I want to be a dental hygenist and how many years will that be? Also after I achieved that I wanted to be an orthodontist so how long will that take?
Hello again, Adenike's! Good choice in careers!!! First, I do have to tell you that to be an Orthodontist you MUST be a Dentist. But, to be a Dentist you do not have to be a Dental Hygienist. You will want to start looking at Dental Schools near you or where you would like to go.
For DH it's normally a 2 year program at either a Junior/Community College or University, but there are Pre-requisites that you need to take prior to applying (I answered that in a previous message). So, DH is usually 4 years of school. Dentist is 8, Ortho is 10-11.
If you want to be an Orthodontist the most, then start by seeking information from your high school counselors. I can tell you what I do know about working at a Dental School, most Dental Schools do not accept credit from a Junior or Community College. They are looking for students who attain very high GPAs at the 4-year University/College Level. With that in mind, if you feel that you have a few courses that you need more experience in prior to attending a 4-year University/College, by all means attend a 2 year school first to get those courses under your belt so that you fully understand them prior to attending a 4 year school.
Dental Schools are VERY competitive to get into, meaning that they have a lot of people applying and only so many spaces available every year, and GPAs must be very high. The University of Detroit Mercy, School of Dentistry has a high number of spaces available at 144. I do not want to discourage you, but Dental School is very tough and you need to be prepared to make sure that it is the correct course for you! The students that are accepted here are very driven and motivated, they worked hard to get here (4 years of college before Dental School, then 4 years of Dental School). Dental School isn't a lower grade of Medical School, it takes just as much smarts and ambition to get in and graduate as Medical School does, it's just that we only deal with the mouth (mainly) and head and neck areas of the body.
To become an Orthodontist you would first have to finish a Bachelors Degree at a 4 year University/College, then attend Dental School, take and pass all of the State Board Exams to get your license in the state you choose to practice in, then apply and complete a 2-3 year Orthodontic Program. So, you total amount of schooling will be 10-11 years before you can practice as an Orthodontist. It's very rewarding work and I know people who have gone through it, they LOVE IT!!! Just like Dental School, Ortho programs have a very limited number of spots available, you're Undergraduate (Bachelors) and Dental School grades must be top notch to be accepted into them!
Good luck, Adenike's!!!! And have fun!!! Here is the URL for the school I attended for Dental Hygiene and work at currently: http://dental.udmercy.edu/