How do I Become a Dental Hygienist?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2018
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While the path taken to become a dental hygienist may be different for each individual, there are some good guidelines for how to make the journey easier and less time-consuming. Most of these involve educational choices made when a person is younger. While many may not know they want to become a dental hygienist in high school, those that have an interest in the medical or scientific fields will definitely have an advantage in the long run.

The most appropriate classes for the individual wishing to become a dental hygienist are those involving sciences. In particular, biology and chemistry are especially important. To a lesser extent, mathematics classes can also be a big help, if for no other reason than to train the mind to think logically.

Many of the available schools to become a dental hygienist are located close to major population centers. In most cases, all an individual needs is a two-year degree and he or she can start cleaning teeth for a local dentist. The job market for the dental hygienist is relatively good. It continues to be a fast-growing segment as the demands for the doctor's time are usually reserved for more serious matters.


The length of time to become a dental hygienist may vary by state and by how fast the individual is able to obtain the necessary credits. Generally speaking, it is usually possible to get through all of the schooling needed for the degree and certification in not much longer than two years. This assumes the student is attending classes full time.

There are a number of reasons why someone would choose such a career path. First, many may have aspirations of getting into the dental field but may not want to go through many years of school. The requirements to become a dental hygienist are far less stringent than become a practitioner of general dentistry. Second, a hygienist gets to work with people. For some people this is an important job perk. Also, the hours at a dentist office are usually favorable to the times when most people would like to work.

The dental hygienist also makes fairly good money for a non-four year graduate. In fact, a dental hygienist may be one of the most highly paid positions that can be obtained through a two-year program. Further, those who want continue on after graduation may be able to earn even more money with a bachelor's degree.



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