Dental Hygiene Licensure

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 ADA website.

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 the CITA website.


Wake Tech academic programs (credit and non-credit) that are designed to lead to professional licenses are either tied to North Carolina or national certifications.

If you intend to pursue professional licenses outside North Carolina once you have completed your academic program at Wake Tech, please refer to the Professional Licensure Section on the college's distance education authorization page for additional information.

North Carolina Dental Hygiene licenses

Information on applying for licensure can be found on the State Board of Dental Examiners website. Applicants for licensure in North Carolina must also successfully pass written exams on jurisprudence and on sterilization and infection control that are open-book exams taken online.

Good moral character: 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.

Citizenship: In addition, current federal laws do not allow individuals in the country illegally to obtain a professional license, to include a dental hygiene license in North Carolina. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or possess resident alien status, to be eligible for licensure at this time.

Applicants should review the full rules for licensure for more information. Applicants with questions about their eligibility for licensure should contact the State Dental Board.

Out-of-state Dental Hygiene licenses

Graduates interested in practicing outside North Carolina should investigate the licensing requirements for the state in which they wish to reside. Most states post online information on state board of dentistry websites or on professional licensing websites. An online search in the state you wish to work will guide you in the right direction.