How Long Does IT Take to Become a Dental Hygienist?
A career as a dental hygienist requires anywhere from 2-3 years of school, including pre-requisites and any licensing examinations. Many graduates may find jobs with as little as an associate's degree or, in some cases, a certificate. However, depending on the type of advancement someone wants in his or her career, a bachelor or master's degree might be more desirable.
Becoming a Dental Hygienist
A high school diploma and college entrance tests are required for admission into a dental hygiene program. In high school, students are advised to take courses in mathematics, chemistry and biology.
A dental hygienist needs to graduate from an accredited school. Most dental hygienist programs only grant associate's degrees, but some offer bachelor's and master's degrees. To work as a dental hygienist in a private dental office typically requires an associate's degree though a certificate may be accepted in some cases. In order to go into research, public health or teaching, dental hygienists will require bachelor's or master's degrees.
In addition to coursework, the dental hygienist school curriculum involves laboratory and clinical practice. Anatomy, chemistry, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, radiography, periodontology, pathology, dental materials, histology and other courses make up the coursework. Depending on the program and the amount of prerequisites taken, a student can become a dental hygienist within four years; however, master's degree programs may take six or more years.
In order to practice as a dental hygienist, one needs a degree from a dental hygiene school and a state license. To become licensed, dental hygienists need to pass a clinical and written exam. The written exam is administered by the American Dental Association's (ADA) Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations, and the clinical exam is administered by state or regional testing agencies. The only state exempt from the ADA written exam is Alabama. Instead, the state uses the requirements established by the Alabama Dental Hygiene Program. It includes taking courses, completing clinical training and passing a licensing exam that is administered by the state of Alabama.
Related to What Does IT Take to Become a Dental Hygienist
- Recently Updated
There are 17 schools within 50 miles of San Jose, CA, that have dental assisting and dental hygienist certificate and/or degree...
Becoming a registered dental hygienist, also known as a RDH, requires completing a 2-year dental hygienist program and passing...
Dental hygienists clean patients' teeth and examine their gums. Hygienists may also perform administrative tasks within a...
Learn how to become a dental hygienist. Research basic and advanced education programs as well as the licensure you'll need to...
- Online Dental Hygienist Associate's Degree Program Information
- Dental Tech Hygiene: Overview of Adult School Programs
- Dental Hygienist: Overview of Continuing Education for Dental Hygienists
- Job Analysis Specialist: Job Description and Requirements
- Job Description of a Cleaning Contractor
- Bachelor of Science (BS): Networking Degree Overview
- Pricing Specialist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements