Upon successful completion of the program, dental hygiene graduates may be eligible to take national, regional, and state board examinations leading to licensure. In most states, licensure results in the credentials RDH – Registered Dental Hygienist.

The American Dental Association (ADA) administers the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination each year. The exam is presented in an electronic format and consists of multiple-choice and case-based multiple-choice questions. For more information, visit the American Dental Association (ADA) website at

The State of North Carolina uses a regional exam, sponsored by the Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA), as the clinical exam. More information is available at

In addition to the national and clinical exams, applicants for licensure in NC must also successfully pass written exams on jurisprudence and on sterilization and infection control. Information on applying for licensure can be located at

Students interested in practicing outside North Carolina should investigate the licensure requirements for the state in which they wish to reside.

Applicants for licensure in North Carolina should note the state dental laws and the State Board of Dental Examiners’ rules, specifically 90-229, which notes that the “North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners shall have the power and authority to refuse to issue a license to practice dental hygiene.” Reasons for denial may include fraud, deceit, misrepresentation; conviction of or entering a guilty plea to any felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; chronic or persistent user of intoxicants, drugs, or narcotics that impair the ability to practice dental hygiene; and mental, emotional or physical unfitness to practice dental hygiene. Applicants should review the full rules for more information; applicants with questions about their eligibility for licensure should contact the State Board.