Those who want to work as dental hygienists in Texas need to obtain a license from the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.
The Board issues licenses only to those who received appropriate training and passed the mandatory exams.
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Training as a Dental Hygienist
Training as a dental hygienist takes place at CODA-accredited schools.
Individuals need to obtain a minimum of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions.
These schools have classes such as:
- Pharmacology for the dental hygienist
- Oral pathology
- Contemporary dental hygiene
- Anatomy and physiology
- Preventative dental hygiene
- Dental radiology
- Dental nutrition
- Sociology, psychology, and communication
- Dental hygienist clinical experience
Obtaining a CPR certificate before enrollment in school is mandatory for all those who want to become a dental hygienist.
They need to maintain this certification for as long as they want to practice in this field.
|Amarillo College||2011 S. Washington, Amarillo, Texas 79109|
|Austin Community College||1218 West Ave, Austin, TX 78701|
|Blinn College||902 College Ave, Brenham, Texas 77833-4098|
|Coastal Bend College||3800 Charco Rd, Beeville, Texas 78102|
|Concorde Career Institute-Dallas||12606 Greenville Ave Ste 130, Dallas, Texas 75243|
|Del Mar College||101 Baldwin Blvd., Corpus Christi, Texas 78404-3897|
|El Paso Community College||9050 Viscount Blvd, El Paso, Texas 79925|
|Houston Community College||3100 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002|
|Howard College||1001 Birdwell Lane, Big Spring, Texas 79720|
|Lamar Institute of Technology||855 E Lavaca, Beaumont, Texas 77705|
|Lone Star College System||5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77381-4399|
|Tarrant County College District||1500 Houston St, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-6524|
|Temple College||2600 S 1st St, Temple, Texas 76504-7435|
|Texas A&M University Health Science Center||8441 State Hwy 47, Clinical Building 1 – Suite 3100, Bryan, Texas 77807|
|Texas State Technical College||1902 North Loop 499, Harlingen, Texas 78550-3697|
|Texas Woman’s University||304 Administration Dr, Denton, Texas 76201|
|The University of Texas Health Science Center||7000 Fannin, Houston, Texas 77030|
|The University of Texas Health Science Center||7703 Floyd Curl Dr, San Antonio, Texas 78229-3900|
|Tyler Junior College||1400 East Fifth Street, Tyler, Texas 75701|
|Wharton County Junior College||911 Boling Hwy, Wharton, Texas 77488|
Nitrous Oxide Monitoring
In Texas, dental hygienists can monitor patients while they are under sedation with nitrous oxide.
To be allowed to perform this duty, individuals need to undergo special training.
Passing the Exams
All licensure candidates must pass some exams.
The National Board exam is the first of them.
It has 350 questions and it costs $400.
The exam organized by the ADA’s Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE).
Candidates are tested on their:
- Professional responsibility
- Obtaining and interpreting x-rays
- Supportive treatment
- Preventative agents
- Performance of periodontal procedures
- Patient assessment
- Supportive treatment services
- Community health
- Research principles
Texas is one of the states where candidates can choose one of the 5 regional clinical exams available.
These exams are offered by:
- Western Regional Examining Board
- Central Regional Dental Testing Service
- Commission on Dental Competency Assessments
- Southern Regional Testing Agency
- Council of Interstate Testing Agencies
While the tests differ slightly from agency to the other, they all cover these topics:
- Intra- and extra-oral assessment
- Supra-gingival deposit removal
- Scaling and sub-gingival calculus removal
- Periodontal examination and probing
This exam is available online to those who are ready to apply for the license.
Candidates will be tested on their knowledge related to the Board’s rules and regulations, as well as on the Dental Act in Texas.
Applying for the License
Applying for the license is easy as the form can be downloaded from the Board’s website.
The application has to be accompanied by:
- The results of a criminal background check
- A CPR certification copy
- Official scores from the exams
- Notarized copy of the dental hygiene school diploma
Individuals who obtained their license in a different state can obtain their Texas dental hygienist certification based on credentials.
They need to file the documents below to the Professional Background Information Service (PBIS):
- Jurisprudence Assessment scores
- Proof of completion of 12 hours of continuing education in the past year
- Verification of the dental hygiene license obtained
- A minimum of 3 years of experience as a dental hygienist, in the recent 5 years
- Results from a background check
- CODA-accredited school transcripts
- Current CPR certification
- Passing scores on the NBDHE and a regional clinical exam
The continuing education hours have to be related to dental hygiene practice.
Once PBIS sends a confirmation that a candidate is eligible for licensure, they can send their application and the confirmation letter to the Board of Texas.
Candidates from out of state can obtain a temporary license if they don’t meet the work experience minimum requirement.
Those who need to work with a temporary license must ensure that their employers:
- Accept Medicaid patients
- Are classified as a nonprofit corporation
Nitrous Oxide Monitoring Permit
This permit is issued only after a candidate received their dental hygienist license.
Having the permit to monitor patients while under sedation increases an individual’s employment options as well as their paycheck.Annual Salary Range:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Maintaining the License
The temporary license expires every year and it has to be renewed until the requirements for a standard license are met.
The initial full license can expire at anytime between 6 and 18 months since it got issued.
After this time-frame, all licenses must be renewed every year after completing 12 hours of continued education, through approved providers.
Some individuals may accumulate more than 12 hours and the extra hours can be carried out to the next year.
Continued education has to meet these criteria:
- 8 hours – technical or scientific and relate to clinical care
- Up to 4 hours may be in risk management courses
- Up to 6 hours may be self-study courses
- The OSHA and CPR courses do not count towards the continuing education requirement
Unlike in other states, the Board in Texas requires its dental hygienist practitioners to retake the jurisprudence test every 3 years.
The certification for nitrous oxide doesn’t need renewal.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Dental Hygienist