Dental Hygiene, A.A.S.

Academic Programs

Career Path


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Program Options

Degree, Certificate or Diploma


Council Bluffs Campus

Program Information

If becoming a dental hygienist appeals to you, Iowa Western’s Dental Hygiene program can help you do just that. Successful candidates earn an Associate of Applied Science degree that prepares them to complete both the National Board Examination and a state or regional exam. Working with Creighton University, Iowa Western offers clinical experiences off-campus.

Graduates of Iowa Western’s Dental Hygiene program are some of the most prepared in the area, boasting a 99 percent board pass-rate on national exams, a 95 percent board pass-rate on regional and state exams, and 100 percent pass-rate on the jurisprudence exam.

After completing your Iowa Western requirements, you’ll have the option of transferring to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree.

To become a licensed professional, graduates must successfully complete both the National Board Examination, a state or regional exam, and a jurisprudence exam. CPR certification is required.

The program in dental hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval with reporting requirements”. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.

Job Outlook

533 Jobs (2020)

+9.9% Change from 2020-2025

Data is from the Omaha Metropolitans Area, and the seven counties in Southwest Iowa that Iowa Western serves

What will you do

The Dental Hygiene program is designed to place students into the workforce upon completion of this two-year degree. Dental Hygienists are preventive health professionals who provide educational and clinical services to support oral health. These services include: evaluation, charting oral disease and conditions, removing deposits from teeth, exposing and processing dental radiographs, and applying fluoride and sealants to teeth. Dental Hygienists can seek positions in general or specialty dental practices, hospitals, research or academic institutions, public health, business and industry, or armed services. Upon graduation of the program, students will be able to take the National Board of Examination and a regional examination.

Iowa Dental Hygiene Scope of Practice

Nebraska Dental Hygiene Scope of Practice


  • Entry: $29.98
  • Average: $35.98
  • Experienced: $49.29

Career Examples

  • Dentists, General
  • Dentists, All Other Specialists
  • Orthodontists
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  • Prosthodontists
SPC 112 - Public Speaking 3.0 Credit(s)
ENG 105 - Composition I 3.0 Credit(s)
BIO 168 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4.0 Credit(s)
BIO 173 - Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4.0 Credit(s)
CHM 132 - Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry 4.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 18.0 Credits

Recommended Course Sequence

First Semester

BIO 186 - Microbiology 4.0 Credit(s)
DHY 118 - Oral Histology and Embryology 1.0 Credit(s)
DHY 174 - Principles of Dental Hygiene 5.0 Credit(s)
DHY 114 - Dental Hygiene Anatomical Sciences 4.0 Credit(s)
DHY 155 - Radiology 2.0 Credit(s)
DHY 157 - Radiology Lab 1.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 17.0 Credits

Second Semester

DHY 183 - Dental Hygiene I Theory 2.0 Credit(s)
DHY 184 - Clinical Dental Hygiene I 3.0 Credit(s)
DHY 153 - Dental Emergencies 1.0 Credit(s)
DHY 211 - Periodontology 2.0 Credit(s)
DHY 228 - Clinical Preventive Dentistry 2.0 Credit(s)
DHY 141 - General and Oral Pathology 3.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 13.0 Credits

Third Semester

DHY 275 - Dental Hygiene II Theory 1.0 Credit(s)
DHY 286 - Clinical Dental Hygiene II 1.0 Credit(s)
DHY 288 - Local Anesthesia and Pain Control 1.0 Credit(s)
DHY 132 - Dental Pharmacology 3.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 6.0 Credits

Fourth Semester

DHY 293 - Dental Hygiene III Theory 2.0 Credit(s)
DHY 295 - Clinical Dental Hygiene III (4.0 Credits Required) 4.0 Credit(s)
DHY 252 - Community Dentistry 2.0 Credit(s)
DHY 213 - Periodontology II 1.0 Credit(s)
DHY 226 - Biomaterials for the Dental Hygienist 2.5 Credit(s)
SOC 110 - Introduction to Sociology 3.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 14.5 Credits

Fifth Semester

DHY 303 - Dental Hygiene IV Theory 2.0 Credit(s)
DHY 304 - Clinical Dental Hygiene IV 4.0 Credit(s)
DHY 241 - Dental Ethics 1.0 Credit(s)
PSY 111 - Introduction to Psychology 3.0 Credit(s)
MGT 195 - Workplace Empowerment 3.0 Credit(s)
DHY 230 - Oral Health Nutrition 2.0 Credit(s)
DHY 259 - Community Oral Health Service Learning Experience 1.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 16.0 Credits

Total Semester Hours Required: 84.5


Students must earn a “C” or higher in all DHY courses in order to graduate.


Program Outcomes

Upon the successful completion of the program students will:

  • Utilize evidence based decision making principles.
  • Utilize the dental hygiene process of care to meet the needs of diverse populations.
  • Operate within an ethical framework within the dental hygiene scope of practice.
  • Positively motivate and effectively communicate with all populations to promote high standards of oral health.

Program Disclaimers

  • Salary information from EMSI Analyst Database