How to Become a Dental Assistant in Iowa

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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Iowa

Dental assistants are very important in every dental practice.

Not only do they meet and great patients, but they help with different day-to-day tasks.

Their duties may vary depending on the state they are located in.

Dental Assistants in Iowa in Numbers

In 2013, there were 2,720 dental assistants in the state of Iowa.

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This is a 1.82 ratio for every 1,000 residents in the state.

In Iowa, the average salary of a dental assistant is about 35,620 USD.

This is a high income in comparison with other states.

How to Become a Dental Assistant in Iowa

The Iowa Dental Board is the sole agency in the state that set up regulations and standards regarding dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dentists.

There are two types recognized by the Iowa Dental Board regarding the position of a dental assistant – dental assistant trainees and registered dental assistants.

Dental assistant trainees have to be registered as such and are allowed to do their training in a dental practice under the direct supervision of a dentist who has been licensed.

Typically, they will perform basic dental assisting duties, as well as more complex ones like radiography.

Registered Dental Assistants (RDA) must be registered with the Board and hold a certificate of registration.

RDAs are allowed to do extra-oral services, again under the direct supervision of a dentist who has been licensed.

Dental Assistant Trainees in Iowa

According to the Iowa Dental Board, Dental Assistant Trainees must obtain a dental assistant trainees’ status.

This is needed if they want to work as such in any dental practice.

To obtain status, individuals have to apply.

When the application is approved candidates are allowed to work as dental assistant trainees.

To apply dental assistants, have to meet the listed below requirements:

  • Fill an application
  • Pay a fee for the application
  • Have a high school diploma
  • Be 17 years of age or older
  • Submit a signed and dated (by the applicant) Statement of Approval
  • Submit signed and dated (by a supervising dentist) Statement of Employer
  • Attach a current photo

When the application for the status of a dental assistant trainee is approved, it will be valid for a year.

RDA (Registered Dental Assistant) in Iowa

To become registered dental assistants, individuals have to be eligible for registration and submit an application.

To be eligible for the registration, dental assistant trainees have to be at least 17 years old.

They also must meet any of the following:

  • Work as a dental assistant trainee in a dental practice for at least 6 months
  • Have 6 months of experience as a dental assistant within the last two years
  • Be a graduate from a program in dental assisting accredited and approved by the Board

If the candidate is eligible, he or she must apply.

To do so, the following steps must be followed:

  • Submit a Registered Dental Assistant Application.
  • Pay a fee for the application
  • Have a proof of Jurisprudence study, approved by the Board (through a dental assisting program accredited by the Board, or an on-the-job training approved by the Board)
  • Pass the Jurisprudence exam (in a recognized by the Board testing site)
  • Have proof of Infection Control/Hazard Waste study (through a dental assisting program accredited by the Board, or an on-the-job training approved by the Board)
  • Pass the of Infection Control/Hazard Materials exam
  • Have a valid CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) certification

After approval of the application, individuals will have a certificate of registration in one of the following:

  • RDA (Registered Dental Assistant)
  • QDA (Qualified/Registered Dental Assistant)
  • XDA (Qualified/Non-registered Dental Assistant)

Expanded Functions Training for RDAs in Iowa

RDAs may pursue additional training in expanded functions.

This will allow them to perform the expanded function they were trained to do and pass an exam in.

Expanded functions may include the following:

  • Application of periodontal dressings
  • Administration and monitoring of nitrous oxide
  • Create and remove provisional restorations
  • Placement and removal of dry socket medications and gingival retraction
  • Placement of desensitizing agents, cavity liners, and bonding systems on teeth
  • Take final impressions
  • Test pulp vitality

The training must be approved by the Iowa Board and accredited by the ADA.

It can be done through an approved and accredited dental assisting program, as well as through on-the-job training administered by a dentist who has been licensed.

Documentation of the training must be held as proof that the training was according to the standards recognized by the Board.

There is an Expanded Functions Course Resource List provided by the Iowa Dental Board.

To go through an expanded functions training, RDAs must meet any of the following:

  • Have at least 2 years of experience as an RDA
  • Have at least 2 years of a dental assisting experience in a state not requiring registration
  • Have a valid certification accredited by the DANB (Dental Assisting National Board)

National Certification Options in Iowa

The DANB offers national certifications after passing their exams.

These certifications are another option for RDAs to become eligible to perform expanded functions.

The DANB offers four national certification options:

  • CDA (Certified Dental Assistant)
  • COA (Certified Orthodontic Assistant)
  • CPFDA (Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant)
  • CRFDA (Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant) Each of the exams has different components that can be taken either together, or separately.

Mind that additional fees may occur if you don’t take them together.

The exams can be done in Pearson VUE centers.

Such centers are located in Coralville, Davenport and Des Moines, in the state of Iowa, as well near the border of the state in Rochester, MN and Omaha, NE.

The ADDA (American Dental Assistants Association) has chapters in every state.

Dental assistants can join the Iowa Dental Assistant Association and will have access to annual sessions, events, educational resources, and networking opportunities.

Registration and Its Specifics in Iowa

The registration will expire every odd-numbered year on the 31st of August.

A renewal application will be mailed two months before the expiration of the current one.

To renew the registration, dental assistants must complete and apply before the 31st of August, pay a fee for the renewal and obtain 20 credit hours of continuing education in the courses listed below:

  • Infection Control – 2 hours
  • Dental Radiography training – 2 hours
  • Abuse Identification and Reporting Training (completed within 6 months of employment, as well as renewed every 5 years.)
  • Have a valid CPR certification

RDAs have to undergo a continuing education approved by the Border to renew their registration.

The Board provides a list of approved sponsors administering continuing education in this field.

These courses have to be related to the listed below, to be approved as continuing education:

  • Attending annual dental conventions
  • Clinical practice
  • Communication
  • HIPAA regulations
  • Iowa Jurisprudence
  • OSHA regulations
  • Record keeping
  • Risk management

Some courses are not approved for continuing education, such as:

  • Business practice
  • Collective bargaining
  • Community service presentations
  • Government regulations (besides OSHA and HIPAA)
  • Insurance
  • Personal development

How Much Does a Dental Assistant Earn in Iowa

Annual Salary Range:
$30K
$33K
$35K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Ames, IA$34,775
Cedar Rapids, IA$34,593
Council Bluffs, IA$34,536
Davenport, IA$34,501
Dubuque, IA$34,218
Des Moines, IA$35,104
Iowa City, IA$34,308
Sioux City, IA$30,392
Waterloo, IA$33,022
West Des Moines, IA$35,104

USA Dental Assisting by State


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