Dental Hygienist Schools

Dental Hygienist Schools

The first step prospective dental hygienists must take to secure their future in this steadily growing field is to successfully complete a dental hygiene program. Although the requirements for these programs vary by school and state, most dental hygienist schools require applicants to either have a high school diploma or a GED and to have maintained a C average in high school. Some also require a basic high school background in math, biology, English and chemistry; although this seems excessive for some applicants looking into how to become a dental hygienist, most states require these courses for high school graduation so it is not an exceptionally rigorous requirement.

There are currently 301 dental hygienist schools accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation in the United States and most are run through community colleges, technical schools, or universities. Although there is no strict preference for how to become a dental hygienist in terms of degree level pursued, most dental hygiene programs provide an associate’s degree upon completion. For those interested in administration, research, or teaching, however, it can be beneficial in the long run to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Although it takes longer to earn a more advanced degree, the payoff can be significant in terms of career opportunities later in life. However, since practicing dental hygienists can work towards higher degrees while working part-time at a job acquired with their associate’s degree, there is no need to complete ten years of education before pursuing a job.

Before deciding on which of the dental hygienist schools to apply to, potential dental hygienists should be aware of the coursework they will be required to do at each school. Although applicants looking at how to become a dental hygienist can be overwhelmed by an intimidating list of classes that often includes microbiology, anatomy and histology, the inclusion of a clinical and laboratory component in these courses often makes them much easier to handle successfully. With the demand for dental hygiene workers expected to increase significantly over the next several years, the decision to embark on this rewarding career path is clearly an easy one.

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