RDA practical exam suspended, licensure will continue

Updated: 8/8/17

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, signed AB 1707 (Low, D-Silicon Valley) into law, which authorizes the Dental Board of California to resume issuing new RDA licenses and to extend the suspension of the RDA practical examination. AB 1707 contains an urgency clause, which makes the legislation effective now, rather than in 2018. CDA is pleased with how quickly this legislation has been passed in order to keep the delay on issuing RDA licenses to a minimum. This is a developing story and will be updated as additional information is released from the dental board regarding the processing of RDA licensure applications.

Updated: 7/19/17

The Dental Board of California met April 6 and accepted a report recommendation from the Office of Professional Examination Services (OPES) to suspend the RDA practical examination. The report cited several areas where the examination did not meet critical psychometric standards including inconsistencies in different test-site locations and poor calibration of examiners. 

Current law only allowed the dental board to suspend the practical examination until July 1, 2017. The dental board is working with the Legislature on Assembly Bill 1707 (Low, D-Silicon Valley) to extend the suspension timeline to July 1, 2020. However, beginning July 1, 2017, and until the bill is signed into law, no new RDA licenses may be issued.

The dental board does not expect this pause on RDA licensure to last long, and will be able to begin issuing licenses once AB 1707 is signed into law to RDAs who meet all other requirements of licensure, including successful completion of the RDA written examination and law and ethics examination. The anticipated timeframe for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the urgency legislation is Sept. 12–Oct.15, 2017.

If an applicant has completed all requirements to apply for RDA licensure and:

  • Has already passed the written and law and ethics examinations, then the applicant will need to wait until urgency legislation is signed by the governor to receive RDA licensure.
  • Has not taken the written or law and ethics examinations, then the applicant can apply to the dental board and stand for the RDA examinations. If the applicant passes the examinations, he or she must wait until urgency legislation is signed by the governor to receive RDA licensure.

The suspension in the practical examination is not intended to impede RDA licensure. Dental assistants who meet the educational qualifications of an RDA should continue to pursue licensure, as the dental board is still accepting applications and administering RDA written and law and ethics examinations. CDA is working with the Legislature to pass this bill as quickly as possible to expedite the processing of RDA licenses.

For questions or comments on the status of RDA licensure, please email Mary McCune, CDA Public Affairs. CDA will keep members informed about the exam suspension and related legislation on cda.org and in the CDA Update.