In Georgia, the field of dental hygiene is a fast-growing one, and now is a good time to consider becoming a dental hygienist.
Those who want to enter this field are supervised by the Georgia Board of Dentistry.
To enter the field, individuals need to attend a training program, then pass some exams and then obtain and maintain a license.
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Training as Dental Hygienists
This step involves individuals to attend a college where they will earn at least an Associates’s degree.
These schools need accreditation from CODA.
Among others, future dental hygienists must receive or study:
- General Education
- Biomedical Sciences
- Dental Sciences
- Dental Hygiene Sciences
Most colleges offering degrees for dental hygienists will also have certain requirements to be met.
- Having a high school diploma or equivalent
- Having a CPR certification
- Having obtained grades over “C” in specific subjects
|Albany State University||2400 Gillionville Rd, Albany, Georgia 31707-3098|
|Athens Technical College||800 US-29, Athens, GA 30601,|
|Atlanta Technical College||1560 Metropolitan Pky SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30310-4446|
|Augusta University’s College of Applied Health Sciences||1120 15th St, Augusta, GA 30912,|
|Central Georgia Technical College||3300 Macon Tech Dr, Macon, GA 31206|
|Clayton State University||2000 Clayton State Boulevard, Morrow, Georgia 30260-0285|
|Columbus Technical College||928 Manchester Expy, Columbus, Georgia 31904-6572|
|Fortis College||2108 Cobb Parkway, Smyrna, Georgia 30080-7630|
|Georgia Highlands College||3175 Cedartown Highway, S.E., Rome, Georgia 30161-3897|
|Georgia State University||3251 Panthersville Rd, Decatur, Georgia 30034-3832|
|Savannah Technical College||5717 White Bluff Rd, Savannah, Georgia 31405-5594|
|Southeastern Technical College||3001 E First St, Vidalia, Georgia 30474|
|Wiregrass Georgia Technical College||4089 Val Tech Rd, Valdosta, Georgia 31602|
Pass the Exams
Future dental hygienists have to pass 3 exams, as explained below.
National Board Exam
As the name suggests, this exam is taken in all states and is nationally recognized.
The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations is the institution where candidates have to apply for it.
The Commission organizes the exam and administers the scores and certificates.
The exam costs $400 and is generally held at the Pearson Vue testing centers.
There might be some candidates who didn’t attend a CODA-accredited program.
If they’re able to provide the following documents, they can also take this exam:
- A letter of recommendation
- Official dental school transcripts
The letter has to come from:
- The dean of an accredited dental school or the director of an accredited dental hygiene program
- The secretary of a Board of Dentistry in a U.S. licensing jurisdiction
The school transcripts have to be verified by the Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE).
Candidates have to first read and agree to the NBDHE rules and regulations, then register for a Dental Personal Identifier Number (DENTPIN).
This test is available online, on the Board’s website, and is open-book type.
Candidates have to score at least 75 to pass.
The results are valid for one year.
The minimum passing score for this testis also 75.
In Georgia, license candidates have to pass the Central Regional Dental Testing Services, Inc. or CRDTS.
For this exam the fee is $950, and those taking it need to prove they received anesthesia training.
Non-nationals can take this exam if the State provides a letter of eligibility.
Applying for the License
When applying for the license, you can either use your credentials or exams.
All candidates also need to provide:
- The jurisprudence exam scores
- The score from the clinical exam
- Copy of the CPR certification
- Copy of court documents for any legal discrepancies, such as name changes, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc
- The official degree transcript
- Criminal history information
- The National Board scores
- Proof and verification for any licenses held in other states
The Joint Commission needs to submit the score from the NBDHE directly.
No matter which method is chosen, all candidates who graduated from the dental with more than 6 months need to also submit a National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) report.
There are various steps and documents needed for this process.
- Fill out the application
- Pay the $1,025 application fee
- Register and verify registration with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Employment Affidavit
- Submit malpractice questionnaire
The affidavit must contain the following information from the 2 years preceding application:
- All dates and locations where you have practiced dental hygiene
- That you have been in full-time clinical practice, meeting a minimum of 1,000 hours per year in the hands-on treatment of patients.
To apply for the license based on an examination, the candidate needs these documents:
- Filled out an application
- Application fee – $75
Licenses are issued after 35 business days, and candidates can have a copy if they request it and pay the $25 fee.
While the average salary in Georgia is lower than the national average, there are a few ways of ensuring a higher pay.
This includes aiming for a Bachelors’s degree and gaining experience in the field.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Georgia
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Athens-Clarke County, GA||140||$81,440||$39.16||$82,800||$45,270|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA||3,170||$83,030||$39.92||$94,440||$75,480|
|Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC||370||$75,400||$36.25||$78,280||$47,420|
|Gainesville, GA||150||- NA -||- NA -||- NA -||- NA -|
|Warner Robins, GA||120||$71,450||$34.35||$77,720||$51,450|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Maintaining the License
In Georgia, the dental hygienist license expires on December 31st of all odd-numbered years.
To renew it, individuals must complete 22 hours of continuing education per renewal period.
The main requirement in this regard is to ensure that 15 hours focus on clinical science.
Those who graduated in less than 2 years can show proof of coursework instead of continuing their education.