Licensure Information for Dental Students
Licensure is a multifaceted system and can take time to fully understand. The ADA can help.
Dental students educated outside the United States and Canada should take time to review the tips for international dental students.
The information here is an overview that provides a great start; however, we strongly recommend you review the licensure laws and regulations from the individual state board websites for real-time information about which pathways are accepted in the state(s) where licensure is sought. Dental hygiene licensure requirements also differ; consult the state regulations for specific dental hygiene information.
Because the information provided here is subject to change, it is essential to read the licensure requirements as published by the state board of dentistry, prior to taking an examination or applying for licensure.
Download the table below (PDF) for a summary of which pathways are accepted by state dental boards for initial dental licensure:
Pathways Accepted By State
A quick reference to state licensure requirements and laws for dentists is available within the state licensure tables.
Clinical Testing Agencies
The five clinical testing agencies are listed below. Visit each testing agency website for more information about their clinical examinations. Please note: Delaware and New York do not use the services of a clinical testing agency. Find out how to pursue licensure in those areas.
Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA)
Central Regional Dental Testing Services, Inc. (CRDTS)
The Commission for Dental Competency Assessments (formerly the Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners (NERB))
Southern Regional Testing Agency, Inc. (SRTA)
Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)
Two states do not use the services of a clinical testing agency:
- Delaware conducts its own practical clinical examination and requires other post graduate education or practice experience as defined by the Delaware licensure board.
- New York requires a doctoral degree in dentistry, plus completion of a clinically-based postdoctoral general practice or specialty dental residency program, of at least one year's duration, in a hospital or dental facility.