Those who want to become dental hygienists in Iowa need to follow the rules and regulations set by the Iowa Dental Board and also obtain the license it issues.
To become licensed, individuals need to attend a training program that lasts at least 2 years and then passes a series of exams.
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Dental Hygienist Programs
The minimum requirement for training duration is 2 years and these programs award an Associates’s degree.
Bachelors and Masters’ degrees are also accepted, but these last for longer.
No matter the chosen program, it has to be accredited by CODA.
Regardless of the degree, these classes will teach subjects like:
- Introduction to Organic/Biochemistry
- Principles of Dental hygiene
- Dental Hygiene
- Clinical Dental Hygiene
- Dental Materials
- Community Oral Health
- Oral Histology and Embryology
- Dental Hygiene Anatomical Sciences
- Oral Radiology
- Oral Pathology
In Iowa, the following procedures are very important:
- Educational Procedures
- analyzing, planning, implementing and exploring oral health education programs
- Therapeutic Procedures
- detecting and removing calculus and plaque,
- conducting periodontal scaling,
- root planning,
- removing and polishing hardened restorative material,
- administration of anesthesia and/or nitrous oxide,
- application or administration of drugs.
- Preventative Procedures
- applying pit and fissure sealants and other medications for periodontal control,
- organizing and administrating fluoride and sealant.
- Diagnostic Procedures
- reviewing medical and dental health history,
- conducting an oral examination,
- testing pulp vitality,
- creating registrations for mounting casts.
|Des Moines Area Community College||2006 Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, Iowa 50023-3993|
|Hawkeye Community College||1501 E Orange Rd, Waterloo, Iowa 50701|
|Kirkwood Community College||6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-2068|
|Western Iowa Tech Community College||4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, Iowa 51102-5199|
Passing the Exams
In Iowa, license candidates have to take and pass 3 exams as seen below.
National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE)
The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations offers the NBDHE, organized at Pearson Vue testing centers.
To take this exam, candidates have to:
- Read the NBDHE guide and agree to it
- Register for DENTPIN
- Apply for the exam
- Schedule the exam
Only candidates that are accepted for the exam will receive by mail more details.
Clinical Dental Hygiene Exam
The Board in Iowa recognizes more regional exams, however, there are certain criteria that must be met.
The exam offered by the Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. (CRDTS) must have been passed in the 5 years before applying for the license.
The exam offered by the Western Region Examining Board (WREB) will only be accepted if it was passed before September 1, 2011.
In Iowa, the Central Regional Dental Testing Services (CRDTS) is offered.
This exam can be taken by those who will complete their CODA-accredited training within 60 days of the exam date.
This exam tests the candidate’s ability to perform:
- extra/intraoral assessments,
- periodontal probing,
- scaling and subgingival calculus removal,
- supragingival deposit removal.
To apply for the exam, candidates have to submit the online application and pay the exam fee of $950.
The fee must be paid by cashier’s check or money order with the ID number of 10 digits in the lower, left-hand corner.
The application has to contain the top 3 locations where the candidate prefers to take the exam.
After the application for the license is submitted, the Board will send more information related to the jurisprudence exam and a list of testing sites for it.
This exam is a multiple-choice and true/false exam, focusing on Iowa’s dental laws and regulations, and more specifically, on the Iowa Code chapters 147, 153, 272C, and 650 that can be found online.
Submitting an Application
There are 2 ways to obtain the dental hygienist license in Iowa:
- Through examination
- Through endorsement or credentials
Licensure Through Examination
Those who want to apply for licensure through examination must submit an application, fees, and other documents required by the board.
The fee is $146.
These documents include:
- Proof of name legally changed
- Affidavit of application (included in the application)
- Recent photo
- Authorization to release information (enclosed in application)
- A letter to the Board
- Diploma earned through the training course
- NBDHE score
- The score from the clinical exam
- CPR certification
- Copy of results of National Practitioner Data Banks (NPDB) or Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB) self-query
Those who never had a license don’t need the last document.
Licensure Through Credentials
Those who want the licensure through credentials must submit all the documents from above, as well as the following ones:
- A reference letter from each practice employment location had in the past 3 years
- License certification
The license certificate must be from all the states a candidate obtained one.
The fee to obtain the license through this method is $246.
In Iowa, the average salary of a dental hygienist is lower than the national average.
More experienced and a higher degree can change that for a practitioner.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
|West Des Moines||$72,330|
Maintaining the License
The dental hygienist license expires on August 31st of every odd-numbered year.
The Board will send a reminder with about 60 days before that date.
To renew the license, individuals must complete the following:
- Complete the renewal application form
- Have a CPR certification
- Pay the renewal fee – $150
- Continuing their education -30 hours
The proof of completed continued education should be kept for about 4 years.
The following credits are mandatory:
- CPR Certification – up to 3 hours
- Abuse identification and reporting training – may be claimed within 6 months of employment and then, every 5 years
- Sedation – 6 hours, for those who have deep sedation, general anesthesia or conscious sedation permit
Other topics will be accepted as long as they directly relate to dental hygiene practice.