How do you become a dental hygienist?

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The first step, as with many new career paths, is to go to school. Entry-level dental hygiene programs are available at community colleges or technical schools, according to How to Become. However, it is important to note whether the program you have chosen is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). On average, dental hygiene programs last two years and culminate in an associate degree. However, if you want to pursue a higher level medical education or specialization, it is also necessary to receive a bachelor of science or master’s degree, according to Online U.

As part of their training, future hygienists will study everything from biomedical science to dental software, learning how to use the tools and manage patient pain. Like any medical student, members of the program are required to perform regular, supervised work in dental clinics (via Concorde). Upon completion of coursework at a CODA-certified school, students may apply to take the National Council Dental Examination, Parts I and II, tests that require a fee of up to $150. After passing with a score of at least 75% (congratulations!), it’s time to apply for your official license, a process that will depend on your state’s requirements, according to Best Colleges.

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