The first step you need
to take is to contact the state board of dentistry in the state
where you want to be licensed to find out the licensure requirements.
Requirements vary from state to state, especially for graduates
from dental schools outside the United States or Canada. So, you
must know exactly what is required for licensure in the state where
you wish to practice, including information on clinical examination
requirements. This will save a lot of time, money and energy.
The next step will be to contact the American Dental Association
Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (ADA JCNDE) to
get information about the written National Board Dental Examinations.
Sitting for and passing the National Board Dental Examinations
(NBDE) is an important thing you will need to do to begin the process
of becoming licensed in the United States. This examination
is a licensure requirement in all states in the United States
of America. It is also a requirement for admission to a dental education
program if you are accepted into a dental school with advanced standing,
an advanced general dentistry or a specialty education program.
The next point of contact is ECE. To be eligible to take the
NBDE, International Dental Graduates (graduates from dental schools
not accredited by the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation or
the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada) must have their
dental course transcripts verified by Educational Credential Evaluators,
The Joint Commission will process an application to take the
National Board Dental Examinations only after it receives the ECE
Now you need to prepare a list of dental schools where you can
obtain additional education in an accredited dental or advanced
dental education program. Most states require that graduates of
dental schools in other countries obtain additional education in
an accredited dental education program.
Find out from the state board of dentistry what education is
required of foreign dental graduates so you can be sure to meet
its requirements. States vary on the type of education that is required
for licensure. Most states require candidates to complete additional
education in general dentistry while some others will also accept
completion of education in a specialty program.
If you become licensed in a state that accepts specialty education,
and you later choose to move to another state that requires education
in general dentistry, it is possible that you will have to go back
for additional education in general dentistry in order to obtain
a dental license in that state.
You must successfully complete the clinical examination required
in the state where you wish to obtain a license.
All states require successful completion of a clinical examination
to obtain a dental license in addition to the educational requirement
and successful completion of the written National Board Dental Examinations.
Clinical examinations can be administered by an individual state
board or one of four regional examining boards. Most states participate
in one or more regional examinations. Individual states contract
with a regional examining board that will administer the clinical
exam required for those states. The regional testing agencies do
not have the authority to license individuals and should not
be confused with state boards of dentistry.
You need to contact the state board of dentistry in the state
where you wish to practice for information about which examination
The final step is to apply for a license through the state board
of dentistry where licensure is desired. Once you have successfully
completed the written National Dental Board Examinations, met the
educational requirement and successfully completed the appropriate
clinical examination for the state where you wish to practice, the
next step is to apply for licensure.
You must contact the state board of dentistry for an application.
You will then be informed whether there are any additional requirements
specific to that state.
Several states have other requirements for all applicants. Some
common requirements are:
- A pass in the written test on the state Dental Practice Act and
- Be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Proof of having malpractice insurance.
The complete details on all the above procedures and other important
relevant information can be found in 'The Dentist's Guide to Overseas
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