When considering a career as a dental hygienist, it is important to choose the best school for your education and training. Dental hygienists will need to successfully complete their associate’s degree at an accredited community college, dental school, technical school or university. However, universities typically offer bachelor and master degree programs. An earned associate’s degree is required for the examination process at both the state and national levels. In addition, all classes must be passed with a minimum grade set forth in the degree program in order to be considered successfully completed. A dental hygienist is not permitted to work in a dental office without being licensed.
Why is Accreditation Important?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are approximately 270 accredited dental hygienist degree programs in the United States. All dental hygienist training programs must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (CODA). Education received from a non-accredited higher education institution will not be accepted as acceptable training for licensure.
Accreditation of higher education institutions means the school has voluntary undergone and met all the minimum national requirements set by the Commission on Dental of the American Dental Association (CODA). The requirements are rigorous and set forth by the commission in order to provide standards and integrity in dental hygienist education. These standards provide quality education and training programs necessary for state and national examination along with licensure. In addition, the commission monitors all accredited dental hygienist degree programs to ensure compliance is met with the set standards.
Accreditation of a higher education institution shows the school is financial stable. It also will allow both federal and state financial aid to be approved for the dental hygienist degree program. In addition, credits and degrees received by an accredited higher education institution allows for the transfer to other accredited higher education institutions and accredited degree programs. This is beneficial for those who wish to transfer to a university to obtain a bachelor or master degree.
Dental hygienist associate degree programs will provide the necessary education needed and required to apply and sit for the state and national licensure examinations. Students can anticipate a wide variety of core and degree related classes necessary in order to obtain an associate’s degree.
Liberal Art Classes
Students can anticipate a variety of core liberal art classes as part of their dental hygienist associate’s degree program. Required courses such as english, psychology, sociology and speech can be expected.
Basic Science Classes
Basic science classes play an important dynamic in the associate’s degree program for dental hygienists. Students can anticipate completing classes in anatomy, chemistry, immunology, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology and physiology.
Clinical Science Classes
In order to become a dental hygienist, clinical science classes are necessary. These classes deal directly with dental and oral health, care and education of patients. For instance, students can expect classes and clinicals in dental hygiene, dental materials and oral radiology. For clinical training, students will gain hands on experience under the supervision of an academic advisor in patient care.
An associate’s degree program will have a minimum number of hours required in classes and clinicals that must be completed with a minimum satisfactory passing grade in order to successfully complete the degree program, graduate and apply for the state and national examinations.
How to Find Accredited Dental Hygienist Schools
Accredited community colleges, dental schools, technical schools or universities in any state can be found online at any of the following websites;
– American Dental Education Association (ADEA)
– American Dental Hygienist’s Association (ADHA)
– The Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (CODA)