New Dentists Guide


New Dentists Guide

Initial Licensure Requirements

Additional Licensure Information:

  • All applicants for licensure must pass the Jurisprudence Examination with a score of 100 percent. For a list of the RCWs and WACs that will be referenced on the exam click here.
  • HIV/AIDS Training amounting to seven hours is required for licensure candidates. For information on how to complete this training, click here.

Foreign Trained Dentists

  • Foreign trained dentists must meet specific education requirements for Washington State. For information on these rules reference WAC 246-817-160.

Maintaining a Dental License

  • Your dental license expires annually on your birthday. Click here for information on license renewal
  • In order to renew a license the department must have current address information on file as they mail out renewal notices as well as updated credentials. As a reminder, state mail (i.e. renewal reminder notices, etc.) are not forwarded. This form can be used to submit a change of address.
  • 21 hours of continuing education are required annually to renew your license. As a membership benefit, the WSDA will track your CDE credits through the WSDA database.  Swipe your WSDA membership card at your local component society, participating study clubs, or at any PNDC lecture & workshop and your CDE will be uploaded to your record.  You may also manually add any additional CDE you have earned where you were unable to swipe your membership card. For CDE FAQ's click here. The WSDA has also compiled a list of CE FAQ's that includes tips on how we help you manage your CE credits.
    • Ways in which you can obtain continuing education hours are:

Other Licenses

  • For dentists who own their own practice filing for a Master Business Application (MBA) is necessary. The state of Washington uses one master business application for the following entities. By filling out the MBA, you are automatically registered for all three:
    • Industrial Insurance: All employees, with few exceptions, must be covered by Workers Compenstaion.
    • State Business and Occupation Tax: The state B&O tax is a gross recepits tax. It is measured on the value of products, gorss proceeds of sale, or gross income of the business. As this tax is calculated on the gross income from activities there are no deducations from the B&O tax for labor, materials, taxes, or other costs of doing business. For more information visit the Washington State Department of Revenue.
    • Unemployment Compensation: If you have one or more employees in your office, you must contribute to the state unemployment compensation fund.
  • DEA License: To write prescriptions doctors are required to register for an individual DEA license. The Office of Diversion Control, operated under the U.S. Department of Justice, handles licensure.
  • Some cities and counties also require additional taxes.

Washington Dental Quality Assurance Commision (DQAC)

  • The mandate of Dental Quality Assurance Commission (DQAC) is to protect the public’s health and safety and to promote the welfare of the state by regulating the competency and quality of professional health care providers under their jurisdiction. Made up of 12 dentists, two expanded function dental auxiliaries and two public members, the Commissions duties include
    • Establishing qualifications for minimal competency to grant or deny credential of dentists, expanded function dental auxiliaries and dental assistants.
    • Regulation the competency and quality of professional health care providers under its jurisdiction by establishing, monitoring, and enforcing qualifications for credentials.
    • Establishing and monitoring compliance with continuing education requirements.
    • Ensuring consistent standards of practice
    • Developing continuing competency mechanisms
    • Assessing, investigating and making recommendations related to complaints against dentists, expanded function dent auxiliaries, and dental assistants which may range from a Notice of Correction to Revocation of credential
    • Serving as reviewing members on disciplinary cases and servce on disciplinary hearing panels
    • Serving as members of standing committees, when appointed
    • Developing rules, policies, and procedures that promote the delivery of quality health care to the residents of the state.
  • For information on how DQAC mitigates complaints, click here
  • DQAC meetings are open to the public and a listing of their future meeting dates, as well as the minutes from past meetings, may be found here
  • For a list of current commission members, click here

Purchasing Insurance

Protect yourself and your assets buy through the many insurance options offered by the Washington Dentists Insurance Agency and NORDIC. WSDA mdentists save 10% on disability premiums. To obtain additional information on any of the products listed below or to receive an insurance quote contact

  • WDIA Products:
    • Disability Insurance
      • Personal
      • Business Overheard
      • Loan Protection
      • Buy-Sell Agreements
    • Life Insurance
      • Term Life
      • Whole Life
    • Medical Insurance
      • Individual
      • Group
      • Medicare Supplements
      • Health Savings Account
    • Long Term Care Insurance
    • CyberSecurity Protection
    • ERISA Pension and Employee Dishonesty Bonds
  • NORDIC Products
    • Professional Liability
    • Business Owners Policy
    • Employer Protection Liability

Associate Opportunities

Approximately 35 percent of dental school seniors are choosing to enter associateship agreements upon graduation. An associate is someone who has no equity position in the practice. Before signing any legal document, review employment contracts with your attorney. The three most common forms of associate agrrangements are:

  • Employee
  • Independent contractor
  • Time sharing/solo group

Sources for locating associateship opportunities include:

Purchasing a Practice

There are many advantages to purchasing an existing practice- elimination of equipment purchase and installation decisions, retention of office phone number, trained staff remaining, desirability of practice location, instant patient base and the reputation of the seller. Review any purchase decisions with your attorney before signing a contract. Issues to be evaluated include current revenue being generated by the practice, financing options, and establishing the value of tangible assets versus physical assets, such as equipment. The ADA has materials available to help you, including the Directory of Dental Placement Services. To request a copy call 800-621-8099.

Sources for locating practices for sale include:

Purchasing a practice is a big undertaking. To help you on your way, we compiled a checklist of essential "to-do's" for opening a practice

Employee Issues

Required Posters in the workplace:

  • State(click here to download the necessary posters)
    • Notice to Employees- Self-Insured Businesses
    • Your Rights as a Worker
    • Job Safety & Health Protection
    • Notice to Employees- If a Job Injury Occurs
  • Federal (click here to download the necessary posters)
    • Federal Minimum Wage
    • Employee Polygraph Protection Act
    • Family and Medical Leave Act (if you have 50 plus employees)
    • Equal Employment Opportunity
    • Your Rights Under USERRA- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
  • Employment Security Department (click here to download the necessary posters)
    • Unemployment Benefits Poster
    • Church and Religious Organizations poster

Employment Manual- To save you time and help you avoid the process of creating an employment handbook from scratch, WSDA has developed a template. This basic employee manual is an important communication tool between you and your employees and can be customized to your liking.

  • Social Security & Withholding Taxes for Employees
    • Federal Social Security and income tax withholding forms may be obtained from the Seattle District Office of the Internal Revenue Service, the nearest IRS office or by calling 800-647-7706.
  • IRS
    • Request an application form. SS-4, to obtain your federal tax identification number. The following materials are needed: Circular E Employers Tax Guide, W-2, W-4, 941 Quarterly Federal Tax Return, and 8109 Tax Deposit Coupons. If you are self-employed, you may be required to make Quarterly Estimated Tax deposits based on your salary. Consult with your accountant on these requirements. Other IRS forms and publications are available here.
  • Employee Verification
    • All employees must complete an I-9. You are prohibited from hiring illegal aliens. You must verify that any new employee is a citizen, or national of the U.S., an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or an alien authorized by the Immigration Service to work in the U.S. Form I-9 will indicated what proofs of eligibility are required.
  • Hiring Minors
    • Washington State child labor law (WAV 296-125-030 Prohibitied and Hazardous Employment) allows minors under the age of 18 to be employed in jobs with potential exposure to infectious agents such as HIVE and HBV only if the employer has obtained a variance from the Department of Labor and Industries. Any dentist who hires minors for dental assisting, equipment clean up or other jobs with potential exposure must have a variance. A variance is not required if minors are employed in jobs with no potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens, such as typing, filing or receptionist duties; however, any employer who hires minor workers for any position must have a minor work permit. For further information or to apply for a minor work permit or variance, call (360) 902-5316.
  • Sexual Harassment

Americans with Disabilities Act

  • Overview: This is a Federal law that regulates how you treat patients and employees who have disabilities. There are guidelines on how you must design your office in order to make it handicapped accessible. Contact the American Dental Association at 800-621-8099 or visit for more information.


  • In Washington State, worker health and safety issues are covered by the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), which is administered by the Department of Labor and Industries. WISHA regulations must be identical or more effective (stringent than, standards set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for further information on WISHA click here

Compliance Checklist

  • The WSDA has designed a compliance checklist to serve as a guide when working to stay in line with all the various regulations affecting dentistry. Information is based on regulations and guidelines as they are applied in Washington State.


Membership in Organized Dentistry

The WSDA is part of a tripartite membership system meaning that membership with the WSDA also serves as your enrollment at the national and local level. Nearly 80 percent of all practitioners in Washington state beong to the WSDA, and the ADA boasts a membership of approximately 70 percent of all dentists in the United States. To receive a membership quote click here or email

Component Societies are the foundation of the WSDA. They play an integral role in implementing state projects at the local level and in representing the dental profession in their communities. Components elect their own officers and are assured representation at the annual House of Delegates meeting. If you're a dental professional thinking about relocating to Washington state, you've come to the right place. We've compiled some demographic information on all 17 component societies that together make up the Washington State Dental Association.

WSDA Membership Benefits and Resources