South Dakota is a Midwestern state with a lot to offer any outdoors lover who is trying to build a career in dental hygiene. This state is the 17th largest by area, but it is also the 5th least densely populated as well as the 5th least populated overall. It is bordered on the north by North Dakota, on the east by Minnesota, on the southeast by Iowa, on the south by Nebraska, on the west by Wyoming, and on the northwest by Montana.
South Dakota’s capital city is Pierre, while the largest city is Sioux Falls. Most of the major attractions in South Dakota are outside city limits, however. The state is somewhat unusual geographically in that it is divided into two very distinct sections.
In the east, it consists of high, windy plains, open and desolate. In the west, the scenery becomes very distinctive. Here you will find the otherworldly scenery of Badlands National Park (and nearby, the famous Wall Drug market). Toward the border with Wyoming, you will pass through Rapid City into Black Hills National Forest, home of the famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Career Outlook and Salary
If you want to live and work in this exciting state, you are likely wondering whether you will make enough money, and whether there will be enough job opportunities to keep you busy.
The best way to answer these questions is to turn to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which compiles data on salary and rate of growth in occupations like dental hygiene.
In South Dakota, the annual mean wage for dental hygienists is $57,510. Fewer than 700 dental hygienists work in the state (as of May 2016), but with a growth rate of 19%, new jobs should be opening up.
It should be pointed out that the mean annual salary for dental hygienists throughout the US is higher; the BLS reports that it is $73,440. The cost of living in South Dakota is however lower than the nationwide average, so a lower salary is to be expected.
If you end up living and working in Rapid City, you can earn a bit more; the mean wage there is around $62,800. Cost of living in Rapid City is also higher however, since this is a popular area for tourism.
If you do decide to become a licensed dental hygienist in South Dakota, here are the requirements you will need to meet to begin practicing:
- Take and pass the National Board Examination and provide a copy of your grades.
- Take and pass the CRDTS or WREB clinical exam, and provide your scores.
- If you have been licensed in other states, you need to have the Boards in those states submit a certified letter which verifies your status and license number.
- Take and pass a program in dental hygiene which has been accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. Have your certified transcripts or a letter from the school verifying that you have graduated sent to the Board.
- Provide documentation proving your identity (birth certificate copy, marriage license, etc.).
- Make sure that your CPR certification is current, and provide a copy of your card. The certification must be from the American Health Association for the Healthcare Provider, the American Red Cross for the Healthcare Provider, or the American Red Cross for the Professional Rescuer.
- Submit a recent notarized photograph.
- Complete and pass the South Dakota Jurisprudence Examination.
- Submit the $100 license application fee, the $115 Jurisprudence Examination fee, and (in certain cases), the $50 temporary registration application fee.
- If you will be administering nitrous oxide or local anesthesia, make sure that you also submit the relevant applications and fees.
You now know what you need to do in order to become licensed to perform dental hygiene in the state of South Dakota. Below, you can view a list of South Dakota schools which are offering accredited programs in dental hygiene. Once you select a school to apply to, you will be on your way to your new career!
University of South Dakota
School of Health Sciences
Department of Dental Hygiene
120 East Hall/414 E. Clark St.
Vermillion, SD 57069-0000