The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry oversees dental hygienists and issues licenses to those who want to become one.
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Training as a Dental Hygienist
To become a dental hygienist, you need first to complete your training that has to award a minimum of an associates’ degree.
The institutions that offer training in this field must be accredited by CODA.
Only those who meet the following requirements can enroll in these training programs:
- High school diploma
- CPR certification
- Chemistry with lab with a grade of C or higher
- Hepatitis B immunization series
- Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in math and science courses
Some of the classes these programs have are:
- Clinical dental hygiene
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Dental anatomy and oral histology
- General and oral pathology
- Dental materials
- Oral health in the community
- Dental hygiene theory
- Pain management in dental hygiene
Clinical hands-on experience is also part of all training programs.
|Cape Cod Community College||2240 Iyannough Rd, West Barnstable, Massachusetts 02668-1599|
|MCPHS University||179 Longwood Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5896|
|Middlesex Community College||Springs Rd, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730-9124|
|Regis College||235 Wellesley Street, Weston MA 02493|
|Mount Wachusett Community College||444 Green St, Gardner, Massachusetts 01440-1000|
|Springfield Technical Community College||1 Armory Sq, Springfield, Massachusetts 01105-1296|
Passing the Exams
The next exams are mandatory for everyone who wants to become a dental hygienist.
National Board Examination
The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination has 350 questions and national recognition.
This test has a practical part as well.
It is offered through the Joint Commission of National Dental Examinations and organized at the Pearson Vue testing centers.
Regional Board Examination
The regional exam mandated in Massachusetts is the one offered by the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA).
This exam has 2 parts:
- Patient Treatment Clinical Examination (PTCS)
- Computer Simulated Clinical Examination (CSCE)
These 2 exams take place at different locations and times.
To pass, a minimum score of 75% is needed for each part of the exam.
Candidates may also take these 2 exams if they want:
- Local Anesthesia for Dental Hygienists
- Nitrous Oxide for Dental Hygienists
Scores of at least 75% on one of the exams offered by the following agencies are also accepted:
- Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners
- Florida State Board of Dental Examiners
- Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA) Dental Exam
- Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA) Dental Exam
This exam is the final one required to obtain the license as a dental hygienist in Massachusetts.
This is an open-book type of exam and the Board has a list of materials that should be studied for it.
The answers for this exam are included in the application file.
Applying for the License
The Initial Dental Hygienist Licensure Application is the form that must be completed to obtain the license.
The form has to be accompanied by these documents:
- $126 fee
- Original transcript showing the degree obtained – with the seal
- Copy of the NBDHE results
- Proof of a passed regional clinical exam, if it’s not the CDCA
- Recent physician’s statement attesting good health
- Copy of current CPR certification
- Signed CORI request form (included in application) authorizing a criminal background check
- Passport-size color photo of yourself
- Signatures from two licensed dentists familiar with your character and work quality
- Answer sheet of the Jurisprudence Exam
Those who have a license from a different state, need to also submit:
- License verification
- Practice history
- National Practitioner Data Bank Self-Query
Those who want to administer local anesthesia in Massachusetts, as a dental hygienist, must meet these requirements:
- Completed courses in the administration of local anesthesia
- Passed the CDCA Local Anesthesia Exam
- Pay the fee – $30
- BLS certification
- Letter from the dentist who supervised the candidate while administering local anesthesia (if applicable)
The Permit L form needs to be filled out and sent to the Board with the documents above.
Those with higher degrees and extra certifications have a higher salary than those who obtained only an Associates’s degree.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Keeping the License
Licenses expire every 2 years, in even-numbered years, on March 31.
Individuals must complete 40 hours of continuing education (CEUs) that are related to the field, but not for the first renewal.
The Board conducts audits, so keeping proof of completed CEUs is a must.
The anesthesia permit is also valid for two years and expires at the same time with the license.
Practitioners will receive renewal coupons from the Board which they need to send back along with the renewal fee.