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Update on License Portability

In the October 2021 issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene, I wrote about a new initiative that would allow dental hygienists and dentists to practice in more than one state without needing to take a licensure exam for each state.1 The American Dental Hygienists’ Association, American Dental Association, and United States Department of Defense are working together to make this a reality. Spearheaded by the Council of State Governments (CSG), this Mutual Recognition Licensure Compact continues to develop.

On a recent call with interested stakeholders, key individuals involved with developing the compact provided an update. According to the dedicated website that explains the compact: “This compact will create reciprocity among participant states, and reduce the barriers to license portability.”2

Here’s what we know so far (based on the draft proposal, content could change in the final version):

  • An initial draft of the compact has been completed, with public review and comments accepted. Deadline for feedback was September 30, 2022.
  • The compact must be enacted by the state legislature and signed by the governor for that state to participate.
  • The goal is to have the final version of the compact ready for the 2023 legislative sessions in various states.
  • If enacted by state legislatures, dental hygienists and dentists who are licensed in one compact member state will be able to practice in other participating compact states, which is known as “compact privilege.” At least 10 states need to sign on to enact the compact.
  • A dental hygienist or dentist may legally work in another compact state once eligibility is verified. For eligibility details, visit:
  • Practitioners with compact privilege only need to complete continuing education requirements in the state where they hold a license, and not for states where they hold compact privileges.
  • If a state requires a jurisprudence exam, the practitioner will need to complete that exam to practice in that state.
  • Dental assistants and dental therapists are not included in the compact.


As you can see, much has happened this past year and the final version of the compact is underway. The next part of the process involves practitioners in each state rallying to promote the compact at their state legislatures. This step is crucial to success. Once the final version is determined, the CSG will publish educational materials to help you advocate in your state.

There will be barriers to the states passing this legislation. Some states will think their requirements and standards are higher than other states and won’t want to cooperate. Others will have regulatory boards that don’t want to change. Regardless of the challenges, it will be beneficial to not only practitioners but patients to enact the compacts as access to care will improve. It’s past time to be able to practice our profession in any state, without cumbersome requirements to do so.

Keep your eye out for the annual supplement to Dimensions, Perspectives on the Midlevel Practitioner, which will feature more information on this topic.

Jill Rethman, RDH, BA
Editor in Chief
[email protected]


  1. Rethman J. It’s time to imagine license portability. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. 2021;19(10):6.
  2. National Center for Interstate Compacts. Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact. Available at:​compact-updates/​dentistry-and-dental-hygiene. Accessed Sepember 19, 2022.

From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. October 2022; 20(10)7.

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