NBC Launches Remote Practical Testing

Posted on August 10, 2020

The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC) announced that it is piloting a new pathway for its Practical examinations to be taken remotely at a dental laboratory of the candidate's choosing under the constant supervision of a third-party remote proctor.

"You voiced, and we listened!" the NBC says in a release about the change.

Interested candidates will be able to utilize the remote Practical examination testing (RPT) option beginning September 1, 2020. Examinations will be offered in alternating monthly testing windows six times a year, during the months of January, March, May, July, September, and November, running from the first day of the month through the last day of the month. Application deadlines are the 20th of the month prior to the desired testing window. For example, if a candidate wants to take their Practical examination through the remote testing option in November, they must submit a completed application to NBC by October 20.

“The NBC Board of Trustees has been researching remotely proctored practical testing options for some time now,” says NBC Chair Dennis Urban, CDT. “Our goal was to increase accessibility for dental technicians interested in pursuing the CDT examinations, without sacrificing examination quality and security. The COVID-19 global pandemic created the urgency to pursue this option to ensure candidates interested in pursuing their CDT could continue to do so without concerns over their safety.”

Like the written examinations, which switched to computer-based testing (CBT) in early 2018, NBC will partner with the proctoring service MonitorEDU for the Practical examinations. NBC has developed a number of security protocols before, during and after the Practical examinations to protect the integrity of the examination process. For example, NBC will be using a dual camera process, using both the camera on the candidate’s laptop computer and the camera on the candidate’s cell phone. Candidates will be required to be on camera throughout the entire duration of the examination. Candidates will also be provided with specific instructions on packaging their work and shipping it back to NBC for grading.

“This option for the Practical examination is game changing, as it eliminates massive barriers to testing such as travel costs, exam accessibility, reduction of test anxiety, and borrowing and transportation of equipment,” says NBC Vice Chair Mark Stueck, CDT. “It is the final piece to the puzzle of allowing candidates to complete ALL CDT examinations remotely at a location, date and time of their choosing.”

Candidates will be required to have access to the specific dental laboratory materials and equipment necessary to complete the Practical examination work in the specialty of their choosing. Additionally, candidates will need general equipment to utilize the remote testing option for the Practical examinations. 

“Over the last two years, since the launch of our computer-based written examinations, our focus has been on updating our Practical examination to keep pace with the changing market trends,” says Morris Fucarino, CDT, NBC Immediate Past Chair. “We have added the capability for candidates to complete their preliminary work using digital technologies and added more choices for materials. Now, our goal is to focus on how we can deliver these examinations to make them more convenient with the ever-changing world today, while still maintaining the integrity of the process.”

For additional information on the new option to take the Practical examination remotely through a third party proctor, please visit nbccert.org/become-a-cdt or contact NBC by email at certification@nbccert.org or by phone at 800-684-5310.

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