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Do You Have To Go To College For Dental Hygienist

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Dhyg 132 Periodontics Ii

How To Become a Dental Hygienist
  • Hours:9 hours LEC 27 hours LAB
  • Prerequisite:DHYG 121 and 127 with grades of “C” or better
  • Enrollment Limitation:Enrollment in the dental hygiene program.
  • Catalog Date:January 1, 2023

This course develops clinical skills applicable in the treatment of patients with advanced periodontal disease. The course includes demonstrations and performance of tasks on appropriate laboratory materials. It also includes working with a live patient and with a periodontist in the clinical setting using advanced skills, including administration of local anesthesia and soft tissue curettage. Students will synthesize the results of assessments and design and implement treatment for a periodontally involved patient. Soft Tissue Curettage includes three hours of didactic and preclinical instruction.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

How Do I Choose A Dental Hygienist Program

It is important to find a Dental Hygiene program that meets your needs, both personally and professionally. As you research the various programs, ask yourself how much time you can commit to an education and what your long-term career goals are. Find a program that supports your answers. For example, if you determine a long-term career in dental research or public health leadership, an advanced degree program may be a better fit than an associate degree. However, if you are looking to launch a dental hygiene career fast, an associate degree in Dental Hygiene may be the best fit, as it takes just 2-3 years to complete.

Most importantly, look for a program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Again, this is a requirement if youd like to pursue licensure and maintain credibility in the field.

Three Different Entry Paths

There are three educational paths for dental hygienists, according to the American Dental Hygienists Association: entry-level certificate, bachelors degree and masters degree. The entry-level pathway requires that you obtain a certificate from an accredited program, often paired with an associate degree at a community college, technical school, four-year college, university or dedicated dental school.

If you would like to work in a corporate or government setting and do more than just assist a dentist in her practice, you can complete a bachelors or masters degree. Masters degrees are required for high-level research work.

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Can I Reenter The Program If I Withdraw

Students who desire to withdraw from a course must initiate the discussion with the Dental Hygiene Program Director. Subsequent result will be dismissal from the Dental Hygiene program. Withdrawal from the College consists of withdrawing from all enrolled courses. Students who withdraw from all courses cease to be LCCC students for the semester from which they have withdrawn. A student who stops attending class without following the withdrawal procedure continues to be enrolled. Depending on the reason for the students withdrawal/absence, a student who wishes to reenter the Dental Hygiene sequence after a years absence must make his/her intention known to the Dental Hygiene Program Director and to the Allied Health and Nursing advisor as soon as possible. Reentering students are considered for acceptance based on available space, and faculty review of students status, and are NOT automatically accepted. If the student who has reapplied has been accepted, the student must attend all Dental Hygiene courses and adhere to all the requirements, and protocols stated in the courses syllabi. The student must register for any and all Dental Hygiene Courses that were not completed successfully. Students seeking reentry after receiving a final grade in any Dental Hygiene course of a D or F can reapply one time to the program but are NOT automatically accepted.

Types Of Dental Hygienist Degrees

Dental Assisting, Meet the Students, CCCC

The minimum level of education degree for a dental hygienist is an associates degree, though bachelors and masters degrees are also options for those who want to move up in the field. The length of time it takes to complete your education depends on the degree you choose. The typical time frame is two to four years.

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How To Get A Dental Hygiene License

To earn your license you must complete an education program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation . According to the American Dental Association , there are approximately 330 CODA-accredited dental hygiene programs in the United States. The American Dental Hygenists Association also has information on the different types of programs available, including entry-level programs, re-entry programs , online or distance-leaning programs, degree completion programs and master of dental science programs.

Most programs are offered though community colleges and take a minimum of two years to complete, culminating in an associates degree. Some university-based dental hygiene programs offer bachelors or even masters degrees, which may be necessary for some more advanced career opportunities.

Financial aid for students may be available through federal student aid or from colleges and universities directly. In addition, the ADHA Institute for Oral Health offers scholarships, grants and fellowships for dental hygiene students.

Hygienists must be licensed by a state before they may practice there. Almost all states will require you to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to the state licensing examination before they are eligible to practice. The scope of duties for which yo may be licensed may vary slightly from state to state. Generally, you will also be required to obtain a CPR certification.

Choosing A Dental Hygiene Degree

Given the different types of dental hygiene degrees available and the various career opportunities they can lead to it’s beneficial to first consider your career goals and personal circumstances before deciding which educational path to take. Below are some factors that can help you decide which dental hygiene degree is right for you.

Regardless of the type of degree you choose, it’s essential that you enroll in a program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation Admission . CODA is an organization that assesses the quality of dental education programs. A CODA-accredited degree meets national standards for academic excellence and is a requirement for employment in the field of dentistry.

Annual tuition fees for dental hygiene programs can differ depending on various factors, including whether you’re enrolled in a private or public institution and if you qualify for in-state tuition rates. You may also have to pay for costs, such as transportation, housing, and meal plans. Given this, it’s important to select a degree program that is affordable. In most cases, applying for financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships can help you pay for school.

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Dental Hygienist Associates Degree

Associates degrees provide you with the necessary level of education thats required for licensing. These degrees are typically earned at community colleges or technical schools and take about two years to complete.

Along with classroom coursework that covers the topics outlined by CODA,youll also complete supervised clinical experience over the course of your program. In your first year, as you begin providing clinical services, you should acquire between 8 and 12 hours of hands-on practice per week. This should increase to between 12 and 16 hours of dental hygiene practice in your second year.

Dental Hygiene Program Admission Process

PROs and CONs of being a Dental Hygienist

Admission into dental hygiene programs is very competitive due to the limited number of students each program accepts. For example, 80-100 students may apply to a dental hygiene program that only has 20-30 seats available.

The selection process is usually based on a point system. Points are awarded for specific requirements, including but not limited to:

  • general education/dental hygiene prerequisite courses
  • high school or college GPA
  • completion of a dental assistant program and/or dental assistant work experience

Applicants with the highest number of points are admitted into the program.

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How To Choose A Dental Hygiene School

There are many dental hygienist programs to choose from, and it can be difficult to select the right option for your needs. Its helpful to consider these factors:


There are programs across the country, but location is certainly a consideration. Are you looking for something close to your current home? Are you willing to relocate?

If youre considering a move, its wise to factor in the job market. Do the locales youre interested in have opportunities for dental hygienists? How does the pay compare to other markets in the country?

You may make connections and friendships during your education that could prove valuable in your career, so consider the long-term prospects before deciding on a new city or area.


The Commission on Dental Accreditation is the only agency that the United States Department of Education allows to accredit dental and dental-related education programs at the post-secondary level.

Any dental hygienist educational program you choose should be accredited by CODA. If youre unsure or have any questions about accreditation, CODAs website can be found here.

Program Type & Career Path

Depending on how much time and tuition youre able to invest, and what youre looking to achieve, there are generally three paths to choose from when it comes to selecting an educational program in dental hygiene.

What Dental Hygienists Do

Youll often spend more time with a dental hygienist than you will with a dentist, based on the amount of work they do before and during the dentists visit. Dental hygienists often examine your teeth before the dentist makes his inspection. This helps the dentist know what to expect. Hygienists inspect, assess and evaluate your oral health as the first part of an exam.

After the dentist does his work and makes his assessment, the hygienist will give you more detail about the steps you need to take to take care of your teeth, tongue, and gums. A big part of a hygienists job is to perform teeth cleaning and flossing.

Depending on the size of the office, the hygienist might also answer phones, schedule appointments, enter information about your visit into the practices computer records, schedule follow-up visits, and handle insurance and payment information.

Hygienists with more training and experience can go to work in a corporate setting, acting as sales reps for companies that make dental equipment, becoming product researchers or working as corporate educators or administrators.

Some hygienists with bachelors and masters degrees work in medical research, public education or become dental hygiene program instructors.

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Dhyg 131 Clinical Dental Hygiene Iii

  • Prerequisite:DHYG 121 and 127 with grades of “C” or better
  • Enrollment Limitation:Enrollment in the dental hygiene program.
  • Catalog Date:January 1, 2023

This course provides continued clinical experience in the provision of comprehensive dental hygiene services to a wide variety of patients with different medical and dental needs. The course focuses on progressive development of skills in areas of dental hygiene assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, preventive and therapeutic services, and evaluation and time management. Students must complete the required number of patients for the semester.

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • demonstrate increased proficiency in efficient handling and evaluation of the prophylaxis patient.
  • demonstrate proficiency in the administration of local anesthesia and soft tissue curettage.
  • demonstrate increased technical ability for exposing, processing, and evaluating full-mouth radiographs.
  • demonstrate beginning proficiency in the selection, development, and implementation of treatment plans for periodontally-involved patients.
  • demonstrate the ability to identify and analyze the dietary needs of a patient at risk for dental caries.
  • demonstrate satisfactory performance in professionalism.
  • demonstrate satisfactory performance in clinical proficiency exams.
  • complete the minimum number of patients and services listed in the syllabus.

Online Dental Hygiene Programs

The Ultimate Guide

Online programs do exist, however keep in mind that dental hygiene is a hands-on field. You might be able to enjoy the flexibility of taking basic courses online, but youll still need to complete in-person clinical experience to prepare you for the duties of the role.

The exception to this rule could be a degree-completion program. Since you enter this type of program having already completed your clinical experience while earning your associates degree, it could be possible to earn your bachelors entirely online.

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Dhyg 295 Independent Studies In Dental Hygiene

  • Enrollment Limitation:Enrollment in the dental hygiene program or a license dental professional obtaining continuing education.
  • Catalog Date:January 1, 2023

This course is designed to provide a mechanism for current dental hygiene students or licensed professionals to complete independent studies in dental hygiene education. The course is designed to allow for three uses supplemental dental hygiene clinic time for currently enrolled dental hygiene students, remediation dental hygiene clinic time for currently enrolled dental hygiene students, or continuing education for licensed dental professionals. Continuing education from dental professionals is a mandated training requirement as a condition of continued employment. .

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • show improvement in the subject areas agreed upon in the special studies agreement.

Find Your First Dental Hygienist Job

Once you have earned your degree and become a licensed dental hygienist, its time to find your first job!

The employment outlook for dental hygienists is bright, with employment expected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, so there are many opportunities to have a career helping people achieve good oral care.*

Learn more about our dental hygiene bachelor’s degree program, available at our Minneapolis campus

1. The Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting and the Diploma in Dental Assisting programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678. The Commission’s web address is: . Consequently, graduates are eligible to take the examinations leading to certified dental assistant certification through the Dental Assisting National Board .

Classes Start March 6th

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Career Options And Employers

Private dental offices are the primary employers of hygienists. In these settings, practicing in close collaboration with other health professionals, dental hygienists are involved in the assessment of oral health and the diagnosis, treatment, control and prevention of oral diseases. Additional services may include oral cancer screening, dental charting, counseling about nutrition, and taking and developing radiographs. They may also perform similar duties while working in hospitals, schools, prison facilities, public health clinics or nursing homes.

While clinical settings are the most common employment situations, there are other opportunities for professionals who want to move beyond clinical work.

Some hygienists become corporate representatives or even entrepreneurs, marketing dental products or services, working as consultants, or developing oral health products.

Research opportunities are also available, through college and universities, corporations, nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies. Hygienists in these settings may be employed to conduct consumer research, or to test the efficacy of new dental products, procedures or theories.

Many also enter the field of administration, applying their experience to office management, direction of education programs, or heading corporate sales.

Dental Hygienist Masters Degree

Dental Health : How to Become a Dental Hygienist

If youre looking to teach, conduct research, or work at an administrative level, a masters degree in dental hygiene might be the best option to pursue. These degrees could lead to higher-level roles like oral disease prevention specialists, community program directors, or leaders of dental health and education programs. Masters degrees in dental hygiene typically take 12 years and require the completion of a capstone project.

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Dhyg 112 Periodontics I

  • Prerequisite:DHYG 101, 103, 104, 107, and 109 with grades of “C” or better
  • Enrollment Limitation:Enrollment in the dental hygiene program.
  • Catalog Date:January 1, 2023

This is a course in periodontics that includes the identification of the normal periodontium and recognition of deviations from normal. It includes the etiology and principles of periodontal disease, examination procedures, treatment, and preventive measures.

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

Lowering The Educational Hurdle Between You And Your Dental Hygienist License

Of course, theres one glaring difference between you and those hygienists: they hold a state license to practice as a healthcare professional. In nearly every state, holding a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program is required for licensure, and in most cases, that means earning an associates at minimum.

An associates program can take two years and, according to the American Dental Education Association, cost an average of $22,692. Although an increasing number of degrees are available with online courses to make things more convenient, the expense is often increased even further by the fact that school time will be cutting into your work hours if you can even continue working at all, because, dont forget, youre going to have homework too.

Earning an associates the old fashioned way can add up to a lot of loans to pay off and losing a couple years of earning potential at the same time.

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Can I Complete The Program On A Part

No. There is no option to complete the program on a part-time basis. The two -year Dental Hygiene program is considered to be a full-time day program. The program is approximately 68 weeks long including one summer term between the first and second year.

Most students complete all of the general education courses including the science support courses Anatomy and Physiology I, Anatomy and Physiology II, General Organic/Biochemistry, General Microbiology prior to beginning the dental hygiene curriculum.

The dental science information from these courses is integrated within each course, and is a significant component of clinical dental hygiene. As students observe, interpret, and analyze the data they are collecting from radiographic exposures, charting and examinations, they are studying disease transmission, making clinical decisions and formulating dental hygiene diagnoses, and treatment plans. Researching and learning about the dental hygiene curriculum enables the student to understand the care a dental hygiene practitioner can make in contributing to a patients overall wellbeing.

The completion of any science support course work does not ensure an applicant he/she will gain formal entrance into dental hygiene.

Upon successful completion of the Dental Hygiene Program an Associate Degree of Applied Science is awarded.

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