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Prerequisites To Obtaining a Dental Hygiene Education and Become A Dental Hygienist

How To Become A Dental Hygienist

A dental hygienist works alongside dentists to offer oral health education and services to their community. This may be in a dentist office, as part of a dental clinic, self-employed, or in a larger facility like a hospital or care home. If you are interested in studying to become a dental hygienist you should know there are prerequisites for admission into such a program, be it a two year associate’s degree or a four year bachelor’s degree. This article takes a look at those dental hygiene prerequisites and the general admission expectations most schools have for such programs.

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Though from school to school dental hygiene prerequisites and admission can change slightly most have a fairly high standard they expect from their applicants. To be admitted into a dental hygienist program you need to have a GED or high school diploma, have achieve at least a C or better average during high school with courses in biology, chemistry and math and then achieve college test scores that are good enough.

If you have covered the prerequisite courses in areas that may include sociology, chemistry, psychology, communication and English you may also need to pass a dexterity test, successful complete an interview and complete an essay before you can be accepted. The dexterity test involves checking things like hand eye co-ordination as being competent in this area is clearly important in such a career.

After completing all of this, if you are accepted into the program, you will then have two or four more years of study depending on the route you are taking to become a dental hygienist. Keep in mind if you are more interested in entering research or the academic side of dental hygiene you would greatly benefit from also completing a Master’s program. Not all schools offer a Master’s degree and it would need another two years of study as well as having its own set of dental hygiene prerequisites.

While names of courses and some details differ from school to school here is a closer look at the types of dental hygienist prerequisites these programs usually have.

  1. General Education courses in areas like sociology, communication, English and psychology.
  2. Science courses that have covered the basics and create a solid foundation in understanding how the human body works in areas like; anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, nutrition, microbiology, pharmacology and pathology.
  3. Dental Science courses that give a more specific understanding of areas like radiology, dental materials, neck and head anatomy, oral pathology, pain control, oral histology and embryology and periodontology.
  4. Emergency dental courses that teach students how to deal with legal and emergency situations and give practical lessons such as supervised instruction in pre-clinical and clinical practice, legal and ethical aspects of the role and basic life support.

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