How to Become a Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at neighborhood colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of community college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Invoice of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure assessments (nationwide and state or regional), end up being licensed and to work in a dental workplace.

How to Become a Dental Hygienist

Education/Training & Admission Requirements

University-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which generally require at least two years of additional schooling. These extra degrees might be required for a profession in teaching and/or research, in addition to for scientific practice in school or public health programs.

Dental hygiene program admission requirements vary depending upon the particular school. High school-level courses such as health, biology, psychology, chemistry, mathematics and speech will be useful in a dental hygiene profession. Most programs reveal a choice for people who have finished at least one year of college. Some baccalaureate degree programs require that applicants total two years of college prior to enrollment in the dental health program. Contact the dental health program of interest to you for specific program requirements.

Dental hygiene education programs offer scientific education in the form of supervised patient care experiences. Furthermore, these programs include courses in liberal arts (e.g., English, speech, sociology and psychology); standard sciences (e.g., anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, immunology, chemistry, microbiology and pathology); and medical sciences (e.g., dental hygiene, radiology and dental materials). After conclusion of a dental health program, dental hygienists can opt to pursue additional training in such areas as education, organisation administration, standard sciences, marketing and public health.

Also read: Human Dental Formula


The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is the only agency authorized by the USDE to recognize dental hygiene education programs. There are several hundred CODA-accredited dental hygiene programs in the United States.

Evaluation and Licensure

Dental hygienists are accredited by each state to supply dental health care and patient education. Practically all states need that dental hygienists be graduates of commission-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. And, nearly all states require candidates for licensure to get a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a thorough written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure evaluation. The state or local examination tests candidates’ medical dental hygiene skills as well as their understanding of dental hygiene and associated topics.

Upon invoice of their license, dental hygienists may use “R.D.H.” after their names to represent acknowledgment by the state that they are a Registered Dental Hygienist.

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