To work as a dental hygienist, an individual needs to undergo some training, then pass an exam to become licensed.
On top of the license, these professionals can also obtain a degree, like Associates’ or Bachelors’, depending on how much they want to advance in their careers.
These professionals are allowed to perform tasks such as these:
- Root planing
- Inspecting the oral cavity to facilitate a diagnosis
- Compiling case histories
Article Table of Contents
Training as a Dental Hygienist
The training in this field is done through a CODA-accredited program.
The State Board of Dental Examiners in Arizona also has to approve these programs.
To be admitted in these programs, a candidate needs:
- A high school diploma or GED
- A minimum GPA – depends from school to school
- A minimum grade in selected classes, usually a C
- Holding a CPR certification
The Associate’s degree lasts for 2 years and is the minimum educational requirement for a dental hygienist.
The coursework will include:
- General education,
- Basic sciences,
- Dental sciences,
- Dental hygiene
- Practice hours in a public setting
Both the Associates and Bachelors degrees are accepted for entry-level positions.
Those who want careers in teaching, administration, or research, need to earn a Master’s degree.
|Arizona State University||4701 W Thunderbird Rd, Glendale, AZ 85306|
|Arizona State University||411 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004|
|Carrington College||1001 Southern Ave., Ste. 130, Mesa, Arizona 85210|
|Fortis College||555 N 18th St Suite 110, Phoenix, AZ 85006|
|Mesa Community College||1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, Arizona 85202|
|Mohave Community College||480 S Central St, Colorado City, AZ 86021|
|Northern Arizona University||1899 S San Francisco St, Flagstaff, AZ 86011|
|Phoenix College||1202 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013|
|Pima Community College||6680 S Country Club Rd, Tucson, AZ 85709|
|Rio Salado College||2323 W 14th St, Tempe, Arizona 85281|
Passing the Exams
There are 3 exams the candidates have to pass:
- Jurisprudence Exam
Taking the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination
The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) administers the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE).
This exam has 350 questions and costs $400.
The questions are from a subject such as the following, among others:
- Dental sciences,
- Dental hygiene sciences,
- Biomedical sciences
To take the NBDHE, the candidates have to apply through JCNDE, who will send the approved applications to Pearson Vue where the exams are organized.
Taking the Western Regional Examining Board Exam
The exam of the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) can only be taken by those who passed the NBDHE.
Only 19 states recognize and demand the WREB exam for licensed dental hygienists.
The WREB’s website has more information related to this exam, including dates, locations, and application process.
Taking the Jurisprudence Exam
Individuals can’t receive their dental hygienist exam if they don’t take and pass the jurisprudence exam.
This exam can be taken just once per month and it’s an open-book test.
The cost of the exam is $100 for the in-person option or $135 for those who wish to take it online.
Candidates must prove their knowledge regarding:
- Arizona’s revised statutes
- Arizona administrative code regarding dental professionals
To finally receive the license, the candidates must fill out an application and attach a series of documents.
- Fill out the Application form and sign it in front of a public notary.
- A passport-size photo.
- A copy of the WREB scorecard
- A copy of the CPR certification
- A copy of the dental hygiene educational program transcript – the school has to send this directly to the Board
- A letter of endorsement from the dental hygiene school for recent graduates or those practicing for less than 6 months.
- A credential fee – $1,000.
The WREB exam and score can’t be older than 5 years at the time of the application.
The NBDHE score has to be sent directly to the Board office.
The CPR certification has to be current.
Once the individuals start working, their salaries will depend on a number of factors, such as degree and location.Annual Salary Range:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
A dental hygienist has to renew their licenses every 3 years.
This is done after completing at least 54 credit hours and for a fee of $300.
Only approved topics will be accepted for license renewal, as below:
- A minimum of 34 credit hours in one or more of these areas:
- Dental and medical health
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- Radiology safety and techniques
- Dealing with medical emergencies
- Dental hygiene services
- Periodontal disease
- Dental implants care
- Maintenance of cosmetic restorations and sealants
- New concepts in dental hygiene
- A maximum of 14 credit hours in one or more of these topics:
- Dental hygiene practice organization and management
- Patient management skills
- Ways of healthcare delivery
- Minimum 2 credit hours covering one or more of these subjects:
- Chemical dependency
- Risk management
- Tobacco cessation
- Minimum 4 credit hours must cover infectious diseases and their control.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Dental Hygienist