two-part exam, known officially as the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). The OSCE is a station-type exam where candidates answer extended match questions based on models, X-rays, casts and case histories. The University of Minnesota's School of Dentistry began administering the OSCE exam to eligible students in 2010. When CRDTs withdrew from ADEX in 2009, the University saw an opportunity to explore licensure examinations. The school worked closely with the Minnesota State Board of Dentistry, which formed a task force to study the feasibility of non-patient based exam options.

To learn more about the OSCE exam, visit the National Dental Examining Board of Canada website at www.ndeb.ca.

For information on licensure in Minnesota, contact the state board of dentistry at www.dentalboard.state.mn.us/ or the Minnesota Dental Association at www.mndental.org.

Hybrid Portfolio

California signed Assembly Bill 1524 to allow a dental school-based portfolio examination process. Once regulations are adopted, students will have the option to take a school-based licensure exam that allows them to build a portfolio of completed clinical experiences and competency exams in seven subject areas over the entire course of their final year of dental school. The portfolio licensure exam process in California replaces the clinical exam administered by the dental board. The Dental Board of California, the California Dental Association and the six California dental schools all supported the measure which is effective January 1, 2011.

The hybrid portfolio model is designed to use the structure for student evaluation that currently exists within the schools to assess minimum competence. The model is considered a performance examination that assesses skills in commonly encountered situations, which includes components of the clinical examination administered by the traditional testing agency. Performance is measured during competency evaluations conducted in the schools by calibrated examiners who are members of the dental school faculty. Thus, the hybrid portfolio examination involves hands-on performance evaluations of clinical skills as evaluated within the candidates' program of dental education.

Learn more about the Hybrid Portfolio model at www.dbc.ca.gov (search: hybrid portfolio).

*Disclaimer: We are providing information here that may not be accurate or complete when you view it; you should not rely on this summary but check with the state licensing authorities to get complete and up-to-date information. Please visit the American Association of Dental Boards for current state licensure requirements and information.