How To Become A Dental Hygienist: A Step-By-Step Guide

Dental Hygienist

The dental hygienist profession has been on the rise in recent years as it provides a career path into the dental career field. If you are interested in this profession, you need to meet specific requirements to be eligible for the position. Read this blog to learn how to become a dental hygienist.

What does a dental hygienist do?

They examine the oral health of the patients and educate them about oral hygiene. They also assist the dentist in various operations as per the requirements.

Requirements to become a dental hygienist

You must hold state licensure and an associate degree in dental hygiene. If you wish to elevate your career, get a bachelor’s or master’s degree in dental hygiene. It will help you to get jobs in teaching and research as well.

Choosing a dental hygiene program

You must select a dental hygienist school and complete a CODA-accredited dental hygienist program. You can consider the following officially recognized programs:

  • Entry-level- If you have no previous experience in the field, you should enroll in this program. It includes associate degree programs, baccalaureate degree programs, and post-baccalaureate degree programs.
  • Degree completion- If you are a licensed dental hygienist and want to study beyond the entry-level program, this program is for you. If you hold a certificate or an associate degree in the field, you are eligible for the program.
  • Graduate- It is suitable for you if you wish to seek a master’s degree in dental hygiene or a similar field.

The length of these programs depends on the institution and the degree you choose. Some programs take less than two years or and some over four years to complete. An associate degree is a minimum requirement to become a dental hygienist. Also, a two-year program can allow you to enter the field more quickly.

Admission requirements for a dental hygiene program

They vary based on the program, but some common admission requirements for a DH program are:

  • High school courses- Although not necessary, these courses in health, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and psychology can help you gain the knowledge you may need to get admission into a DH program.
  • Skills- You must be detail-oriented and patient as you may have to stand on your feet for hours. You must also have technical abilities as well as communication and interpersonal skills.
  • GPA requirements- They vary based on the dental school you choose.

Licensure exam requirements

National Board of Dental Examination (NBDE) is the national dental examination in the US you have to take to obtain licensure. It consists of 2 parts- NBDE I and NBDE II. You must register for a DENTPIN from the ADA to apply for each part of the test. You should be a graduate of a CODA-accredited program.

Licensure requirements for dental hygienists

These requirements vary by state but ensure that you meet the professional standards of dentistry and maintain patient safety.

The state holds the final authority on the licensure requirements. However, you must meet the following three requirements regardless of the state you want to practice in:

  • Education requirement- You must have an associate degree at a minimum to become licensed to practice.
  • Written examination- You must clear both parts of the NBDE.
  • Clinical examination- You may have to take a clinical examination. Several dentistry state boards administer this examination with the help of a regional testing agency.

About the business

You can become a dental hygienist to have a fulfilling career option. If you are looking for job offers in the dentistry field, contact Dental Career Services. We are known for matching our hard-to-find candidates with the finest dental facilities. For more information, contact us at 972-746-6206 or fill the contact form.