How to Get a Degree in Dental Hygiene


Dental hygiene, also known as oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth internally clean. This includes keeping the mouth, gums and teeth thoroughly clean using the help of dental products and various treatments. A dental hygienist is a proponent and practitioner of dental hygiene. Using specialized equipment and methods with their knowledge in oral care and hygiene, dental hygienists can provide preventative and curative care to patients. Dental hygienists must also give instructions and provide guidance to patients on how to take care of their oral hygiene.

Prevention is better than cure, and this is where dental hygienists play an important role in ensuring that a patient’s oral hygiene is excellent so that it does not lead to future complications. If you think you can do well as a dental hygienist and feel that you can make a career out of it then you should work hard to get a degree in dental hygiene.

Importance of Education

You must actively seek educational qualifications if you expect to make it big in this time and age – especially in this competitive market. In a field of science such as dental hygiene, education plays a large role in determining your success and progression. This is because the slightest of mistakes may cost someone their lives or cause complications. The margin for error in the medical industry is next to zero – this is why students are constantly studying to hone their understanding and skills.

Degree Options and Requirements

Almost all fields of science require a strong academic background – and dental hygiene is no exception. Medicine is such a demanding field, that students spend a portion of their life studying away. But of course, this hard work may yield high positive returns.

The most basic requirement to gain entry into the first is through an associate’s degree. To get an associate’s degree, it is advised that students possess some background in the sciences, be it general or specific. An associate’s degree may help you gain the basic experience at the assistant’s level.

It is advised that the program you pick for your education should be recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Most often, students are required to have a 2 year degree on dental hygiene which usually results in an associate’s degree. However, undergraduate and master’s degrees in dental hygiene are also an option should you wish to purse a more focused degree.

To get into graduate programs, it is required that candidates possess an undergraduate degree in dental hygiene or a similar field. Some programs may require students to possess some practical experience, so be sure to research each institutes unique requirements. A Master of Science in dental hygiene and similar degrees at this level usually require student to go through 2 years of schooling.

After formal education is done with, the next step is to get certified and licensed if you wish to practice and work professionally – this is required by the law. Keep in mind that licensing and certification requirements vary according to state, so be sure to get familiar with each state’s unique requirements. For more knowledge and information on certification, be sure to visit The American Dental Association and The American Dental Hygienists Association. Information regarding certification requirements, testing, content, and so on should be researched thoroughly.

Career Outlook

It is expected that the demand for dental hygienists is likely to increase in the near future. This can be attributed to the fact that the level and time dedicated to research in the oral healthcare department is on the rise. Furthermore, people have finally understood the importance of preventative medical care and hence visit the dentists frequently for cleanups and hygiene care. All these factors have led to an increase in the jobs for dental hygienists.

Salary Prospects

According to statistics provided by The Bureau of Labor Statistics (, it is forecasted that employment growth for dental hygienists is expected to increase by roughly 38% during the period of 2010 to 2020. This percentage increase translates into the creation of about 68,500 new jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean yearly salary for dental hygienists in May 2010 was $68,250. As a matter of fact, the top 10% of dental hygienists earn over $93,820 yearly on an average.

Related Reading

Further Reading

The resources provided below should serve as references should you wish to dig deeper into the subject. If you plan to make a career out of dental hygiene then it is advised you go through as much information as possible to understand the market, industry dynamics and the scope of this field.

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