Dental Hygienist Licensing Information

Applications and Forms

More licensing information | Renewal Information

Apply online

The Washington State Department of Health requires that only the applicant or licensee may complete an attestation for an application, or for continuing education. This is a legal attestation. Completion of the attestation by anyone other than the applicant may constitute a reportable felony offense. The Department of Health can take action against people for perjury or for making a false statement they know to be false.

For further information please see:

Washington State law authorizes the Department of Health to obtain fingerprint-based background checks for licensing purposes. This check may be through the Washington State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We may require this if you have lived in another state or if you have a criminal record in Washington State. This would be at your own expense.

You must pay the application fee at the time you apply. You may use a credit or debit card with a VISA or MasterCard logo, or pay by ACH/E-Check. Please make sure your address on the payment information screen matches the address your financial institution has on file for you. This fee is non-refundable. There is a convenience fee to apply online.

If we need additional documentation, we'll notify you by email.

There are additional items you may need, in addition to your application:

If you have questions, contact our Customer Service staff at 360-236-4700.

Getting started

Online Application Instructions

Online application instructions are on our website.

Online applications are accessed through SecureAccess Washington (SAW) security portal. You'll need to add the Department of Health Online Application Portal - Healthcare Enforcement and Licensing Management System (HELMS) Portal service to access the online applications. The first time you add the service, you'll be prompted to answer several questions to verify your identity. The questions will match the name and address you provide with the existing public record information. Because the questions come from public record, you need to provide a complete address and your full legal name as it appears on your driver's license or birth certificate. You may find you have to enter a former address, especially if your address has changed recently (within the past one or two years) to get the right questions that pertain to your identity. If you don't have sufficient information in the public record to verify your identity and aren't currently credentialed by the Department of Health, then you'll need to submit a paper application, as you won't be able to access the Online Application Portal.

Once you have completed the process, and submitted your application, you will receive an email with your pending credential number, or you may look on Provider Credential Search. Refer to this credential number any time you contact Department of Health or submit paperwork.

Apply for the dental assisting national board (DANB)

DANB State Exam Applications

Verification Forms
Other Forms

Fee Schedule

See fee information below

Dental hygienist

Non-Refundable Fee Type Current Fee Amount Fee effective June 1, 2023
Application examination and reexamination $100 $100
Renewal $50 $70
Late renewal penalty $50 $50
Expired license reissue $50 $50
Credentialing application $100 $100
Limited license application $100 $100
Limited license renewal $50 $70
Limited license late renewal penalty $50 $50
Expired limited license reissue $50 $50
Duplicate license $15 $15
Certification of license $25 $25
Education program evaluation $200 $200

Dental hygienist sealant endorsement

Non-Refundable Fee Type Fee Amount
Dental assistant application/endorsement $50
Dental hygiene application/endorsement $50
  • Endorsement fees for dental assistants and dental hygienists, renewal of endorsement not required.
  • Endorsements don't require renewal.
  • Endorsement documents are issued to the qualified applicant, and aren't the property of the employer or the supervisor.

Licensing Requirements

See licensing requirements below


Applicants for dental hygiene credentials must graduate from a dental hygiene program accredited through the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). We must receive an official transcript listing the degree and dates posted directly from the applicant's education program.

Expanded function education

Applicants must complete expanded function education through the applicant's ADA CODA-accredited dental hygiene program or from a secretary of health-approved program. Expanded function education is required in anesthesia, nitrous oxide and restorative.

Dental hygiene national board examination

Applicants must successfully complete the Dental Hygiene National Board Exam. Original scorecards must be sent directly from the National Board.

Clinical examinations

Applicants must successfully complete approved clinical examinations in basic hygiene, anesthesia and restorative. Original scorecards must be sent directly from the testing agency.

Washington state drug and law examination

Applicants must successfully complete the Washington State Drug and Law exam. The department must receive the original letter stating that the applicant has passed the examination.

Work history

Applicants must submit a complete listing of professional education and experience, including college and a complete chronology of practice history from the date of dental hygiene school graduation to present, whether or not engaged in activities related to dental hygiene.

State licensure verification

Applicant must list all states where they do or did hold credentials. This list must also include when the applicant has applied for a credential, even if a credential was not granted. The jurisdiction where the applicant is or was credentialed must complete and submit the verification form. Applicant shall send the verification form to the jurisdiction for completion. The jurisdiction is required to send the completed form directly to the department. All applicants are checked for disciplinary information.

Personal data questions

Each applicant must answer the personal data questions. If there is a positive answer to the professional liability claims history question, the applicant must send an explanation of the nature of the case, data and summary of care given, copies of the original complaint, and the settlement or final disposition. If the case is pending, applicant must indicate status.

Licensure by examination

An applicant seeking licensure in Washington by examination must meet the requirements listed above, and must successfully pass the written and practical examinations consisting of:

  • A written examination. Only the US National Board Dental Hygiene Examination will be accepted;
  • Washington State Drug and Law Jurisprudence Examination; and
  • The following dental hygiene patient evaluation-prophylaxis examinations:

Dental Hygiene Practical Examinations

The patient based clinical examinations from the following exam companies are required.

  • 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 examination 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 (must include both the OSCE/CCSE written and the simulated patient clinical exam.

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

Licensure by credential

An applicant seeking licensure in Washington by credential must meet the requirements listed above and:

  • Be licensed in a qualifying state that is verified by the state board and
  • Be currently in practice (within the past year).

Initial limited license

An applicant seeking an initial limited license in Washington must meet the requirements above and

  • Hold a valid license in another state or Canadian province that allows a substantively equivalent scope of practice.
  • The initial limited license is valid for five years and is renewable. The following is required to renew:
  • Verification of passing scores on an approved dental hygiene patient evaluation-prophylaxis examination.
  • Verification of passing the WREB or CRDTS anesthesia examination;
  • Verification of didactic and clinical competency in the administration of anesthesia and nitrous oxide.
  • Upon renewing, the expiration date will change to the licensee's birth date.

Process for approving/denying applications

We finish final review for approval after a credentialing specialist verifies that the application is fully complete, and complies with requirements in chapter 18.29 RCW and chapter 246-815 WAC. We complete background checks and make sure applicants have submitted required fees. Credentialing supervisors and lead workers have the authority to approve routine applications. The disciplining authority may conduct further review if the credentialing supervisor can't verify the applicant meets all requirements. We'll formally notify applicants of a denial. Those applicants may request a hearing to appeal the decision.

Renewal requirements

Dental hygienists must renew their license annually. Credentials expire on the credential holder's birthday and may be renewed within 90 days of the expiration date. Dental hygienists are required to submit the appropriate renewal fee(s) with each renewal cycle.

Continuing education requirements

Dental hygienists are required to attest to completion of 15 hours of continuing education with each renewal cycle. They must also maintain a current basic life support (BLS) for healthcare provider card as part of this requirement. Refer to WAC 246-815-140, and 246-12(7) for more information. Please keep your address updated to receive courtesy renewal notices.

Avoid an expired license

Don't let your license expire. You must make sure we have your renewal before it expires. Otherwise, you won't be allowed to practice. A timely postmark on your renewal will not prevent an expired license. Renewals sent by mail take about two weeks to process.

Continuing Education (CE)

See CE information below

Dental hygienists are required to complete 15 clock hours of continuing education (CE) annually. WAC 246-815-140 discusses the requirements and acceptable continuing education.

RCW 18.29.060 License Issuance – Display

Upon passing an examination and meeting the requirements as provided in RCW 18.29.060, the secretary of health shall issue to the successful applicant a license as dental hygienist. The license shall be displayed in a conspicuous place in the operation room where such licensee shall practice.

Basic Life Support for the Healthcare Provider

Dental Hygienists are required to keep a current BLS for the Healthcare provider card in order to renew their credential. Please see WAC 246-815-140 for further information.