Dental Hygienist Schools in South Dakota (Top Programs)

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Dental Hygienist Schools in South Dakota

Those who consider becoming a dental hygienist in South Dakota need to first meet the educational requirement, then pass an exam, and then obtain a license from the South Dakota State Board of Dentistry.

Meeting the Educational Requirement

The Board recognized only education that was completed at a CODA-accredited dental hygiene school.

Individuals need to graduate with a minimum of an associates’ degree, although there are many students choosing a Bachelors’s degree instead.

The courses offered at these schools include:

  • Medical and dental emergencies
  • Dental embryology
  • Nutrition
  • Periodontics
  • Ethics and jurisprudence
  • Clinical skill development
  • Principles of radiography
  • Histology and oral pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Nitrous oxide sedation
  • Dental materials
  • Oral local anesthetic
  • Dental health and community education
  • Dental hygienist practicum

All the training programs also have an internship component, for hands-on experience in the field of dental hygiene.

To be accepted at these schools, interested individuals need to first obtain a CPR certificate which they need to maintain throughout their career.

School Name Address
University of South Dakota 414 E Clark St, Vermillion, South Dakota 57069-2390

These schools also offer special classes for those who wish to have extra qualifications.

These qualifications are:

  • Administration of nitrous oxide
  • Administration of local anesthesia
  • Monitoring of patients under deep-to-moderate sedation or general anesthesia

Passing the Exams

There are 2 exams that candidates need to pass before being granted the license.

National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE)

The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) offers this exam with national recognition.

This exam has 350 questions that cover topics such as:

  • The scientific basis for dental hygiene practice
  • Community research and health principles
  • Provision of clinical dental hygiene services
  • Professional responsibility
  • Assessment of patient characteristics
  • Supportive treatment service
  • Interpreting and obtaining radiographs
  • Use of preventive agents
  • Managing and planning dental hygiene care
  • Performance of periodontal procedures

The exam fee for the NBDHE is $400.

Clinical Exam

In South Dakota, the Board demands future dental hygienists to pass a clinical exam before they receive their licenses.

The exams from the following agencies are recognized:

  • Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS)
  • Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)

Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)

This test is administered on a computer and simulates a clinical setting and problem.

The questions will cover:

  • Intra/extraoral assessment – 10%
  • Periodontal assessment – 25%
  • Outcome assessment and planning/evaluation – 35%
  • Risk and general health assessment – 20%
  • Periodontal disease classification – 10%

Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS)

This exam is similar to the one offered by WREB.

Candidates are tested on their knowledge and skill relating to:

  • Intra/extraoral assessment – 16%
  • Supra-gingival deposit removal – 12%
  • Sub-gingival/scaling calculus removal – 60%
  • Periodontal probing – 12%

South Dakota Jurisprudence Exam

Candidates can complete this open-book exam one they’re ready to apply for the license.

Applying for the License

Everyone who passed the above exams can fill out the applications for a dental hygiene license.

The application has to be accompanied by the following papers:

  • Exam results from the respective agencies
  • Official school transcripts
  • Proof of CPR certification
  • Application fee

Those who obtained their licenses in a different state will fill out a different application form and will need to provide verification for their license as well.

Those who need permits to perform extra duties will have to also provide proof:

  • Of completed appropriate training
  • Of passing appropriate exams

These permits are issued at the same time with the license.

The website of the board has all the application forms, more information related to the process, including the fees needed to be paid.


How much a dental hygienist in South Dakota earns, depends on a series of factors, including experience and other qualifications.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Sioux Falls $65,643
Rapid City $65,006
Aberdeen $61,044
Brookings $64,519
Watertown $64,519
Mitchell $64,519
Yankton $63,081
Pierre $62,167
Huron $62,781
Spearfish $63,883

Regional Salary in South Dakota

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Rapid City, SD110$74,760$35.94$82,170$63,350
Sioux Falls, SD180$76,700$36.87$84,440$70,660
* 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

In South Dakota, dental hygienist licenses expire every year on the 1st of July.

License renewal is done after completing a set number of continuing education hours, based on a cycle of 5 years.

Each cycle, these professionals must accumulate 75 hours of continuing education, with at least 5 hours related to radiology.

The Board in South Dakota accepts a variety of ways in which professionals can accumulate these hours, but there are some limitations.

The limits are as follows:

  • University-based continuing education – no limit
  • Home study – a maximum of 30 hours per cycle
  • CPR – a maximum of 15 hours per cycle
  • Practice management – a maximum of 10 hours per cycle
  • Nutrition –a maximum of 15 hours per cycle
  • Clinical – no limit
  • Radiography – at least 5 hours
  • State, regional, or national meetings/conventions – a maximum of 25 hours per cycle
  • Clinical volunteer service – a maximum of 30 hours per cycle
  • Class instruction – a maximum of 36 hours per cycle

Dental hygienists must also maintain a current CPR certification through the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.

The volunteer service has to be completed at approved organizations.

The South Dakota Dental Hygienists’ Association (SDDHA) can offer more information related to continuing education and employment opportunities.

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