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Admission Test for Dental Hygiene

The Admission Test for Dental Hygiene (ATDH) is taken before entering dental hygiene school and is:

  • a nationally administered standardized admission test for individuals applying to dental hygiene programs
  • administered to understand the skill levels of the dental hygiene applicants
  • used to assist with admissions decisions

2021 ATDH Candidate Guide

The document below is the official guide to policies for the ATDH. It provides information about application and testing procedures, examination content and scoring.

You are required to read this document before you apply to take the test. At the time of application, you will be required to confirm that you have read this document, understood its contents, and agree to the policies and procedures contained herein.

Changes to ATDH program policies occurring after publication of the ATDH Guide will be announced on this page. Test takers are subject to the policies and procedures currently in effect at the time they test.

2021 ATDH Guide (PDF)

To apply for the ATDH, you must obtain a DENTPIN® and read the official ATDH Guide. 

Additional Resources

Download the ATDH Quick Facts (PDF) to learn more about the test.

Also, you may download Practice Questions (PDF). These practice questions mirror the types of questions and question formats which will be used in the actual test.  

Subject matter experts are needed to write test questions. Consider volunteering to serve on a test construction committee. 

On Demand Webinar Available

For many years, dental hygiene program directors and admission officers have voiced concerns and frustration around the lack of an admission test constructed specifically for dental hygiene. The wait for such an admission tool is nearing an end. The American Dental Association is pleased to announce the imminent arrival of the Admission Test for Dental Hygiene (ATDH), which will be launched and available for administration in Fall 2021. Please join members of the ATDH Steering Committee and the ADA's Department of Testing Services for important information concerning this new and exciting testing program, and how dental hygiene programs can get in on the ground floor.

Paul R. Leary, DMD, Chair, Admission Test for Dental Hygiene Steering Committee
David M. Waldschmidt, Ph.D., Director, Testing Services 

View ATDH Webinar on Demand

Frequently Asked Questions About the Admission Test for Dental Hygiene

  • Why is the American Dental Association Developing the ATDH?
  • When will the ATDH be available?
  • Who will oversee the ATDH during development and deployment?
  • What specific tasks have been assigned to the ATDH Steering Committee?

ATDH Background 

In April 2020, the ADA Board of Trustees approved the formation of the ATDH Steering Committee and the committee members were appointed by the ADA President. The committee will oversee the development, launch, and validation of the ATDH and is represented by:

  • One member from the ADA Board of Trustees to serve as chair
  • Two members from the council on Dental Education and Licensure (one who is the CDEL Admission Committee Chair, and one who is a CDEL member appointed to CDEL by ADEA)
  • One member who is a college/university admission officer; and
  • Four members who are active dental hygiene program directors.

The ATDH Steering Committee held its inaugural meeting in October 2020.

In June 2019, the ADA Board of Trustees adopted a resolution approving the development of the ATDH program as recommended by the ADA’s BIC. 

Also in June 2019, DTS conducted a focus group study with dental hygiene program directors at the American Dental Education Association’s (ADEA) Allied Program Director’s Conference.

As a result of requests by dental hygiene program directors, the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Business Innovation Committee (BIC) requested that the Department of Testing Services (DTS) develop a business plan for a dental hygiene admission test.