Graduating California dental school students today received the great news that WREB and ADEX manikin-based examinations will be accepted for licensure in the state effective immediately.
CDA confirmed with the Dental Board of California and the Department of Consumer Affairs that although the Office of Professional Examination Services will conduct its formal review of the new exam formats as planned, no further action by the dental board is needed to approve the new exams as a pathway to licensure.
The news impacts over 800 dental school graduates, including students at all six California dental schools as well as graduating dental students across the country, who have been watching for an update as they prepare for licensure examinations to begin serving patients in California. Clinical exams had been canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, creating much uncertainty for students.
“Finally, there is some incredible news!” said Chintan Patel, class of 2020 at the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. “As a graduating student, I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. While this has relieved a lot of stress about the licensing examination, we all can focus now on our next step in the future.”
Johanna Tan, University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry, class of 2020, said that although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused anxiety, fear and sometimes hopelessness, the unprecedented times have also allowed students and members of the profession “to prove their resilience, solidarity and nimbleness to change.”
“It puts me at ease knowing that we never chose the wrong profession to begin with,” Tan said.
Licensure advocacy efforts began in April
CDA staff, in coalition with California dental school deans and dental student delegates, has been advocating since early April for a pathway to timely dental licensure since patient-based licensure examinations had been postponed indefinitely due to the ongoing health crisis.
Once WREB and ADEX announced that manikin-based examination formats could be offered, the coalition began to advocate for graduating students with a passing score on a manikin-based WREB or ADEX exam to be immediately permitted to apply for licensure. As part of that effort, the coalition delivered nearly 300 letters to the dental board, and the board on May 14 unanimously agreed to request that OPES formally review the legal defensibility of the new manikin-based exams.
Effective now, passing scores on the WREB and ADEX exams are accepted and applicants can use those passing scores to apply for initial licensure in California.
“It's been amazing to see how we have come together at the school, student and state level in California to advocate for the future of this profession,” Tan said. “No words can express the amount of gratitude I have for our current leaders who've worked so hard to assure that there's no discontinuity in this field and that the graduating pre-docs have a plan they can look forward to.”
“This is an example and outcome of continuous efforts by organized dentistry,” Patel added.