Although it is the lengthiest part of becoming a dental hygienist, education is only one of a few requirements most states have. No matter what type of work schedule you want, you likely can find … The sixth largest regulated profession in Canada is a dental hygienist. All states require dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. A dental hygienist is a licensed oral healthcare provider who works closely with a licensed dentist. With more than 300 new dental hygiene programs approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation in 2015 alone, prospective students may feel overwhelmed with options. Having worked in the field for a time, I’m interested in furthering my knowledge and using it to conduct research, teach, or develop health programs in the community. They must also be well-versed in radiography when using certain types of x-ray equipment. You could do either: a 2-year foundation degree in oral health science Many states now allow a dental hygienist to train and become expanded function hygienists, which give them more responsibilities and allow them to perform more extensive treatments. Some baccalaureate degree programs require that applicants complete two years of college prior to enrollment in the dental hygiene program. The median average currently sits at $72,330. It requires an exceptional level of motivation and patience — as it comes with a lot of hard work. How Long Does It Take to Become a Dental Hygienist It takes around 3 years to complete an associate’s program in dental hygiene. Graduates of dental hygienist programs offered by community colleges receive an education rooted in comprehensive patient care, community health and lifelong oral health. Along with teaching patients proper oral hygiene, they may conduct patient assessments, oral inspections, and teeth cleanings. Dental hygienists who complete an associate degree program can start practicing after two years, while those who complete a bachelor’s degree program will take four. Completing educational requirements is a significant step toward becoming a dental hygienist, but all those looking to practice must be licensed. Aside from specific courses in areas of preventative dentistry, oral health and nutrition, and hygiene, topics like community dental health, human resource management and public policy development help ground students in public health administration. Many folks interested in this career report wanting to "help people." This membership-based organization advocates for dental hygienists while also providing assistance with continuing education and careers. Most dental hygiene programs require that you possess a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate before applying. To become a dental hygienist you usually have to complete a VET qualification in oral health (dental hygiene) or a degree in oral health or oral health therapy approved by the Dental Board of Australia. Factors other than experience can cause this number to fluctuate, too. Access cutting-edge continuing education courses, Find evidence to support your clinical decisions. While this national average provides an idea of how the field is progressing, these numbers may be higher or lower in different states. Many states now allow a dental hygienist to train and become expanded function hygienists, which give them more responsibilities and allow them to perform more extensive treatments. Although state-by-state requirements vary, many dental hygienists counsel patients on how different foods affect oral health and provide advice on proper techniques for care. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. Before embarking on an educational path – and spending hard earned dollars on tuition – prospective dental hygienists should make a list of what they seek in a profession. Use this powerful search tool to find a program that meets your needs in areas of cost, location and accreditation. Operating as the voice of dental education, ADEA provides a special interest group for clinical coordinators of dental hygiene programs. From choosing the right dental hygiene program to applying for your first job, find out how long it will take to become a dental hygienist, and follow the steps that lead to “RDH” at the end of your name. While requirements vary by state, all dental hygienists are required to graduate from an accredited program and pass both written and clinical examinations. Dental hygienists carry out procedures such as: scaling teeth (at times under local anaesthetic) polishing teeth applying topical fluoride and fissure sealants Most dental hygienists work in general dental practices but you can also find them in hospitals and in community dental services . These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs. While helping patients appeals to me, I’m also interested in more specialized care, such as developing school or public health programs. They have a wide range of tasks including safety contro… Compare job outlook projections and the number of projected annual job openings with our job growth tool. Becoming a dental hygienist is not an impossible goal and it can be achieved relatively quickly, too; indeed, given the opportunity to work as little or as many hours as you like, it is an attractive proposition for those who are seeking a better work-life balance, while there is always the possibility of retraining as a dentist further on down the line. It's not easy to be a dental hygienist and a lot of preparatory work needs to be done before starting a formal career. How long does it take to become a dental hygienist? How to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Explore CODA's role and find accredited schools and programs, Learn about the examinations used in licensing dentists and dental hygienists, Learn about recognized dental specialties and certifying boards. This allows hygienists to work in public health programs, conduct research, or pursue other career paths. The most successful dental hygienists have a blend of skills, credentials and understanding of tools and technologies that allow them to excel in their roles. Develop your career path Dental hygiene program students and graduates often think of clinical practice in a dental office or clinic as a singular career path. Due to population increases and preventative care being placed at a higher priority, … This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. Although some colleges and universities offer associate-level degrees, the majority of students selecting this option are seeking either a bachelor’s or advanced degree. This four-year degree – often offered as a Bachelor of Science (BS) – immerses students in an all-round educational experience that incorporates dental hygiene classes, basic science courses and a general education curriculum. Four-year programs equip students with a deeper knowledge of topics than an associate degree while also providing a liberal arts underpinning. In addition to coursework, students also need to pass a comprehensive examination; other programs also mandate a capstone project and field work. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is the only agency approved by the USDE to accredit dental hygiene education programs. Leave any questions you may have in the comments or shoot me an email! You may qualify for technician or assistant positions with less formal education or on-the-job training. Being able to show empathy and help patients take their mind off of receiving medical care goes a long way in easing fears and worries. In this article, we discuss the expected responsibilities of a dental hygienist while also evaluating the individual requirements it takes to become one. How long does it take to become a dental hygienist? There are several different educational pathways students can consider to become a dental hygienist. Successful passage of the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, a comprehensive written test, Completion of a state-level or regional clinical board examination. Dental hygienists working in a dentist’s office are typically required to hold an associate degree in dental hygiene. Without the addition of general education courses, students focus solely on topics directly related to their future careers and are prepared to undertake licensure requirements upon graduation. Degree programs for industrial hygienists m… This means it can take anywhere from two to six years to become a dental hygienist. Students looking to work in a dental office would be overqualified with a master’s degree, but those with only an associate degree would not be eligible to undertake academic roles or research posts. In addition to courses offered by state and regional chapters of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, local dental hygiene programs should also be able to provide a list of what’s available. While newly minted dental hygienists typically bring home $50,140, those in the top tenth percentile of the field can expect their incomes to be around $98,440. You can get into this job through a university course. To become a dental hygienist, you are required to obtain a dental hygiene certification. Many programs are also available as an online degree. The course is offered by dental schools and usually takes two years or up to 27 months full-time. December 8, 2020 by Jonathan Holmes. And, almost all states require candidates for licensure to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination. Common courses at this level include: After completing studies, graduates undertake the written and clinical examinations required to become a registered dental hygienist (RDH) and are competitive for roles in public and private dental offices. Working with patients every day is one of the big reasons I want to enter this field. This will confirm an absence of any serious state and national criminal violations. I also want a well-rounded education covering additional topics outside dental hygiene. After completing your degree, you need to pass written and practical exams and then apply for your state's hygienist license to perform work. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Aside from national associations and organizations, many states have their own professional bodies to further the work of dental hygienists, as seen in this example from Tennessee. When you become a licensed dental hygienist you join the ranks of other licensed health care professionals such as nurses, physical therapists, dentists, physicians and dieticians. After graduating, you need to follow the application process to register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Individuals who complete a specialization in healthy policy and administration during their dental hygiene degree often go on to work in public health, designing and developing initiatives to encourage oral health care. Compare this list to qualities commonly exhibited by dental hygienists who love their work and see if it’s a match. We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a dental hygienist right now. Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. Though far less common than associate and bachelor’s degrees, graduate level programs in dental hygiene open a world of possibilities to graduates. As technology continues to advance, lasers are showing up next to the patient chair more frequently, and dental hygienists must be trained in proper usage of these tools. Ranging from average salary to work-life balance, take time to think about both day-to-day responsibilities and long-term goals. Once enrolled, full-time students complete the degree in one year, while those attending school while working should plan for two to three years of study. After earning your license, you may obtain employment. Continuing education plays a crucial role in the work of dental hygienists, providing both updated and additional knowledge throughout their careers. Many colleges advertise “pre-dental hygiene” or dental hygiene degree plans for basic program requirements, but they may not have an accredited hygiene department on their campus. Education specialties within dental hygiene outfit students with both knowledge of oral health and theories and concepts related to teaching adult students. A person who wants to become an industrial hygienist can pursue a bachelor's degree in engineering, chemistry, or occupational health from an accredited university. There are several hundred CODA-accredited dental hygiene programs in the United States. Dental hygienists enjoy rewarding careers and have the satisfaction of helping their patients achieve better oral health every day. I believe that the key thing to keep in mind is your passion. How to Become a Dental Hygienist. To practise as a dental hygienist, you need to take an appropriate course approved by the General Dental Council (GDC). How To Become A Dental Hygienist – An Overview of This Career Choice. A bachelor's degree is standard to work as a certified industrial hygienist, and a master's degree is required for some positions. 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