Dental Hygiene Schools and Education Programs in Missouri

As of 2013, Missouri is the home to 2,820 dental hygienists, and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center states an expectation for the job of dental hygienists in Missouri to grow by 26.69% by the year 2022, opening up a total of 1,466 new jobs.

The Missouri Dental Board is a division of the Missouri Division of Professional Registration, and it determines the licensure standards for the dental field in the state. The Board recognizes that dental hygienist may not legally practice without licensure.


Learn how to become a licensed dental hygienist in Missouri by following these steps:

Earn an Associate’s Degree in Dental Hygiene
Pass National, Competency, and Dental Law Examinations
Submit Licensure Application
Continue Education to Retain Licensure



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

To apply for a dental hygiene licensure, you must complete a minimum of two (2) academic years at a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited dental hygiene school, resulting in at least an Associate’s degree.

There are eight (8) dental hygiene schools in Missouri, which offer dental hygiene associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Although an associate’s degree is the minimum necessary to apply for licensure, employers regularly search for candidates with higher education.

After completion of a dental hygiene program, you should be able to perform the following duties:

  • Recognize and apply ethical dental concepts
  • Research clinical and dental information
  • Provide care sensitively to a diverse population
  • Asses, plan, implement, and evaluate dental plans for individuals and communities
  • Be capable of handling dental medical emergencies and providing life support



Step 2. Pass National, Competency, and Dental Law Examinations

There are three exams that you will have to pass in order to apply for dental hygiene licensure, which are the National Board exam, the Competency or Regional exam, and the Missouri State Law (Jurisprudence) exam.

National Board Exam

For your application, you will need to submit official scores from the National Board exam. The National Board exam is administered by the American Dental Association (ADA) Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations.

Eligibility for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE), comes in two forms. You must fulfill one of the following requirements:

  • Graduate from a CODA-accredited Dental Hygiene school


  • Graduate from a non-accredited program, and submit these materials:
  • Letter from the school’s dean
  • Letter from the secretary of a Board of Dentistry
  • Official Dental School transcripts

Application to the NBDHE exam may be achieved by doing the following steps:

  • Read the NBDHE Guide
  • Register for a Dental Personal Identifier Number (A DENTPIN)
  • Apply for examination
  • Submit $400 application fee
  • Schedule time, date, and location for examination

The Pearson VUE testing center is offered as a testing center for this exam. You may find Pearson VUE exam sites in or near Missouri here:

  • Columbia, MO
  • Louis, MO
  • Springfield, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Overland Park, KS
  • Springfield, IL
  • Marion, IL
  • Memphis, TN

The Dental Hygiene Exam sample exam may be found here.

Competency Exam

The second exam you must pass in order to apply for licensure is a regional competency exam. Missouri accepts scores from many different testing centers, including the following:

CDCA provides an Exam Calendar which designates the dates, times, and locations you may take the exam. You may find information about and manuals on this exam on the CDCA website.

CITA provides an exam calendar, stating the dates, locations, application and retest application deadline.

SRTA offers an exam calendar signifying the exam locations, dates, and application deadlines for SRTA exams.

CRDTS provides an exam calendar, as well, which signifies which dates, sites, and cities the exams in which are offered.

Missouri Jurisprudence Examination

The Missouri Jurisprudence exam is an open-book, 50-question test focuses on Missouri laws and regulations related to the practice of dental hygiene. You may get a copy of the Board rules by contacting the Board office at (573) 751-0040.

After all of your application materials and fees have been submitted, the Board will contact you concerning how to proceed with the Jurisprudence exam. If eligible, you may be able to take it through a secure, Missouri Dental Board website.

To pass, you need to attain an 80% or higher on the exam.



Step 3. Submit Licensure Application

When applying for licensure, you will need to submit the following documents and materials:

  • Application
  • $155 fee
  • Recent Photograph (space provided on application)
  • Official Transcript(s)
  • Official National Board Scores
  • Competency Exam Scores
  • Current CPR Certification

If you are submitting a licensure by credentials, you need to currently hold a dental hygienist license from another state for the previous two years. If you hold this licensure, you must also submit official licensure verification from the other state(s) in which you hold licensure. This verification must come directly from the other state to the Missouri Dental Board.

You may turn everything into the following address:

Missouri Dental Board
3605 Missouri Boulevard
P.O. Box 1367
Jefferson City, MO 65102



Step 4. Continue Education to Retain Licensure

Every two years, you will have to renew your license. As part of the renewal process, you will need have proof of taking at least thirty (30) continuing education credit hours.

No less than twenty-five (25) hours may be devoted to non-clinical education. If you complete more than the required thirty (30) hours, up to fifteen (15) hours may carry over into the next renewal cycle period.

The approved sponsoring organizations for continuing education are including, but not limited to, the following—

  • American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • National Dental Association
  • American Dental Hygienists’ Association
  • National Dental Hygienists’ Association
  • American Medical Association and American Osteopathic Association
  • American Nurses Association
  • ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation approved dental, dental hygiene, and dental assisting schools
  • ADA continuing education recognition program
  • AGD national sponsor approved program
  • Federal and state government agencies
  • Hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

After you attain licensure, if you want to administer nitrous oxide or local anesthesia, you will need to attain a permit and submit the further documentation and fees.

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