CDT Certification Exam: Definition, Components and Benefits

The goal of the CDT examination is to measure competency of a predetermined body of knowledge and the skills deemed to represent the successful, professional-level practice of dental technology. To become a CDT, a technician must demonstrate their knowledge and applied skills in their chosen specialty.

CDT Exam Prep Training Session 01 Fundamentals December 22 2015

Prerequisites for taking the CDT certification exam

There are several prerequisites you might need before taking the exam:


Basic eligibility for the exam involves earning a high school diploma. If this is the education you have, you often need a combination of five years of relevant experience or training. Many facilities require an associate degree or higher to start your training. You might pursue these degrees in a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The CODA is the department within the American Dental Association (ADA). Formal education, though not required, can help prepare you with the knowledge you might need in the written and practical exams.


Professional experience in dental technology can vary depending on your path to certification. Here are some requirements for each path:

RG exam

The Registered Graduate exam is a test you can take within a year of graduating from an accredited or non-accredited program. This tests your proficiency and knowledge in the dental technology field and can help you get entry-level experience in the field. This exam contains a written comprehensive exam, a written specialty exam and practical exams. Once you take one of these exams, you have four years to complete the other two components.

Application and fees

Each component of the CDT exam requires a fee and completion of the application. In the application, you include your basic contact information and can submit proof that youve met the educational or experience requirements. Each portion of the exam requires its own fees. For the practical exam, you might have additional costs if you take the exam out of the country for shipping costs of molds and materials. You can submit your application and fees for the CDT exam online or through email.

What is the CDT certification exam?

The Certified Dental Technician exam is the test you take after completing the required course and lab work to become a professional in this field. Offered by the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC), the goal of the exam is to show your proficiency and knowledge of dental technology. Each person who takes this exam chooses a specialty area for their certification:

What does the CDT certification exam include?

There are several key components of the CDT certification exam:

Written exam

The written examination is a computer-based test that aspiring dental technicians can take remotely. There are remote proctors and require several components to complete, like a quiet work environment, a private computer and a mobile monitoring application. The written comprehensive exam covers basic topics like theory and terminology, oral anatomy, health and safety and materials science. The exam is 160 questions and participants have two hours and 45 minutes to complete it.

Written specialty exam

The written specialty exam focuses on your selected specialization, like implants or ceramics. Similar to the written comprehensive exam, you can plan to take this remotely on a private computer with a virtual proctor. Shorter than the other written exam, this one has 80 questions, and you have an hour and a half to complete it. This test also includes a series of field questions they use to gather data on what questions they might include in future examinations.

Practical exam

Practical exams show how you can apply your knowledge with laboratory work and simulations. You can complete these on-site in group testing or remotely with a virtual proctor. You complete this exam within five hours and 15 minutes. NBC sends you the tools you need, like articulators and molds, though they recommend bringing your own equipment. Depending on your specialty, you may need to perform several tasks to show your proficiency. You can send the final materials back to the organization to evaluate for proficiency. With the in-person exam, you submit your materials there once completed for evaluation.

Why take the CDT certification exam?

There are several reasons you might take this exam:

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


How much does CDT certification cost?

Yes, the test is difficult and some of the questions are written in a tricky manner. But doubting your studying abilities will only hurt your test taking abilities.

Is the CSI CDT exam hard?

The computer-based CDT examination lasts two hours and contains 120 multiple-choice questions. Where do I take the exam? The exam is administered at Prometric test centers in the U.S. and Canada.

How long is the CDT exam?

The CDT is a lifetime award; there is no need to renew this certificate. ➤ CSI certifications (CCS, CCCA, and CCPR) require renewal every three years based on continuing education requirements.

Does CDT certification expire?

The CDT is a lifetime award; there is no need to renew this certificate. ➤ CSI certifications (CCS, CCCA, and CCPR) require renewal every three years based on continuing education requirements.

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