ADEA State Update

Spotlight on the States: Occupational Licensing Review of Dental Professionals Ramps Up

(State Policy, Dental Health, Licensure, Oral Health) Permanent link   All Posts

LicensureExamThe dental hygiene profession is one of the 34 occupations selected for review in the new National Occupational Licensing Database, which was created by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and The Council of State Governments, with grant support from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The goal of the database is to contribute to the understanding of the variation in occupational licensing burdens across the country, particularly among professions for which these laws may pose unnecessary barriers to employment. 

For dental hygiene, the database includes the following information by state:

  • Level of educational attainment needed to fulfill the licensure requirement.
  • Number of hours/units of training needed to fulfill the licensure requirement.
  • Number of examinations taken to fulfill licensure requirement.
  • Number of years before renewal is required for an occupational license.
  • Number of hours/units of continuing education required to maintain or renew licensure.
  • Maximum dollar amount charged for initial licensure.
  • Maximum dollar amount charged for renewal of licensure.



On Jan. 17, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) submitted written comments in response to a request from State Senator Laura Ebke (LP-NE) on proposed state legislation that would require review of the competitive impact of Nebraska’s licensing regulations and laws, with the goal of procompetitive reform of restrictions on regulated occupations. The comments support the approach described in the proposal, noting that “implementation of the Bill may pose certain challenges, and . . . highlight concerns about any potential expansion of antitrust immunity for licensing boards controlled by active market participants.”

In particular, Nebraska LB 299 would establish a Legislative Office of Occupational Regulations charged with a form of “sunrise” review of “each legislative bill or amendment to a legislative bill which would enact or modify occupational regulations,” the bill states. In addition, LB 299 would provide for a systematic and periodic review of existing occupational regulations, covering regulations pertaining to approximately 20% of regulated occupations each year and those pertaining to all regulated occupations every five years. Among the list of 172 providers listed for review are dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants. The office would report its findings on legislative bills or amendments to the appropriate legislative committee and submit its regulatory reports to the Clerk of the Legislature.



On Dec. 3, 2016, Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) issued an executive order to create the Occupational Licensing Task Force. The Governor ordered the Task Force to conduct a comprehensive review of occupational licensing in Oklahoma and provide recommendations to the Governor for the potential removal of license requirements that do not promote the health and/or safety of Oklahomans and are unreasonable barriers to workers’ entry into the workforce. The Task Force issued the report on Jan. 9, 2018. The Task Force gave several recommendations, including (this list is not exhaustive): 

  • Organizing the oversight and administration of occupational licensing in the state under a single agency.
  • Restructuring existing boards so the composition does not contain a controlling number of market participants.
  • Granting reciprocity for certain licenses or individuals.
  • Allowing for different degrees of licenses when appropriate.
  • Requiring boards to reevaluate their policy and restrictions regarding prohibitions for licensing based on criminal records.

Duggan Dental