In Washington, individuals who want to work as dental hygienists need to obtain a license from the Board of Health in conjunction with the Dental Hygiene Credentialing department.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Education
- 2 Sitting Through Exams
- 3 License Application
- 4 Salary Information
- 5 Renewing the License
Licenses are awarded to those who completed a training program with accreditation from CODA.
There are a series of criteria to meet before enrolling, such as having a high school diploma and CPR certification.
Individuals need to obtain an Associates’s degree from the chosen training program.
Some of the dental hygiene-specific courses are:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Head, neck, and dental anatomy
- Pharmacology for the dental hygienist
- Basic biology and chemistry
- Psychology and sociology
- Intermediate mathematics
- Histology and embryology
- Pain control, local anesthetic, and the administration of nitrous oxide
- Ethics and jurisprudence
- Community dental health
- Restorative functions
- Dental hygienist clinical
|Clark College||1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Washington 98663-3598|
|Columbia Basin College||2600 N 20th Ave, Pasco, Washington 99301|
|Eastern Washington University||526 5th Street, Cheney, Washington 99004-2496|
|Eastern Washington University||310 N Riverpoint Blvd, Spokane, WA 99202|
|Lake Washington Institute of Technology||11605 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034|
|Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom||9401 Farwest Dr SW, Lakewood, Washington 98498-1999|
|Pima Medical Institute||9709 Third Ave NE Suite 400, Seattle, Washington 98115|
|Seattle Community College||1701 Broadway Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98122|
|Yakima Valley Community College||South 16th Ave. & Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima, Washington 98907-2520|
Most of these training programs also have coursework for specific extra duties that a dental hygienist can perform with an appropriate permit.
The expanded functions in which a special certificate is needed, are:
- Administration of local anesthetic
- Administration of nitrous oxide-oxygen analgesia
- Restorative dentistry in
- Placement of restorations into cavities
- Carving, contouring, and adjusting occlusions and contacts of restorations
In Washington, future dental hygienists need to undergo AIDS training as well.
This training has to be at least 7 hours long that can be completed as:
- Formal training
- Formal courses
- Direct patient care
Subjects should cover:
- Counseling and testing
- Legal and ethical issues
- Clinical treatment and manifestations
- Infection control
- Psycho-social issues
Sitting Through Exams
To be eligible for a license, a candidate also has to pass a series of exams.
Dental Hygiene National Board Exam (NBDHE)
The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) organizes the NBDHE.
This exam has 2 components and 350 questions and 12-15 hypothetical patient scenarios.
- Research principles and community health
- Clinical dental hygiene services
- Assessment of patient dental hygiene needs
- Professional responsibility
- Performance of periodontal procedures
- Exposure and interpretation of radiographs
- Use of preventative materials
- Dental hygiene management
- Supportive dental hygiene services
In the State of Washington, individuals can choose to take one of the clinical exams offered by one of these agencies:
- Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)
- Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS)
- Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA)
These exams will assess skills and knowledge such as:
- Periodontal evaluation and cleaning
- Exposure of radiographs
- Removal of calculus, plaque, and stains
- Measurement of pockets
Those who want to perform expanded functions have to pass additional exams, for each of the functions they want a permit for.
Dental Hygiene Drug and Law Exam (WSJ)
This exam relates to the rules and laws connected to the practice of dental hygiene and dentistry in general.
Candidates have to prove knowledge of the following:
- RCW 18.29
- RCW 18.32
- WAC 246-815
- WAC 246-817
The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) offers this test and the passing score is 90%.
The licensure in this state is done through the Washington State Department of Health.
The state’s Dental Hygiene Credentialing department is the agency responsible for processing third-party verification documents.
The application file must contain:
- Filled in application
- Official school transcripts
- Scores from the exams
- Full professional résumé
- Any out-of-state dental hygienists licenses or credentials
- Attestation of completed AIDS training
Out-of-State Experienced Dental Hygienists
All candidates who obtained their license in a different state will have to meet the requirements above before being issued a license for Washington.
This includes the requirements for the expanded functions.
Initial Limited License
Out-of-state experienced dental hygienists may qualify for an Initial Limited License.
This document allows them to perform expanded functions, is valid for 18 months, and to obtain it, they must:
- Hold a similar expanded functions certification from a different state
- 560 hours of work experience as a dental hygienist in the preceding 24 months
In the State of Washington, the median salary of a dental hygienist is higher than the national average.Annual Salary Range:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Renewing the License
In the State of Washington, dental hygienists need to renew their licenses before their birthdays.
They can do so after completing 15 hours of continuing education that is related to their practice.
Ensuring the Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers certification is up-to-date, is another license renewal requirement.
The Washington State Dental Hygienists’ Association (WSDHA) can offer more information related to the renewal of the license.
Renewing an Initial Limited License
This license can also be renewed.
Additionally, those who have such a license can choose to convert it to a normal dental hygienist license.
Regardless of the situation, they must:
- Earn a passing score on an approved clinical examination
- Pass the WREB anesthesia examination
- Complete appropriate didactic and clinical training for the administration of local anesthetic and nitrous oxide
Read the full guide: How to Become a Dental Hygienist