How Do You Become a Dental Hygienist?

Joining a health training course is a calling. So, before enrolling, be sure if you have the calling. And if you have it, sit back. This article is going to delve into all things dental hygienist–especially when it comes to the training duration. The following information is all you need as far as becoming a dental hygienist is concerned.


Associates versus Bachelor’s Degrees


If you want to become dental hygienists, you have 2 options. They include:

  • Associate’s degree programs
  • Bachelor’s degree programs

In most cases, an associate degree program will take about 2 years. However, it must be on a full-time basis. On the other hand, Bachelor’s Degrees may take up to 4 years. However, bachelor’s degrees qualify for better, high paying jobs. The extra time you spend includes practical as well as clinical work–helping you get firsthand experience in this area.


How to Become a Licensed Dental Hygienist


Any dental hygienist must be licensed. Plus, you need to take an exam with the National Board Hygiene to qualify to be a dental hygienist. If you don’t pass in this exam, the board will give you another opportunity to retake it. Additionally, you must have to undergo a rigorous vetting exercise by the board of that state. In this test, you will be subjected to general questions in the areas of oral health and teeth cleaning.


Field Work


A dental hygienist is required to spend time in the dental field. This is aimed at equipping you with the necessary skills. In most cases, you will be working in a dental office. In some cases, you might be required to work in a clinic. Your work will be to receive patients, examine their teeth condition, then send them to a dentist. Other duties of a dental hygienist are to clean the patient’s teeth, identify any issue, and recommend if they need a deeper cleaning. For patients who cannot afford to see a dentist, they can visit a clinic and see a dental hygienist. Here, you will be tasked with offering affordable teeth care. Other dental hygienists can also work in community-based clinics.


Returning Back to School


After working for some years, consider going back to college to further your studies. Plus, if your training is an associate degree, you are allowed to transfer credit to the bachelor’s degree minus quitting your full-time job. It will only take 2 years to complete your course.

If you have a bachelor’s degree, consider taking a master’s degree. With this approach, you qualify to be a tutor and even open your own clinic or dental office.

The primary role of a dental hygienist is to help people take care of their teeth–which plays a key role in restoring their smiles.


The Bottom-Line


Dental Hygiene is a well-paying career. However, it involves intense training. The above information will help you understand the field better. From how long it takes to study to choosing between bachelor’s degree and associate degree, this is the information that will help you kick start your dental hygiene career.


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Written by HealthStatus Crew
Medical Writer & Editor

HealthStatus teams with authors from organizations to share interesting ideas, products and new health information to our readers.

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