Practicing in WA

Washington State Department of Health:

 Call 360-236-4700 or go to, then:

Information on State Comparisons      

Resources you may need:


WA Initial Limited License:

There is no longer a temporary license available in Washington, except for specific exceptions. The Initial Limited License replaced the temporary license. The initial limited license applicant has 18 months to complete the local anesthesia and nitrous credentials. Applicants do not have to meet the restorative requirements, unless you come into the state immediately following graduation from another state. To be successful, an applicant must have graduated from an accredited program; taken the dental hygiene national board exam (acceptable to WREB); have a substantially equivalent scope of practice as Washington; and have completed 560 hours of practice within the past two (2) years.

Once the applicant has fulfilled the anesthesia/nitrous requirements, then DOH will issue the limited license. This is then a renewable initial limited license. This allows you to practice the full scope of practice, minus restorative. However, there is nothing stopping you from getting your restorative credentials, thus receiving a full, unencumbered license.

If you are a new graduate from out-of-state, you will have to meet the same requirements as a graduate from an accredited Washington State dental hygiene program and must take the same exams for a license, including anesthesia and restorative.

Bruce Bronoske is the Health Services Program Manager for the Dental Hygiene Examining Board (DHEC) at the Department of Health. The number is 360-236-4843 and email is for your questions.

Washington State laws regulating dental hygiene are the most up-to-date on-line:

Current RCW language is best obtained from the web sites at:


 New background checks are required for out-of-state license applicants.

 As of January 1, 2009, the Washington State Department of Health will use federal fingerprint-based background checks for out of state applicants for health professions licenses. The state legislature authorized these checks in 2008.