UPDATED: Temporary license would allow new dental, dental hygienist graduates to work with conditions

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Executive Order opens door for temporary licensure for dental, dental hygienist graduates due to testing center closures

NOTE: This communication is an update of an email sent Thursday and now clarifies to include similar impacts to student dental hygienists in addition to new dental graduates.

Dear Colorado Dental Board stakeholders:

Governor Jared Polis issued Executive Order D 2020 038 on April 15, 2020, providing the Director of the Division of Professions and Occupations with rulemaking authority to issue temporary licenses for new dental and dental hygienist graduates eligible for licensure with the exception of the required clinical skills examination. 

Testing centers have experienced forced closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A temporary license will allow new graduates to work under certain conditions on a temporary basis until the testing centers open and the dental graduate sits for the clinical skills examination. 

The demonstration of clinical competency through clinical skills examination and or a one-year residency is the standard across the United States. The indefinite postponement of the dental and dental hygienist clinical examinations administered in Colorado has created consternation for the state’s fourth-year dental and dental hygienist students scheduled to graduate next month. Many students have accepted job offers beginning in June, while others are concerned about their ability to begin repayment of substantial student loans.

Although clinical exams are scheduled to be held in other states in May, the absence of clinical skills examinations for the preceding two months, coupled with the indefinite postponement of Colorado tests and the inevitable shortage of spaces available for the limited number of currently scheduled out-of-state examinations, required alternative options and prompted this emergency action.

The emergency rules will balance the needs of new graduates with public protection. Dental Board Rule 1.3 already contemplates similar temporary licensure while requiring practice under the supervision of a licensed dentist for attainment of continued competency.

The Division is asking that you share this information with impacted dental and dental hygienist students so that they may take advantage of new opportunities created by the Order, which is in place for at least 30 days. For further inquiries or clarification on the emergency suspension of statutes and rules, please email dpo@state.co.us.

Please visit DORA’s COVID update page  for additional information.

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