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Qualifying Exam

    The ABDPH administers the Qualifying Exam annually.  Administered via the ExamSoft platform, candidates take the exam virtually.  Applications are due December 1 of the year prior to the Qualifying Exam (for example, the deadline for the 2025 Exam is December 1, 2024).  The application will be available beginning September 1.  The 2025 Exam will be administered virtually in the Spring with the exact date TBD.  There will be an Exam Orientation prior to the Exam.  The Orientation date will be announced in December. 

    Candidates may elect to take the Qualifying Exam near the end of their advanced Dental Public Health preparation program, if at least 75% of the preparation program has been completed.

    Following application, candidates will be notified of their eligibility to take the Qualifying Exam no later than February 1 of the year of the examination.  Any candidate deemed ineligible will have up to three (3) years to satisfy outstanding requirements without incurring additional fees.  There will be an exam orientation scheduled approximately two (2) weeks prior to the Exam. 

    Please note: Windows and Mac both just released new operating systems.  ExamSoft has notified us that candidates should refrain from updating their operating system to Windows 11 23H2 or macOS 14 as users with these updates may experience technical issues that prevent them from installing or successfully completing exams. 

    The candidate must achieve a weighted score of at least 70% to pass the Qualifying Examination and be permitted to apply for Board eligibility and challenge the Certification Examination.  A candidate who fails the Qualifying Examination may retake it up to three times, with payment of $450 for each attempt. If you are retaking the exam, please contact the Executive Director at prior to registering. These examinations can only be taken as part of the regularly scheduled ABDPH examination cycle. All candidates will be notified whether they passed or failed the Qualifying Examination within two weeks of the examination.

    The Qualifying Exam must be successfully completed before the candidate can apply to challenge the Certifying Exam.  Once a candidate successfully completes the Qualifying Exam, they have five (5) years to successfully complete the Certifying Exam.  Candidates who do not apply for the Certification Examination within five years must retake the Qualifying Examination.

    • Before completing the online application, please have the following available for upload:

        • A current headshot photo
        • Current Curriculum Vitae
        • Evidence of Graduation from a School of Dentistry
        • Evidence of Masters of Public Health Degree (MPH) or Equivalent from an U.S. accredited college or university (Canadian graduate degrees may be acceptable)
        • Certificate of Residency or Equivalent (for candidates who have completed their educational requirements at the time of application)
        • Signed Document from Dental Public Health Program Director (for candidates close to completing their educational requirements at the time of application).  Please refer to the Candidate's Guide for details regarding the information that should be included in this letter.
        For a Printable Version of this checklist, click here.

    The fee to apply for the Qualifying Exam is $700.  This fee will be collected when your application is submitted.  If you prefer to pay via check rather than by credit card, please contact the Executive Director at

    Please refer to the Candidate's Guide for additional details about the Examination Process.

      Dental Public Health (DPH) is one of the dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA). The American Board of Dental Public Health (ABDPH) is the certifying board for dental public health specialists.

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      State College, PA 16803-2319

      Phone: 570-478-1225

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