In West Virginia, dental hygiene appears to be an attractive field to enter, for both those who start their careers and for those who consider changing theirs.
The Board of Dentistry in West Virginia oversees those operating in this industry, and issues licenses for those who want to enter it.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Education
- 2 Expanded Duties
- 3 Mandatory Exams
- 4 Applying for the License
- 5 Salary
- 6 Keeping the License
The license can only be obtained after earning a minimum of an Associates’s degree in dental hygiene.
The schools that can offer such a degree need to be accredited by CODA.
Future students might be required to take certain classes before enrolling, such as:
- English and communications
- Basic psychology and sociology
- Introductory biology and chemistry
- Intermediate algebra
- Anatomy and physiology
Having a CPR certification is also mandatory for everyone, for the duration of their career as a dental hygienist.
Once enrolled, students will have classes such as these:
- Health care terminology
- Oral and dental anatomy
- Dental radiology
- Techniques of dental hygiene
- Anesthesia for dental hygienists
- Dental hygiene public health and education
- Expanded function courses for dental hygienists
- Dental hygiene ethics and practice
- Advanced dental hygiene methods
- Pharmacology for dental hygienists
- Dental hygiene clinical
- Clinical evaluation
|BridgeValley Community and Technical College||619 2nd Avenue, Montgomery, West Virginia 25136|
|West Liberty University||208 University Drive, West Liberty, West Virginia 26074|
|West Virginia University||Stewart Hall, 1500 University Avenue, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506-6201|
Dental hygienists can get trained to perform more duties.
All classes have to be taken at a school accredited by CODA, though not all the schools have such training programs.
Administer Light-Activated Bleaching
The training for this certification lasts for 2 hours of didactic instruction and includes a demo of the process.
To obtain the appropriate certificate, the candidate has to score 75% more on the test.
Administer Local Anesthesia
This certification can be obtained by those who already have a dental hygienist license.
These professionals must also:
- Have a current CPR or BLS certification
- Complete the appropriate course for the administration of local anesthetic
- Pass the administration of local anesthesia exam
Monitor the administration of Nitrous Oxide
Those who want to obtain a permit for nitrous oxide need to first complete the didactic study of 2 hours and then score at least 75% on the written exam.
General Supervision Permit
With this permit, individuals are allowed to perform preventive dental hygiene services for up to 3 weeks (or 15 business days) in a row.
The training for this permit lasts for 3 hours and relates to the prevention and identification of medical emergencies.
To obtain this certification, the individual must also meet these requirements:
- At least 2 years and 3,000 hours of dental hygienist experience
- The examined patients must have been examined by a dentist, within the past year
- Adhering to any written protocols established by the supervising dentist
- Consulting with the supervising dentist or a physician if the patient’s medical history has significantly changed
The exam offered by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE), the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE), is the first one a future dental hygienist must pass.
This exam has 350 questions covering topics such as:
- Clinical dental hygiene practices
- Periodontal procedures
- Supportive services of dental hygienists
- Preventative procedures and materials
- Patient assessment
- Professional responsibility, ethics, and community education
Another mandatory exam is any of the following ones:
- Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA)
- Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS)
- Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)
- Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA)
The candidates will have to prove their knowledge of:
- Patient assessment
- Teeth and gingival cleaning
- Intra and extra-oral assessment
- Periodontal probing
- Removal of calculus, plaque, and stains
WREB and CDCA are just 2 of the agencies offering exams for certifications for expanded duties.
This exam is sent to those who apply for the license.
Applying for the License
Those who passed the exams can apply for a dental hygienist license.
They need to put together a file containing:
- Application form – filled in
- Attesting to having read West Virginia’s dental laws and rules
- Official dental hygiene school transcript
- The scores from the exams
- Two personal references, preferably from dentists
Those who obtained a license in a different state, need to provide a list of all the states and proof that they are in good standing in those states.
Applications for Expanded Duties
Those who completed the requirements to obtain certificates for expanded duties can send individual applications for each expanded duty they want to perform.
Most of these applications need to be accompanied by additional, supporting documents.
Dental hygienists who can perform expanded duties or have a higher degree will earn more than the average salary shown below.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Keeping the License
Every 2 years, dental hygienists from West Virginia have to renew their licenses.
This is done by completing a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education.
At least 2 hours should cover one or a combination of the following:
- Infection control
- Occupational hazards
- Oral effects of tobacco use
- Oral effects of substance abuse
The West Virginia Dental Hygienists’ Association (WVDHA) has additional resources regarding the license renewal process.