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do you have to major in dental hygiene to be a dental hygienist?

I know that you can major in dental hygiene but is there another major you can get a degree in before going into the dental hygiene program? dental dental-hygienist dental-hygiene

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Subject: Career question for you


3 answers

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John’s Answer

You are correct Ryen, According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , the MINIMUM educational requirement for work as a dental hygienist typically consists of a 2-YEAR CERTIFICATE PROGRAM or 2-YEAR ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE program in dental hygiene from an institution accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. This level of education will qualify aspiring dental hygienists to pursue state licensure, which all states require. Program applicants must have a high school education. More advanced degrees are available for those wishing to move into dental hygiene research or work in public health programs.

Certificate programs in dental hygiene can be completed in 2-3 years. The curriculum combines classroom learning with a clinical laboratory component. In this manner, students can gain practical experience before entering the workforce. This requirement teaches students how to treat sensitive gums and tooth decay, record patient histories and inform patients on proper oral care. As part of their classroom education, students will gain knowledge in dental sciences and commonly used dental techniques. The majority of dental hygiene certificate programs comprise core courses in such subjects as:
• Dental hygiene
• Dental pharmacology
• Oral and general pathology
• Periodontology

Many associate's degree programs in dental hygiene also include clinical experiences, which allow students to gain work under the supervision of a dental health care professional. Students can observe dentists who work in specialty areas, such as periodontal and preventive dental care. In their clinical experiences, students will learn how to seal cavities with lubricant, apply teeth fluorides, conduct oral x-rays and teach patients better dental care. An Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene degree program offers two years of education and training in labs and classroom environments. The classroom portion of the program features common courses, such as:
• Oral biology
• Community dental health
• Dental materials
• Nutrition in dentistry
• Legal responsibility in dentistry

A certificate program in dental hygiene offers the same training as an associate's degree program, only without the general education requirements necessary for a degree. Hygienists may choose to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree, especially if they are seeking career advancement or a teaching position.

To serve in the profession, dental hygienists must obtain licensure from their state's board of dentistry. In most states, licensure entails completion of an accredited dental hygiene program. Candidates must also pass a state-administered clinical exam and – in all states except Alabama – the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, a written exam administered by the ADA. Most states also require passage of an additional exam that covers dental law.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 11% job growth for dental hygienists for the decade of 2018-2028 which is considerably faster than for the job market as a whole. The average Dental Hygienist salary in the United States is $76,000 as of August 27, 2020, but the range typically falls between $66,000 and $86,000. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

Hope this was Helpful Ryen

John recommends the following next steps:

Time management skills: Dental hygienists must be able to manage their time appropriately and work efficiently. Their schedules are very tight and they have a lot to do for each patient in a short period of time. Planning ahead, being organized and being able to prioritize tasks are essential skills for a dental hygienist.
Physical endurance: Dental hygiene is a physically demanding profession that requires the provider to be able to repeat motions of bending/twisting when working with patients as well as fine and gross motor skills to grasp, handle, control instruments and feel for objects. Vision and hearing are essential as a dental hygienist must be able to see details of objects (colors and shades) and hear various sounds and recognize the difference between sounds.
People skills: Although the profession requires technical skills to perform job related duties, a dental hygienist must interact with patients in a very close and personal setting-in all reality they are having interactions with patients as they are essentially laying on their laps! A dental hygienist’s job is to provide a comfortable and stress-free experience; this can only be accomplished by having qualities or traits that enable the dental hygienist to establish an authentic and genuine rapport with patients.
Thank You for your continued support Dexter. Every problem is a gift – without problems we wouldn't grow, It's in these moments of decision that our destiny is shaped. John Frick
Thank you so much Eileen E.
Nothing is impossible Eileen, the word itself says “I’m possible” John Frick
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Judy’s Answer

In most states, you can become a dental hygienist with either an associate or BS in dental hygiene, passing a national certification exam and passing a practicum given by your state board of dentistry. You can have any additional education that you want prior or after. Once you are licensed, you are required to obtain continued education (usually including CPR certification) and yearly renewal of you license through the state board of dentistry. Since you cannot practice without completion of the DH program, I would consider that be your priority if that is what you choose to do as a profession. It is a heavy science background with chemistry, biology, microbiology, anatomy etc. In fact, a DH curriculum can set you up for continuing your education in many other scientific fields. In a few states where there was a severe shortage of hygienist, an apprenticeship program was initiated but you still had to eventually pass the national and state exams. I'm not sure they even have those programs anymore. I attended the program at Louisiana State University School of Allied Health along with dental students, physical therapist, occupational therapists etc. where I received a BS. It was an excellent preparation for both my hygiene career and a second career 20 yrs. later. The science basics helped me do very well later when I got a bachelors and then masters in nursing. As an oncology nurse now, I use my hygiene knowledge and 20 yrs of experience on every patient. Oral issues are often symptoms or manifestations of many diseases. A healthy mouth is often a good reflection of overall health as well.
Some of my hygiene classmates still work as hygienist after 4 decades and others went on to do everything from becoming a dentist, an obstetrician, a CPA, and several became teachers. Two work or did work at LSU Dental school in different capacities. I personally don't think you can go wrong pursuing a career in hygiene. I found it to be rewarding despite the fact that went on to something else after 20 yrs of practice. Good luck!

Judy recommends the following next steps:

Visit the closest dental hygiene school to get a general idea of what is involved. My first 60 hrs were in regular college prior to being accepted into the hygiene program.
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Cassy’s Answer

Hi Ryen, yes you do need to study the dental hygienist major. At least you need the license to be qualified to work as a dental hygienist.