Iowa Dental Assistant Requirements

Radiography Requirements

To legally operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures in Iowa, a dental assistant must meet the requirements shown below.

To expose radiographs in Iowa, a dental assistant must hold a current registration certificate and active radiography qualification issued by the Iowa Dental Board (IDB) and a dentist must provide general supervision. To earn dental radiography qualification, one must: 

1a. Be a Dental Assistant Trainee or Registered Dental Assistant with an active registration status, OR 

1b. Be a graduate of an accredited dental assisting program, OR 
 
1c. Be a nurse who holds an active Iowa nursing license, AND
 
2. Provide proof of successful completion of an Iowa board-approved course of study in dental radiography within the two years prior to application, AND 
 
3. Provide proof that he or she successfully completed an Iowa Board-approved exam in the area of dental radiography (the national DANB Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam meets this requirement, if taken after January 1, 1986), AND 

4. Apply to the IDB for Qualification in Dental Radiography.

Note: A dental assistant must be at least 18 years of age to perform dental radiography.

Dental Assistant Trainees may also engage in on-the-job training in dental radiography pursuant to 650-22.3(136C,153). Trainees are all individuals who are engaging in on-the-job training to meet the requirements for registration and who are learning the necessary skills under the personal supervision of a licensed dentist.

Dental Assisting Job Titles and Requirements for Each Level

Note: In order to work as a dental assistant in the state of Iowa, an individual must be 17 years of age or older, be a high school graduate or equivalent, and be registered with the Iowa Dental Board and have received a Certificate of Registration.

Dental Assistant Trainee

To qualify as a Dental Assistant Trainee in Iowa, one must:

1a. Graduate from high school or equivalent, AND

1b. Be 17 years of age or older, OR

2. Be enrolled in a cooperative education or work study program through an Iowa high school, AND

3. Apply to the Iowa Dental Board and receive a certificate of registration.

A dental assistant trainee must have certification of Dental Assistant Trainee status issued prior to beginning work as a dental assistant trainee.

Iowa Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)

To qualify as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) in Iowa, one must:

1a. Work in a dental office for six months as a Dental Assistant Trainee (see requirements above), OR

1b. If licensed out of state, have had at least six months of prior dental assisting experience under a licensed dentist within the past two years, OR 

1c. Graduate from an accredited dental assisting program approved by the Iowa Dental Board, AND

2. Successfully complete an Iowa Board-approved course of study in the areas of infection control, hazardous materials and jurisprudence; the course of study may be taken at an Iowa Board-approved, accredited dental assisting program or on the job using a curriculum approved by the board, AND

3. Successfully pass required examinations in infection control/hazardous materials and jurisprudence; examinations approved by the board are those administered by the board or the board's approved testing centers, or the DANB Infection Control (ICE) exam, if taken after June 1, 1991 (the Iowa Dental Board may require applicants with exam scores older than five years to retest), AND

4. Hold a valid CPR card, AND

5. Apply to the Iowa Dental Board (IDB) for registration as a dental assistant using IDB application forms, or apply online and receive a Certificate of Registration.

Basic, Certified Level 1 and Certified Level 2 Expanded Function Providers

To perform expanded functions, a registered dental must meet the education and training requirements set forth below.

To qualify for expanded function training, a dental assistant must be a graduate of a CODA-Accredited educational program, OR hold current DANB certificationOR have a minimum of one year of clinical practice as a registered dental assistant, OR have a minimum of one years of clinical practice as a dental assistant in a state that does not require registration.

Basic Expanded Function Provider

A Registered Dental Assistant may qualify to perform select Level 1 expanded function procedures as a Basic Expanded Function Provider by completing a Board-approved training program. A dentist may delegate to an RDA only those Level 1 procedures for which the assistant has received the required expanded function training.

To qualify for expanded function training, a dental assistant must:

1. Be a graduate of a CODA-Accredited dental assisting program, OR

2. Hold current DANB certification, OR

3. Have a minimum of one year of clinical practice as a registered dental assistant, OR

4. Have a minimum of one year of clinical practice as a dental assistant in a state that does not require registration.

Certified Level 1 Provider

To qualify as a Certified Level 1 provider, a Registered Dental Assistant must complete a Board-approved training program in all Level 1 expanded functions and receive a certificate of completion.
To qualify for expanded function training, a dental assistant must:

1. Be a graduate of a CODA-Accredited dental assisting program, OR

2. Hold current DANB certification, OR

3. Have a minimum of one year of clinical practice as a registered dental assistant, OR

4. Have a minimum of one year of clinical practice as a dental assistant in a state that does not  require registration. 


Certified Level 2 Provider

To qualify as a Certified Level 2 Provider, a Registered Dental Assistant must: 

1. Complete a minimum of one year of clinical practice as a Certified Level 1 provider, AND

2. Pass an entrance examination administered by the Level 2 training program, AND

3. Complete a Board-approved training program in all Level 2 expanded function procedures offered through the University of Iowa College of Dentistry or a program accredited by CODA and receive a certificate of completion


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