The Department of Economic Opportunity in Florida says the demand for dental hygienists is still on the rise, thus now is still a good time to consider becoming one.
These professionals become licensed by the Florida Department of Health; Division of Medical Quality Assurance, after completing the appropriate training and passing some exams.
They are regulated by the Florida Board of Dentistry.
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Training as Dental Hygienist in Florida
Training as a dental hygienist is only possible if the individual is at least 18 years old.
The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) must accredit the chosen training program.
To qualify for a license, candidates need to obtain at least an Associates’s degree, though the Bachelors’s and Masters’s degrees are also available.
Individuals can attend classroom education as well as online classes.
Most educational institutions offering such programs will require applicants to be high school graduates and to have a CPR certification.
Some of the colleges will also require a minimum grade of “C” in specific classes or to pass the Health Occupations Test.
|Broward College||111 East Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301|
|Florida State College||501 W State St, Jacksonville, Florida 32202|
|Florida SouthWestern State College||8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33919|
|Hillsborough Community College||39 Columbia Drive, Tampa, Florida 33606-3584|
|Indian River State College||3209 Virginia Ave, Fort Pierce, Florida 34981-5596|
|Pensacola State College||1000 College Blvd, Pensacola, Florida 32504-8998|
|South Florida State College||600 W College Dr, Avon Park, Florida 33825-9356|
|St Petersburg College||6021 142nd Ave N, Clearwater, Florida 33760-2822|
|Tallahassee Community College||444 Appleyard Dr, Tallahassee, Florida 32304-2895|
|Valencia College||190 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801|
All students must also complete a course in the prevention of medical errors.
The Dental Hygiene National Board Examination
The Dental Hygiene National Board Examination, or NBDHE, can be taken through the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE), after completing the training above.
This exam with 350 questions is organized at the Pearson Vue testing centers.
Some of the topics covered in this exam are:
- dental hygiene,
- dental hygiene sciences,
- biomedical sciences
This exam has national recognition.
ADEX Dental Hygiene Licensing Exam
The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) is the body overseeing the American Board for Dental Examiners (ADEX) Dental Hygiene Examination.
This exam has regional recognition and 2 parts.
The parts are:
- The Computer Simulated Clinical Examination (CSCE).
- Patient Treatment Clinical Examination (PTCE).
The CSCE lasts for about 2 hours and is organized at any Prometric Testing Center.
The PTCE is about 4 hours long and takes place at a clinical examination site.
The CDCA has more information related to how to apply and prepare for both these exams.
Florida Laws and Rules Examination
The Florida Laws and Rules Examination is another mandatory exam for future dental hygienists.
This test is also administered by CDCA, whose website provides more details related to the exam.
Candidates can apply for the license only after passing all the exams above.
The application can be completed online as well, but the following documents are also needed:
- NBDHE score
- ADEX score
- Florida Laws and Rules Exam score
- Official sealed school transcripts
- A certificate from the prevention of medical errors course
- CPR certification
The exam scores and transcripts must be sent directly by the respective institutions to the Board.
The school transcript must show the earned degree, the enrollment and graduation dates, and must have the seal of the school as well.
Apply for Certification for Local Anesthesia Administration
Dental hygienists who wish to administer local anesthesia need to first obtain their license and then to complete a specific training course.
The course has to be accredited by CODA or approved by the Florida Board of Dentistry.
This training program must be at least 60 hours long, with half of it being didactic instruction.
The remaining half must cover clinical training in:
- Infection control
- Techniques of mandibular anesthesia
- Pharmacology of local anesthetics
- Techniques of maxillary anesthesia
- Medical emergencies involving local anesthesia
- Pharmacology of vasoconstrictors
- Theory of pain control
- Psychological aspects of pain control
- Selection of pain control modalities
- Systematic complications
Once the coursework is completed, candidates have to submit an application and pay the $35 for the certification.
An advanced CPR certification is also needed.
The average salary for a dental hygienist in Florida is currently around $71,000 per year.
One has to keep in mind that there are various factors taken into consideration when calculating their salaries, such as the degree or other certifications.Annual Salary Range:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
|Port St. Lucie||$70,475|
In Florida, all dental hygienist licenses are renewed in the month of February, of the even-numbered years, including the inial ones.
The Department of Health sends notifications with about 90 days before the expiration date.
Professionals can renew their licenses online.
The renewal fee is $105.
Only those who successfully complete 24 continuing education hours that adhere to the following requirements, can renew their licenses:
- 22 hours – general continuing education
- 2 hours – medical error training
Every 6 years, individuals need to also complete 2 hours in domestic violence.
Those renewing their licenses for the first time also need to complete 2 hours of HIV/AIDS training.
Everyone is required to also have a current CPR certification.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Dental Hygienist