How To Become A Dental Hygienist
Dental hygiene focuses on the prevention of serious dental conditions and its importance as a health care service is increasing. Many people want to know how to become a dental hygienist because this occupation is growing – some 68,500 new jobs are expected to be created by 2020. Learn how to become such a dental professional using this guide.
You need to earn an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. This is how to become a dental hygienist. There are certificate programs and ones leading to bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees. Even though higher degrees than an associate’s degree are not required for licensure and for getting a job in a dental office or clinic, they are necessary for those who want a career in teaching, research and/or public and school health programs. In general, it is a good idea to have a career plan so that you can decide on the best type of program for you.
There are various dental hygienist schools to select from. Programs in this area of dental health are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, career colleges and specialized dental schools and health schools. The choice is quite large indeed, but it is important that you choose an accredited school. Confirm that the program which is you pick is approved by CODA (the Commission on Dental Accreditation). You can search for accredited schools on the website of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA).
After completing an accredited program, you must earn a license in the state where you want to practice this occupation. All states require licensure. This is how to become a dental hygienist. In order to earn a license, you must pass a written exam plus a practical exam in most cases. Often, licensure applicants have to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. You need to check the specific requirements in your state to know exactly how to become a licensed dental professional.
What will happen after you become a dental hygienist? Most jobs are available in the offices of dentists, but you can also find positions in outpatient care centers and in the offices of physicians. The states offering the largest number of jobs are Texas, California, Florida and New York. The mean annual salary for this occupation is $69,760. Generally, you will earn considerably more than dental assistants or a medical assistant. The top paying states are California, District of Columbia, Washington and Nevada.
Now you know how to become a dental hygienist. Good luck!