Dental Hygienist Schools in Iowa (Top Programs)

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Dental Hygienist Schools in Iowa

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.

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
  • Pharmacology
  • 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.
School Name Address
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.

Jurisprudence 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.

Salary Information

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
Des Moines $72,330
Cedar Rapids $70,941
Davenport $70,618
Sioux City $62,208
Iowa City $70,357
Waterloo $67,591
Ames $71,658
West Des Moines $72,330
Ankeny $72,330
Council Bluffs $70,689

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Ames, IA90$75,940$36.51$81,500$63,760
Cedar Rapids, IA280$77,540$37.28$83,360$66,300
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL280$73,340$35.26$80,420$58,780
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA540$80,980$38.93$91,740$73,350
Dubuque, IA110$76,870$36.96$82,440$64,510
Iowa City, IA160$76,870$36.96$85,900$64,830
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD130$78,000$37.5$91,280$64,760
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA130$77,200$37.12$88,490$64,750
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Dental Hygienists, OCC Code 29-1292, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

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.

USA Dental Hygiene by State

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