STEP 1: DENTAL HYGIENIST DEGREE
Dental hygienist education requirements usually include holding an undergraduate degree. Many dental hygienists hold an associates degree, such as an Associate for Applied Science in Dental Hygiene. Two-year degree programs are available at community colleges, vocational institutes, or dental schools. Programs will focus on teaching you to use dental software, tools, and machines. Courses may include oral pathology, dental materials, radiology, infection control, pain management, periodontics, community dental health, and pharmacology. You'll need to develop solid interpersonal skills; dental hygienists work with patients on a daily basis and often have to explain dental procedures. You must also be compassionate, since patients may be in severe pain or be fearful of dental procedures.
STEP 2: DENTAL HYGIENIST LICENSE
Dental hygienists must be licensed in all U.S. states. Eligibility requirements vary, but nearly all states call for applicants to hold postsecondary credentials from accredited dental hygiene programs. Other requirements can include CPR certification, school transcripts, and/or letters of recommendation. Qualified candidates sit for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, a written exam administered by the American Dental Association, and then complete a regional or state clinical board examination. One may practice as a dental hygienist with an associate's degree and state licensure, or a certificate and state licensure.
DENTAL HYGIENIST SALARY AND CAREER OUTLOOK
According to the BLS, jobs for dental hygienists are expected to grow by 6% over the period of time between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than average for all job fields. The average Dental Hygienist salary in the United States is $75,000 as of November 25, 2020, but the range typically falls between $68,000 and $86,500. 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. Becoming a dental hygienist can be a fulfilling career option for those with a passion for the job or those who want to enter the dental field with minimal education. To obtain a job in this profession, meet the necessary educational and licensure requirements so that you can begin helping patients of all ages.
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