Hiring a Dental Therapist or Advanced Dental Therapist

Enhancing Your Oral Health Care Team


In Minnesota, there are two dental therapy education programs approved by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry. Both are rigorous programs at publicly funded institutions, and offer many opportunities for outreach experiences with underserved populations.

A partnership between Metropolitan State University in St Paul, MN and Normandale Community College, located in Bloomington, MN awards a Master of Science in Advanced Dental Therapy. Only Minnesota licensed dental hygienists who have earned a BS or a BA degree, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0, and other perfunctory requirements may gain admission to this program. The advanced dental therapy program spans 24 months. Students are taught by dentists and educated to the level of a dentist within their scope of practice.

The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry educates to the advanced dental therapy standards. To apply to the dental therapy program, applicants must have completed a BS or a BA degree and completed specific prerequisite courses. The program does not restrict admission to holders of a dental hygiene license. This dental therapy program spans 28 months. Students learn alongside dental and dental hygiene students in the classroom and within the school's dental clinics, as well as complete the same clinical competencies as dental students for the dental therapist scope of practice.

Details for each program

  • Metropolitan State University College of Nursing and Health Sciences
    Master of Science in Advanced Dental Therapy (MSADT)
  • University of Minnesota School of Dentistry
    Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene/Master of Dental Therapy
  • Licensure requirements

    Dental Therapist

    To become licensed as a dental therapist, one must:

    • Graduate from a DT educational program that has been approved by the Board of Dentistry
    • Pass a comprehensive, competency-based clinical examination (CRDTS)
    • Pass an examination on MN laws relating to the practice of Dentistry

    Dental therapist licensure application

    Advanced Dental Therapists

    Requirements to earn an Advanced Dental Therapy certificate granted by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry are identical for both programs. The licensed dental therapist must:

    • Earn 2000 hours of additional, hands-on experience
    • Submit 3-5 patient records
    • Successfully complete a computer-based (“OSCE-type”) examination
    • Be interviewed by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry Licensure and Credentials Committee.

    Advanced dental therapist certification requirements

    Advanced dental therapist certification application

    Dual licensure

    Graduates of dental therapy who are also licensed dental hygienists may become dual-licensed in both dental hygiene and dental therapy upon completion of their coursework and all necessary applications, fees, and clinical and written examinations. In some practice settings this can be seen as an advantage to employment as it gives the therapist and the employing dentist some added flexibility in patient scheduling.