Question: I’m interested in becoming a dental hygienist. What steps do I need to take?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow by 38 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will continue to spur the demand for preventative dental services, which are often provided by dental hygienists.” (source) So you might be wondering if this profession is right for you, and how you can become a dental hygienist.
First of all, you should know what the job entails and determine if this kind of work is for you. Dental hygienists work side-by-side with dentists to provide preventative oral health care. This includes cleaning a patients’ teeth and talking to patients about good teeth and gum care. As a dental hygienist, you could be working on a dental office, a hospital, a public health clinic, research facility or a dental school.
To become a dental hygienist, you need at minimum an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. Dental hygienists must be licensed, and licensing requirements vary by state. Two and four year degrees are both options. Two-year programs offered at community colleges and technical colleges will lead to an associate’s degree. At a university, you have the option of completing a four-year program to receive a bachelor’s degree from a dental hygienist school.
If you have more questions about becoming a dental hygienist, contact a professional at DentaLux today, or leave your comments and questions below!