Dental Hygiene Degrees

Dental Hygiene Degrees

While an aspiring dental assistant does not need a formal education, many employers seek new hires with some kind of training behind them. Dental assistant programs typically lead to certificates and are short-term career preparation programs.

National certification is not a requirement in all states, and requirements vary widely. Most states require licensure and/or a separate examination for assistants that perform x-rays.

All states, however, require dental hygienists to be licensed. Hygienists typically earn an associate degree, though some programs offer bachelor and even master degrees.

Hygienists must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination administered by the American Dental Association's Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations. License applicants must also pass a clinical examination that is administered at either the state or regional level.

Many states require hygienists to complete continuing education courses in order to maintain licensure. The New Jersey State Board of Dentistry requires 20 hours of continuing education for every two-year licensure period, for example. Aspiring hygienists and assistants should familiarize themselves with state requirements before pursuing an education to ensure they take the right steps to be able to work in their state after graduation.

Links to state licensing boards:

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