Frequently Asked Questions - Dental Hygienist Licensing
- I'm licensed in a Canadian province. Do I qualify for an initial limited dental hygiene license?
Senate Bill (SB) 5606, passed during the 2015 legislative session, amended the law relating to dental hygienists and is effective July 24, 2015. The law now allows for the issuance of an initial limited dental hygiene license to an applicant who holds a valid license in a Canadian province that has a substantively equivalent scope of practice. The Canadian licensed dental hygienist must be currently engaged in active practice. Active practice means 560 hours of practice in the preceding 24 months.
Canadian provinces will be reviewed for acceptance as applications are received. Currently we have reviewed and accepted British Columbia and Ontario.
The Canadian National Dental Hygiene Certification Exam (NDHCE) is not accepted for licensure in Washington state. All applicants will need to complete the ADA - National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE).
- I'm licensed in another state. Is there reciprocity?
We don't have reciprocity with any other state. There is licensure by endorsement. Refer to RCW 18.29.045 and WAC 246-815-100.
- Where do I find accredited dental hygiene schools in the state of Washington?
Accredited dental hygiene schools in the state of Washington are on the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) website.
- Where may I get the training I need to pass the required parts of the regional exams for which I may not have prepared for in my previous state?
Listed below are the expanded function education courses the Department of Health has approved if restorative, anesthesia and nitrous oxide weren't a part of your ADA CODA accredited dental hygiene curriculum.
Eastern Washington University
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
Contact the Dental Hygiene Department: Beth Davis at 425-739-8386 or Monta Frost, director, at 425-739-8404
(Anesthetic and Nitrous Oxide)
Oregon Health & Science University
Contact Debbie Reaume, Continuing Education Program at 503-494-8857
Contact Nan Reif, director, Center for Health Professions at 602-285-7331
(Anesthetic and Nitrous Oxide)
Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom
Contact phone: 253-840-8452
Contact email email@example.com
(Anesthetic, Nitrous Oxide and Restorative)
Portland Community College
Contact Stacy Bone at 971-722-6627
- How do I get an endorsement for sealant and fluoride varnish programs?
The authorized practices and training requirements are listed in Chapter 246-814 WAC. The Dental Hygiene Sealant/Fluoride Varnish Endorsement Application Packet (PDF) for sealant and fluoride varnish is on our website.
- What education and training requirements does an out-of-state dental hygienist have to meet regarding anesthesia?
Out-of-state dental hygienists may apply for either a full dental hygiene license or a limited dental hygiene license.
The full dental hygiene license requires that the out-of-state hygienists must have received education and training in restorative, anesthesia and nitrous oxide in their American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited dental hygiene program curriculum. They must also have passed either the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) or Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS) examinations in: clinical dental hygiene, restorative and local anesthesia. A copy of the full dental hygiene license application packet (PDF) is online.
Out-of-state hygienists who apply for and are issued an Initial limited license may practice for 18 months. During this time, they must obtain the required anesthesia and nitrous oxide education and training, and pass the WREB or CRDTS local anesthesia exam. This hygienist must also have passed an approved clinical dental hygiene exam. If anesthesia education and training were part of the applicant's ADA CODA-accredited dental hygiene curriculum, the applicant won't be required to take additional training. If anesthesia wasn't a part of the applicant's ADA CODA-accredited curriculum, the applicant will be required to take and complete a secretary of health-approved expanded function anesthesia course. The initial limited dental hygiene license application packet (PDF) is online.
- Which examinations are approved in the state of Washington?
Dental Hygiene Practical Examinations
The patient based clinical examinations from the following exam companies have been approved for licensure.
- Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) Dental Hygiene Examination if passed after May 8, 1992.
- Central Regional Dental Testing Services (CRDTS) Dental Hygiene Examination if passed after November 1, 2001.
- Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) [Formerly NERB] Dental Hygiene Examination if passed between January 1, 2000 and August 21, 2009, or if passed after March 16, 2018.
Council of Interstate Testing Agencies, Inc. if passed after July 23, 2021.
The manikin/simulated clinical examinations from the following exam companies have been approved for licensure.
- Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) Dental Hygiene Manikin-Based Clinical Examination if passed after October 8, 2021.
- Central Regional Dental Testing Services (CRDTS) Dental Hygiene Simulated Patient Examination if passed after October 8, 2021.
- Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) Simulated Dental Hygiene Examination if passed after October 8, 2021.
Dental Hygiene Expanded Functions Examinations
- WREB Anesthesia Exam if passed after May 8, 1992
- WREB Restorative Exam if passed after May 8, 1992
- CRDTS Anesthesia Exam if passed after October 13, 2017
- CRDTS Restorative Exam if passed after March 7, 2016