Dental Assistants > Registered Dental Assistants (RDA)


A "dental assistant" means any person who, under the supervision of a dentist, performs any extraoral services including infection control or the use of hazardous materials or performs any intraoral services on patients. The term “dental assistant” does not include persons otherwise actively licensed in Iowa to practice dental hygiene or nursing who are engaged in the practice of said profession.

Eligibility for Registration

To qualify to register as a dental assistant, a person must:

  1. Work in a dental office for six months as a dental assistant trainee; or
  2. Have had at least six months of prior dental assisting experience under a licensed dentist within the past two years; or
  3. Be a graduate of an accredited dental assisting program approved by the Board; and
  4. Be a high school graduate or equivalent; and
  5. Be 17 years of age or older.

Types of registration

A certificate of registration will identify the type of registration a dental assistant has received. One of the following designations will appear on a dental assistant’s certificate of registration:

  • RDA - Registered Dental Assistant
  • QDA - Qualified/Registered Dental Assistants
  • XDA - Qualified/ Non-registered Dental Assistants

Examination Requirements

    Within 12 months of employment, the dental assistant trainee is required to successfully
    complete a Board-approved course of study and examination in the areas of infection control, hazardous materials, and jurisprudence. The course of study may be taken at a Board-approved postsecondary school or on the job using curriculum approved by the board for such purpose. Evidence of meeting this requirement shall be submitted within 12 months by the employer dentist.

Jurisprudence examination
For information about where to go to take the jurisprudence examination follow this link to community college testing sites.

Application process

To become a registered dental assistant, an individual must submit an application to the Board for review and approval. The application must meet the following requirements:

  1. Application completely filled out; all questions answered
  2. Application fee paid
  3. Applicant is a high school graduate
  4. Applicant is at least 17 years of age
  5. Qualifies based on one of the following :
    • Dental Asst Trainee work in dental office (at least 6 months)
    • Prior dental assisting experience w/licensed dentist (at least 6 mons. within the past 2 years)
    • Graduate of accredited dental assisting program
  6. Completed Course of study in Infection Control/ Hazardous Waste at one of the following:
    • At a Board-approved, accredited dental assisting program
    • On the job curriculum approved by Board
  7. Completed Course of study in Jurisprudence at one of the following:
    • At a Board-approved, accredited dental assisting program
    • On the job curriculum approved by Board
  8. Passed Infection Control/Hazardous Materials exam (Board-approved examination OR DANB exam after June 1991)
  9. Passed Jurisprudence exam (Board-approved examination)
  10. Evidence of current CPR certification (sponsored by a nationally recognized provider)

Application forms
Fee schedule

Expanded function training

Under Board rules, IAC 650-20.3(3), “a dentist may delegate an expanded function duty to a registered dental assistant if the assistant has completed Board-approved training pursuant to rule 20.16(153) in the specific expanded function that will be delegated.” Certain other restrictions and limitations apply.

Find additional information on expanded functions training here. Also, expanded functions documentation form is available.  


The registration of all dental assistants expires on August 31 of each odd-numbered year. Renewal applications are mailed to all current dental assistants approximately 60 days prior to expiration. To successfully renew registration, all dental assistants must complete the following:

  • Submit a timely and complete application for renewal (prior to the August 31 expiration date);
  • Pay the required renewal fee;
  • Provide proof of current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR);
  • Provide evidence of obtaining training in the identification and reporting of child (if your practice treats children) and/or dependent adult abuse (if your practice treats adults) within the last five years; and
  • Obtain 20 credit hours of continuing education, unless you successfully completed the examinations for registration in the current biennium. Two hours need to cover the subject area of infection control. You also need to complete a minimum of two hours in the area of dental radiography if you wish to renew your qualification in dental radiography. Please note that jurisprudence continuing education is no longer required.

At renewal, all dental assistants must submit proof of current certification in CPR by a nationally recognized provider (i.e. American Heart Association, Red Cross). The Board only requires certification in basic CPR; the Board does not require dental assistants to complete “health care provider” certification. However, the Board has prohibited CPR certification from online or other homestudy courses. The Board suggests that you schedule CPR recertification classes well in advance of the expiration date of your dental assistant registration. This may prevent possible delays when you renew your registration. If you do not have a copy of your CPR card at the time of renewal, the Board will accept a letter from the sponsor stating that you have successfully completed the training. Registrants may claim up to three hours of continuing education per renewal period for CPR training


If your registration lapses, it will be necessary to submit an application for reinstatement. For a complete list of applications and forms, please refer here.

Registration verifications

To request a written verification/certification of your Iowa registration and/or radiography qualification, please complete the request form and submit the form to the Board office with the appropriate fees. You may access that form here.

Link to list of registered Dental Assistants

If your name does not appear on this list, then your registration or renewal was issued after the date that the list was last updated, or you are not currently registered as a dental assistant on active status in Iowa. If you are uncertain, please check with the board office. Please note: current dental assistant trainees will not appear on this list. This list only contains the names of currently registered dental assistants.

Being DANB (Dental Assisting National Board) certified, does not authorize you to engage in the practice of dental assisting in Iowa. You must make application and pay fees to become registered. Simply passing the exams does not allow you to legally work in Iowa.

To legally engage in the practice of dental assisting in Iowa, you must either be registered or be placed on a current dental assistant trainee status by the Iowa Dental Board.

Dental assistant trainees are 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. If you are working on trainee status you will receive verification from the Board office reflecting this. The trainee verification form should be posted in the office where the trainee is working.

Dental assistants should possess proof from the board office that they are either registered, or that they are working under a current trainee status. This information should be available at all practice locations.

You may verify the status of dental assistants at