Dental Hygiene Schools and Education Programs in Indiana

With more than 4,800 dental hygienists working in the state as of 2013 and a ratio of 1.70 dental hygienists for every one thousand residents, Indiana is one of the top states in the nation in terms of employment in this field. Though 2020, there is expected to be a 34.7% increase in the number of dental hygienist jobs in Indiana, creating an average of 290 new openings each year.

The Indiana State Board of Dentistry is the professional licensing agency responsible for regulating the dental field in the state. To qualify for licensure as a dental hygienist in Indiana, simply follow these steps:

Earn a Minimum of an Associate’s Degree in Dental Hygiene
Pass National, Clinical, and State Examinations
Submit Licensure Application to the Indiana State Board of Dentistry
Complete Continuing Education to Retain Licensure



Step 1. Earn a Minimum of an Associate’s Degree in Dental Hygiene

Before you apply for licensure, you need to complete at least two (2) academic years of formal coursework, which results in earning an associate’s degree, from a dental hygiene program approved by the Indiana State Board of Dentistry and accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

There are currently seven (7) CODA-accredited dental hygiene programs in the state of Indiana, which offer certificates, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees. In programs such as these, you will complete courses such as these:

  • General Education Courses
  • Principles of Chemistry
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Ethics and Healthcare in a Pluralistic Society
  • Medical Terminology for the Health Professions
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Oral Radiology
  • Applied Dental Materials
  • Preventative Oral Health
  • Dental Hygiene Theory
  • Dental Hygiene Clinic
  • Pain Management in Dentistry
  • Professional and Current Issues in Oral Healthcare

Although only two (2) academic years of formal coursework is required, employers may seek job candidates with higher levels of education and experience.



Step 2. Pass National, Clinical, and State Examinations

To apply for licensure in Indiana, you must first pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam and a Clinical Exam. Finally, after your application is approved, you must pass a written exam covering Indiana law.

National Board Examination

Before you apply for licensure, you must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE), which is offered by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations. A passing score (75 or above) on this exam is required before you may move on to take the Indiana State Law examination.

To be eligible for this exam, you must either be enrolled in or be a graduate from a CODA-accredited dental hygienist program. Once eligible, you may apply by completing the following steps:

  • Read and Agree to NBDHE Guide
  • Register for DENTPIN
  • Apply for Exam
  • Schedule a Time and Location to Take Exam

Once the application is processed, JCNDE sends scheduling instructions through email (or mail, if you have not submitted an email). Pearson VUE is the testing vendor for the NBDHE exam, and has testing sites located in or near Indiana in the following cities:

  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Merrillville, Indiana
  • Moraine, Ohio
  • Mason, Ohio
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Louisville, Kentucky

Clinical (Regional) Dental Hygiene Examinations

To be eligible for licensure by examination in the State of Indiana, you must meet any one (1) of the following clinical exam requirements within the five (5) years prior to applying:

Indiana State Law/Jurisprudence Examination

The Jurisprudence Exam is a 50-question, multiple-choice text that covers the practice of dental hygiene, universal precautions, infection control standards, and Indiana State Statues and Administrative rules, which may be downloaded here.

After your application has been received and approved, the Board will notify you of your eligibility to complete this exam. The exam will be emailed to you, and after that, you have fourteen (14) days to pass with exam with a 75%, and return it to the Board.



Step 3. Submit Licensure Application to the Indiana State Board of Dentistry

There are currently two ways you may attain licensure through the Indiana State Board: Licensure through Examination, or Licensure through Endorsement/Credentials.

Licensure Through Examination — If you want to apply for licensure through examination, you must submit application, fees, and other documents that the board requires, including the following documents:

  • Transcript or Diploma from CODA-accredited Dental Hygiene School
  • National Board Exam Scores
  • Clinical Exam Scores
  • Current CPR Certification
  • Any Legal Name Change Documents
  • Two recent photographs taken within 8 weeks of filing application
  • Criminal Offense Statement, if convicted, including offense, court, cause number, and penalty
  • Official Application with $100 fee

If you have been previously licensed in a different state, you will also need to submit the following materials:

  • Any other state licensure (must be submitted by previous state)
  • National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), The Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB)

Licensure Through Endorsement — If you want to obtain licensure through endorsement, submit the above information, as well as the following:

  • Self-query form, including the following forms: The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), The Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB) data bank.
  • Proof of at least fourteen (14) hours of continuing dental education in the previous two (2) years.
  • Proof of active practice for no less than two (2) years out of the three (3) years before your application.
  • Original, recent, written statements from at least three (3) practicing dentists verifying your practice as a dental hygienist.
  • Current certification in either basic life support or advanced cardiac life support.



Step 4. Complete Continuing Education to Retain Licensure

Your license must be renewed by March 1st every two (2) years on even-numbered years. You may renew online or through mail by submitting a renewal form, verification of current life support certification, verification of the continuing education requirements, and a $70 fee.

If you are renewing by mail, contact the Board at (317) 234-2054 or at [email protected] to receive a printed renewal form.

A dental hygienist must complete 14 hours of continuing education for each renewal period, following the specific guidelines below:

  • Ne more than five (5) specifically related to practice management
  • No more than two (2) credits may be earned for certification programs in basic life support certification, which is required to be maintained
  • At least seven (7) credits must be earned through live presentations or workshops.

You may earn continuing education credits in the following ways:

  • College course (one (1) credit hour for each lecture hour)
  • Up to four (4) credits through listening to a speech, lecture, or other presentation by a dental hygienist (two (2) credit hours if it is sponsored by an approved organization)
  • Attendance to a state, regional, or national meeting sponsored by an approved organization (one (1) credit hour)
  • Up to four (4) credit hours through attending a meeting of a study club sponsored by the American Dental Hygienist Association (one (1) credit hour)
  • A home study course offered by an approved organization (one (1) credit per hour of study material)

Approved organizational providers of continuing education include:

  • United States Department of Education
  • Council on Post-Secondary Education
  • National Dental Association
  • American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • National Dental Hygiene Association
  • American Dental Hygiene Association
  • Council on Hospital Dental Services
  • American Medical Association
  • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals
  • Joint Commission on Healthcare Organizations
  • International organizations approved by the American Dental Association
  • A college or other teaching institution accredited by the United States Department of Education

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