CODHA Explorer May 2023

License Portability for Dental Hygienists – UPDATE

Several months ago, we published a Q&A about license portability and interstate compacts for licensure. In case you haven’t heard, The Council of State Governments (CSG) is partnering with the Department of Defense (DoD), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) to support the mobility of licensed dentists and dental hygienists through the development of a new interstate compact. This compact will create reciprocity among participant states, and reduce the barriers to license portability.

Occupational licensure compacts already exist for nursing, medicine, physical therapy, EMS, audiology and speech language pathology, occupational therapy, counseling, and advanced practice registered nurses. Other occupational licensure compacts currently under development include school psychologists, teachers, social work, dieticians, and massage therapy. A committee has been working on the dentist and dental hygienist interstate compact for several years and was comprised of representatives from ADA, ADHA, state dental boards, academics, and more. As of today, May 7, 2023, Iowa and Washington have officially passed legislation to join the Dentist and Dental Hygiene Interstate Compact!

Unfortunately, due to the complexity of scope differences from state to state, there were a few sticking points with the committee that took longer than expected to work out. The final draft language was not released until mid January. Colorado, like many other states has deadlines in November and December for early legislation to be submitted. Colorado Dental Hygienists’ Association, with the support of the Colorado Dental Association, secured bill sponsors for the interstate compact legislation, but the bill was not introduced as a late bill. We are optimistic that our bill will get submitted as a prefile bill for the 2024 legislative session and will have bipartisan support. Colorado already participates in 8 of the 9 existing occupational licensure compacts and passed legislation this session to join the compact for teachers.

The Colorado Dental Board already accepts all regional and state clinical exams for dental and dental hygiene licensure, has much lower application fees, and less state specific licensing requirements than other states. Enacting an interstate compact will not make a huge impact on the process to get licensed in Colorado, but WILL have an impact on professionals licensed in Colorado who need to work in (or move to) another state.

For more information on the interstate compact project, visit or read our Q&A from October 2022.