Practical examination no longer a requirement for RDA licensure

After years of low pass rates on the RDA practical examination, a professional analysis that raised questions of exam validity and reliability and a temporary exam suspension, the Dental Board of California decided to permanently eliminate the practical examination as a requirement for RDA licensure.

The board’s decision at its November meeting followed the review and recommendation of a board subcommittee, a process that involved multiple stakeholders, including CDA, as well as guidance from the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Professional Examination.

OPES advised that because dental assistants are under the full authority of the dentist when providing services and dentists are ultimately responsible to ensure the quality of that care, RDAs pose a low risk for public harm. An important element in this decision was retaining the requirement that RDAs pass a written examination that measures clinical knowledge and a law and ethics examination that measures an understanding of professional responsibility.

Effective immediately, California RDA license applicants must successfully pass the written and law and ethics examinations before applying for licensure by the dental board. RDA educational requirements remain unchanged.

More information about the licensure pathways for California RDAs is available on the board’s website.

If you have questions or need additional information regarding this decision, you may contact the dental board.

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