(a) The board shall issue a dental hygienist license to an applicant who meets the following requirements:
(1) Is at least 18 years of age;
(2) Is of good moral character;
(3) Is a graduate with a degree in dental hygiene from an approved dental hygiene program of a college, school, or dental department of a university;
(4) Has passed a national board examination as given by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations and passed a board-approved patient-based examination designed to determine the applicant"s level of clinical skills;
(5) Has not been found guilty of cheating, deception, or fraud in the examination or any part of the application;
(6) Has paid the application fee specified by rule; and
(7) Is not an alcohol or drug abuser, as those terms are defined in §27-1A-11 of this code: Provided, That an applicant in an active recovery process, which may, in the discretion of the board, be evidenced by participation in a 12-step program or other similar group or process, may be considered.
(b) A dental hygienist license issued by the board and in good standing on the effective date of the amendments to this section shall for all purposes be considered a dental hygienist license issued under this section: Provided, That a person holding a dental hygienist license shall renew the license.