Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Iowa

Living in the state of Iowa comes with many opportunities, one of which is the option to become a dental hygienist. For Iowans who enjoy working with their hands, enjoy science courses and want to pursue a rewarding career in the dental health field, dental hygiene may be the ideal choice. Demand for the dental hygienists is on the rise across the country, and in 2017 they made a median annual income of $74,070, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With a strong income and job outlook like that, what does it take to become a dental hygienist in Iowa?

Find out about becoming a dental assistant in Iowa here.

Requirements

In order to grant licensure, the Iowa Dental Board requires all dental hygienists to complete a program of study accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). This is usually two-year associate’s degree program. Graduates must then complete a regional clinical exam as well as an Iowa jurisprudence exam covering Iowa law.

Training and Educational Programs in Iowa

Iowa’s abundance of community and technical colleges offer options to satisfy the Iowa Dental Board’s requirement of ADA-CODA accreditation, and students can easily find associate degree programs, such as these:

  • Eastern Iowa Community Colleges. Students can take classes at the Clinton, Muscatine or Scott campuses of this school, which partners with Carl Sandburg College in Galesberg, Illinois, to offer an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene. Once students reach upper-level dental hygiene courses, they must take them on the Carl Sandburg campus. There are no specific prerequisites listed for this program of study.
  • Iowa Central Community College. At this school’s main campus in Fort Dodge, students can earn a CODA-accredited associate’s degree. The program is competitiveprerequisites to be considered for this dental hygiene program include a GPA of at least 2.5; a satisfactory assessment score from ALEKS 20, Compass or ACT tests; completion of prerequisite classes including Human Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, Chemistry and intro to Biochemistry; and a clean background check.

Licensure for Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Iowa

After you’ve completed training, you must pass an Iowa Dental Hygiene exam approved by the Iowa Dental Board, such as one of the following:

  • Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. exam, administered by the Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. (CRDTS)
  • The Western Regional Examining Board, Inc. (WREB) exam
  • The Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA) exam
  • The American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) exam, accredited by the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) and the Council of Interstate Testing Agencies, Inc. (CITA)

After that, you must pass the Iowa jurisprudence exam, and then you’re ready to be a licensed dental hygienist.

Popular Programs

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The job outlook for dental hygienists in Iowa is looking positive according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2017 report. That year, 2,320 dental hygienists were employed in Iowa, with a strong mean income of $33.03 per hour. While the career is on the rise nationally, it’s also quickly rising in Iowa, with a projected 17.2 percent rise in employment in the state by 2026.

AreaTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Ames, IA70$35.65$74,150
Cedar Rapids, IA260$32.96$68,550
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL370$30.34$63,120
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA580$34.13$70,990
Dubuque, IA150$31.45$65,410
Iowa City, IA120$31.46$65,430
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA450$33.28$69,230
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD160$34.30$71,340
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA70$33.59$69,870

Working as a Dental Hygienist in Iowa

The most dental hygienists were employed in the Des Moines area in 2017, says the BLS. Other areas of strong employment were Davenport and the Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area. The highest paid Iowa dental hygienists that year were in De Moines, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and the Southwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area. In these cities, the mean income for dental hygienists ranged from $34 to $35 per hour.

College and University Listings

Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA

Des Moines Area Community College

2006 Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, Iowa 50023-3993
(515) 964-6241
https://www.dmacc.edu/programs/dentalhygiene/Pages/welcome.aspx

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Ankeny campus. This program of study is ADA accredited. Most of the school’s 23,685 students are on 2-year programs. Typical in-state tuition is approximately $4,080 per year, while tuition for out-of-state students is $8,160.

Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA

Hawkeye Community College

1501 E Orange Rd, Waterloo, Iowa 50701
(319) 296-2320
https://www.hawkeyecollege.edu/programs/dental-hygiene

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Waterloo campus. This program of study is ADA accredited. The college has about 5,942 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. Typical in-state tuition fees are approximately $4,116 per year, while the fees for students from other states are $4,984.

Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College

6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-2068
(319) 398-5411
http://www.kirkwood.edu/site/index.php?d=483

The Associate’s program at Kirkwood Community College is taught at their Cedar Rapids campus. This program of study is accredited by the American Dental Association. This private, not-for-profit college has approximately 16,659 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. Typical in-state tuition fees are approximately $4,200 per year. The fees for students from outside the state of Iowa are $5,100.

Sioux City, IA-NE-SD

Western Iowa Tech Community College

4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, Iowa 51102-5199
(712) 274-6400
https://www.witcc.edu/programs/47/index.cfm?

The Associate’s program at Western Iowa Tech Community College is offered at their campus in the city of Sioux City. The majority of the school’s 6,425 students are on 2-year programs. In-state tuition is approximately $3,528 per year. The fees for out-of-state students are $3,600.

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