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. Reproduction or republication strictly prohibited without prior written permission. 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. Why do you want to become a dental hygienist? The following section reviews the most common choices available, including: The average amount of time to complete a dental hygienist program is three years, but some vocational and trade schools allow students to enter the working world in as few as 17 months. 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. Students also learn how to create a safe environment for children and help alleviate their fear of dental procedures. Review the different types of degrees and outcomes to find the program best suited to future goals. Understanding the educational and training requirements to become a dental hygienist can help you decide on whether it is the right career for you. It takes 4 years to complete a bachelor’s degree It takes 1-2 years to finish a master’s degree, depending on if you study full-time or part-time. Together. You can search for accredited programs in the U.S. or Canada on the American Dental Association website. This means it can take anywhere from two to six years to become a dental hygienist. Copyright © 2020 American Dental Association. Some baccalaureate degree programs require that applicants complete two years of college prior to enrollment in the dental hygiene program. Though far less common than associate and bachelor’s degrees, graduate level programs in dental hygiene open a world of possibilities to graduates. Take a look at the checklist below to get a better sense of what it takes to thrive in this career. You can proceed at your own pace in a self-directed manner. How To Become A Dental Hygienist: Career, Salary, and Education Registered Dental Hygienists (RDHs) are licensed dental health providers who perform preventative services such as dental cleanings, periodontal soft tissue therapy, and practice independently of the dentist rather than alongside of them. Completing educational requirements is a significant step toward becoming a dental hygienist, but all those looking to practice must be licensed. Applicants should have already completed a basic dental hygiene preparation program and baccalaureate degree, though it doesn’t have to be in dental hygiene. Students seeking an online option can take advantage of Colgate’s Oral Health Network, which offers free live webinars. Hygienists also teach their patients about proper oral care, including brushing techniques and the importance of flossing. To become a registered Dental Hygienist, you need to complete a qualification in Oral Health. How to Become a Dental Hygienist If a person is interested in learning how to become a dental hygienist, it is beneficial that they start planning for their education early. 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. Associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in dental hygiene end in a clinical externship. 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. If you would like to receive further education, you can remain in school and receive a bachelor's or master's degree. The course is offered by dental schools and usually takes two years or up to 27 months full-time. Factors other than experience can cause this number to fluctuate, too. Roles for dental hygienists in the U.S. are set to grow by 19 percent between 2014 and 2024, with 37,400 positions being added during this time. 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. Step 1 Earn a Degree The first thing that you are going to want to do when you decide to become a Dental Hygienist is to figure out which type of degree you want to earn. A number of annual events and publications are also available. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is the only agency approved by the USDE to accredit dental hygiene education programs. Dental Hygienist Resumes. Dental hygiene education programs offer clinical education in the form of supervised patient care experiences. The goal of this video is to help you learn more about the different degrees and schooling routes to become a dental hygienist. A dental hygienist is an oral health professional who works under the supervision of a licensed dentist. Find out how to become a certified industrial hygienist. 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. It requires an exceptional level of motivation and patience — as it comes with a lot of hard work. All states require dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. Degree programs for industrial hygienists m… I also want a well-rounded education covering additional topics outside dental hygiene. Continuing education plays a crucial role in the work of dental hygienists, providing both updated and additional knowledge throughout their careers. Dental hygienists enjoy rewarding careers and have the satisfaction of helping their patients achieve better oral health every day. To get started we suggest you look at the Overviews for each of the major steps. The first, and most important step is to decide that this is the profession for you. Because oral health is the sole focus of these institutions, students gain focused knowledge of the profession through hands-on clinical rotations, classroom teaching and volunteer opportunities. Each state has its own requirements, and these include passing an exam in order to work as a dental hygienist. Many programs are also available as an online degree. This is a healthcare career that doesn’t require a medical or dental degree or even a four-year degree. Contact the particular dental hygiene program of interest to you for specific program requirements. No matter how hard something is, or how easy it may be, it’s your passion that will keep you motivated to keep you going. Industrial Hygienists protect and mitigate the safety of employees in the use of materials and systems. Dental hygienist programs are available in numerous educational settings, ranging from community colleges to specialized dental schools. To become a dental hygienist, you are required to obtain a dental hygiene certification. Research the education and training requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in industrial hygiene. Compare job outlook projections and the number of projected annual job openings with our job growth tool. Individuals with aspirations beyond dentists’ offices are drawn to this option as it opens more doors to research and clinical practice. Depending on the area of dental hygiene students hope to practice, selecting the right degree can make all the difference. This allows hygienists to work in public health programs, conduct research, or pursue other career paths. Ranging from average salary to work-life balance, take time to think about both day-to-day responsibilities and long-term goals. Dental hygienists concentrating in the care of young children take specialized classes related to the development of baby and permanent teeth, how to educate children in good oral health, and other topics affecting pediatric dentistry, including the use of fluoride varnishes and issues surrounding thumb sucking. Hygienists may work in either general or specialty dental clinics, but may also find employment […] How To Become A Dental Hygienist: How To Become A Dental Hygienist | Dental hygienist, Dental The results of two recent peer-reviewed studies that found Listerine and an array of cosmetic and therapeutic mouthwashes kill the novel coronavirus in the laboratory should be approached cautiously. Although there are some degrees available that you can complete in two years, the usual length of an associate degree in three years. A bachelor's degree is standard to work as a certified industrial hygienist, and a master's degree is required for some positions. Currently, 26,000 to 29,000 dental hygienists are practising in Canada. Learn about ADA CERP recognition, look up CERP recognized CE providers and find CE courses. In addition to coursework, students also need to pass a comprehensive examination; other programs also mandate a capstone project and field work. 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. The American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) recognizes an associate or bachelor’s-level education in dental hygiene as being suitable for entry-level positions. After completion of a dental hygiene program, dental hygienists can choose to pursue additional training in such areas as education, business administration, basic sciences, marketing and public health. Basic Life Support CPR Certification. Dental hygienists must be able to both communicate the procedures they will be performing on a patient while also gathering accurate and appropriate medical histories to provide the dentist. This will help them down the road as they get into their focused dental hygienist studies. Associate-level degrees in dental hygiene are most commonly found at community colleges, dental schools, technical institutions and universities. Whether serving patients with special health care needs or learning how lasers factor in to oral health, continuing education courses help keep dental hygienists at the forefront of knowledge. Posted in Articles, Dental Hygienist.. Debbie Bishop, Dental Hygienist, Brady Dental Care The Route to Becoming a Dental Hygienist. While this national average provides an idea of how the field is progressing, these numbers may be higher or lower in different states. They have a wide range of tasks including safety contro… How to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Most dental hygiene programs require that you possess a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate before applying. Sufficient knowledge and ability are the prerequisite to become a dental hygienist, and also the key to be able to play a helping role in the work of a dental hygienist. Compare this list to qualities commonly exhibited by dental hygienists who love their work and see if it’s a match. Due to population increases and preventative care being placed at a higher priority, … The length of time it takes to become a dental hygienist can depend on several factors, such as where you study, which course you take, and if you have a specialism. A dental hygienist is a licensed oral healthcare provider who works closely with a licensed dentist. If you wish to work full … This certification will take two years at a minimum. Courses cover topics like periodontal health and preventative oral hygiene while also delving into studies of curriculum design and student assessment. While the path taken to become a dental hygienist may be different for each individual, there are some good guidelines for how to make the journey easier and less time-consuming. Upon receipt of their license, dental hygienists may use "R.D.H." Most programs show a preference for individuals who have completed at least one year of college. Dental hygienist to dentist. 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. Although concentrations are not as frequent at the associate degree level, many bachelor’s and master’s degrees offer a variety of specializations allowing graduates to focus their professions in a specific area of dental hygiene. Learnhowtobecome.org is an advertising-supported site. Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition, Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations, National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards, Admissions Tests and Dental Exams (ADAT, DAT and NBDE), National Board Dental Exams (INBDE, DLOSCE), Dental Licensure and Continuing Education Maps, Resources for Educating Prospective Dental Students, JADA (The Journal of the American Dental Association), CDT: Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature, Dental Hygienist Education and Training Requirements, Dental Hygienist Additional Resources and Contact Information, National, State and Local Dental Societies. In the dental office, the dentist and the dental hygienist work together to meet the oral health needs of patients. Dental Hygienist Career Requirements The typical degree required is an associate degree in dental hygiene. Find an accredited dental hygienist training program. However, there is a big difference in the amount of schooling required for these roles. They typically also enjoy good work-life balance, as most dental offices maintain normal working hours. 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. How to Become a Dental Hygienist. Use our cou… Anyone wishing to become a dental hygienist in Texas must complete a fingerprint criminal records check. Each of these options provides students with unique learning opportunities, and it’s a good idea for prospective dental hygienists to review their options before committing to a specific program. Dental hygienists use a variety of tools and devices to perform daily tasks. Since each state has its own specific regulations regarding their responsibilities, the range of services performed by hygienists varies from state to state. They must also be well-versed in radiography when using certain types of x-ray equipment. Meet, Play, Learn atADA’s annual meeting. Many of my patients wonder how someone becomes a dental hygienist. Like most careers, becoming a dental hygienist has it’s own set of challenges, highs, and lows. It requires an exceptional level of motivation and patience — as it comes with a lot of hard work. High school-level courses such as health, biology, psychology, chemistry, mathematics and speech will be beneficial in a dental hygiene career. In operation for more than five decades, NDHA supports members through annual events, continuing education opportunities, and scholarship programs. Finding a good program should not prove too … These programs, which take two to three years to complete, are for students who want to get the theoretical knowledge and hands-on training to prepare for an entry-level job, as well as earn the certification needed for employment. 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. To do so, the most common path is to start with a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. No matter what type of work schedule you want, you likely can find … These programs, which typically take about three years to complete, must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, which … Licensure is the strongest form of regulation used today. 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. What does a dental hygienist earn? It's important to recognize that a degree may be required for a career or increase your chances of employment but it is not a guarantee of employment when you complete your degree. Complete your high school studies. You're about to search for degree programs related to a career that you are researching. You can get into this job through a university course. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. Successful passage of the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, a comprehensive written test, Completion of a state-level or regional clinical board examination. Although it is the lengthiest part of becoming a dental hygienist, education is only one of a few requirements most states have. I believe that the key thing to keep in mind is your passion. Dental hygienists are licensed by each state to provide dental hygiene care and patient education. In Ontario, all dental hygienists must have a degree or diploma from one of the dental hygiene programs accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada. University-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. Whether you’re looking to shift into a new career or you are just finishing high school and contemplating your first real job, consider becoming a dental hygienist. Not only can they work in community health but sales, marketing, and research too. The median yearly pay for dental hygienists in the United States was $70,210 in 2012. To become a dental hygienist, you are required to obtain a dental hygiene certification. Assess priorities—if starting a career as soon as possible is important, a certificate or associate degree program may be a good fit. Students electing this path often have their eyes set on advanced research roles, or clinical practice within public health or educational health programs. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. Accredited dental hygiene programs have demonstrated that they meet the highest quality standards for education and therefore help ensure future patient safety. Educational options at dental school range from certificates to master’s degrees, offering different types of students the ability to complete degrees. These dental hygienist programs are designed to prepare candidates to provide delegated dental hygiene services, including providing preventative services and counseling individual patients and groups on oral health. Whether teaching a kindergartner how long they should brush their teeth or helping a senior citizen properly care for their dentures, dental hygienists work directly with myriad patients to provide basic oral health care and instruct them on how to keep their whitest and healthiest smiles. Investing in better oral health for all. 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. If you want to become a registered dental hygienist in alternative practice (RDHAP) in California, you must either complete 120 semester units of college coursework or graduate from a Bachelor of Science program in dental hygiene (see step 7). Currently in Ontario, there are 18 colleges across the province that run accredited programs. In order to become a Dental Hygienist, you must pass through a series of steps. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Dental Hygienist. Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today. Master’s level degrees prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field, such as teaching or research. 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. People rely on well-trained dental hygienists to keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy, making dental hygienists a particularly in-demand healthcare specialist. Many students who already hold an associate degree elect to use their credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Leave any questions you may have in the comments or shoot me an email! What Does a Dental Hygienist Do? This means it can take anywhere from two to six years to become a dental hygienist. 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. Becoming a dental hygienist can be a rewarding, fulfilling career path. Like most careers, becoming a dental hygienist has it’s own set of challenges, highs, and lows. 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