If you are interested in working in the dental field, you have probably wondered “How long does it take to become a dental hygienist?” This dental occupation requires that you have a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of relevant experience. Most dental schools require a one-year associate degree prior to being considered for a full-fledged dental program. If you are looking to become a dental hygienist, keep reading to learn how to meet the requirements to become one.
A dental hygienist works with dentists and often has close contact with patients. They perform oral examinations and check for tooth decay. The hygienist may also instruct and/or mentor new students in the art of oral hygiene. While most hygienists operate in a private or public dental facility, there are some who work at schools, hospitals, military facilities and even prisons.
Coursework To Become a Dental Hygienist
The average length of a coursework to become a hygienist varies, with some programs taking as little as one year and others as many as three. The longer the course, the higher your chances of earning a degree in this health profession. Generally, a bachelor’s degree is required in order to be accepted into most professional schools. However, you may find that there are institutions that offer online courses that will meet your needs better.
Once you have completed the required coursework and you are accredited, you can enroll in an approved program to obtain a license in dental hygiene. Each state may have different educational requirements, licensing process requirements and other licensing requirements. For example, in Texas dental hygienists must take the Texas Medical License Exam. The Texas State Licensing Board requires students to pass a written examination prior to issuance of license.
Hygienists Are Then Eligible For Employment
Once licensed, hygienists are then eligible for employment. To qualify for a position as a hygienist, you will need to complete either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Many community colleges are able to provide a two-year degree in dental hygiene that will prepare you to enter the job field. Others require a four-year degree at an accredited university that will allow you to earn a bachelor’s degree as well as a license to practice.
In some states, you will not need to have earned a degree to be employed as a hygienist. In these states, you will be required to have at least twenty hours of practical experience, including working at least twenty hours under the supervision of a licensed dentist, before becoming certified. Some states require experience in the application of anesthesia or laser procedures. Others do not have any requirements for the type of experience needed in order to become a dentist assistant. You can check with your state licensing board to determine what technical colleges you will need to fulfill state certification requirements.
If you would rather not go to an accredited school and would prefer to earn your dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting degree on your own, there are options available to you. You can take classes at vocational or trade schools, general colleges or universities. While earning an associate degree, you will learn all the general education courses necessary to become a dental hygienist. However, you can choose to specialize in one particular aspect of the dental profession. In this case, you would need to complete additional coursework in that area.
In order to successfully complete the course requirements to become a hygienist, you will need to pass a clinical study exam. This exam must be taken as part of your degree program or through the option of adding it after, if you have already completed the required clinical training. The clinical study exam is usually administered by the state board of dental examiners. Once you successfully complete the exam, you will be required to take a state-administered oral examination.