In the United States, the requirements for licensure are set by the state board of dentistry, also known as the board of dental examiners or the licensing board. While requirements vary from state to state, all applicants for dental licensure must meet three basic requirements:
Prospective dentists must graduate from a dental education program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Individuals who possess a dental degree from an institution not accredited by CODA may apply for advanced standing dental education programs. Review the list of CODA-accredited dental education programs.
The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) provides information about applying for these advanced standing education programs for international dental graduates.
Each institution has its own admission criteria, so it is important to contact the educational program you are interested in to request more information.
All U.S. licensing jurisdictions require licensure candidates to pass Part I and Part II of the written National Board Dental Examination (NBDE). NBDE Part I and Part II are being discontinued and replaced by the Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE). The INBDE was developed in response to changes in educational curricula and instructional methods and launched August 1, 2020. Learn more about the INBDE.
States have different clinical examination requirements, so review the Dental Licensure and Continuing Education Map to determine which exam your state requires. Most state boards rely on a regional testing agency to administer these exams, so timing and requirements vary.