Becoming a dental hygienist in Tennessee requires a license.
To get the license, you have to meet some criteria, so read on for more info.
Article Table of Contents
In Tennessee, dental hygiene licenses are managed by The Tennessee Board of Dentistry.
In order to be able to apply for a license, you need to finish a 2-year program resulting in an associate’s degree.
The program you enroll in should also be accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA).
If you want yo have more job opportunities, you can also pursue a bachelor’s degree.
These are some of the subjects you will study in class:
- Orofacial, head, and neck anatomy
- Dental materials and tools
- Pain control and anxiety
- Oral and general pathology
- Dental public health education
- Community dentistry
- Dental hygiene lab and clinical
|Concorde Career College||5100 Poplar Avenue, Suite 132, Memphis, Tennessee 38137-0132|
|East Tennessee State University||P.O. Box 70690 Johnson City, TN 37614-0690|
|Hiwassee College||225 Hiwassee College Drive, Madisonville, Tennessee 37354-4001|
|Remington College||441 Donelson Pk Ste 150, Nashville, Tennessee 37214|
|Roane State Community College||276 Patton Lane, Harriman, Tennessee 37748|
|Southern Adventist University||4881 Taylor Cir, Collegedale, Tennessee 37315-0370|
|Tennessee State University||3500 John A. Merritt Blvd, Nashville, Tennessee 37209-1561|
|The University of Tennessee||527 Andy Holt Tower, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996|
Take the Licensing Exams
You will need to pass a series of exams before applying for a license.
The National Board Exam
This exam is provided by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE).
The exam consists of 350 questions, and you must have graduated from an accredited program to take it.
The first part of the exam has 200 questions, while the second one has 150 questions.
This will assess how well you perform your daily activities while on the job.
You can choose from the next 2 exams:
- Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA)
- Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)
If you already have a license in another state and have been working for 3 years, you will not need to take this exam.
Tennessee offers some extra permits for dental hygienists, as seen below.
Local Anesthesia Permit
To get it, you must:
- Take a local anesthesia course that is approved by the Board
- Take a class that is approved by ADA
- Finish an out-of-state class approved by the Board
Nitrous Oxide Permit
To receive this certification, you must:
- Take a nitrous oxide course
- Show proof of having completed a course during your dental hygiene program
These certifications don’t need to be renewed as long as your dental hygiene license is active.
Restorative and Prosthetic Function
For this certification, you need:
- 2 years working as a dental hygienist
- Finish a class focused on Restorative and Prosthetic Function
Applying for license
To apply, you need to submit:
- Current CPR certification
- Background check
- Official transcripts from your dental hygiene program
- Test results from the national board exam
- Results from the clinical exam
- 2 reference letters from practicing dentists
- Copy of your license, if you are licensed in another state
Extra certifications and even the experience accumulated in a different state will have a say on how much a dental hygienist will earn in Tennessee.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Renewing your dental hygiene license
To keep your license active, you need to renew it once at 24 months.
You will also need to have your CPR certification maintained.
In addition, you will have to take 30 extra hours of education before renewal.