If you are planning to enroll in a dental hygiene program, you might be wondering about how long it will take you to complete the course. How many years will you take before you finally become a dental hygienist? This will depend on a number of factors, including the type of diploma you wish to acquire. The minimum qualification for a dental hygienist is a Dental Hygiene Diploma. However, if you are seeking to advance your skills or to move up in the field, you may consider a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Dental Hygiene Diploma
A Dental Hygiene Diploma enables you to acquire the necessary level of education required to obtain a license. You can earn a Dental Hygiene Diploma from a community college or from a private career college such as APLUS Institute. APLUS Institute offers an intensive 18-month full-time diploma program in dental hygiene. The Dental Hygiene Program is led by recognized leaders in the profession of dental hygiene and dentistry, and is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada.
Over the course of your learning, you have to combine classwork with supervised clinical experience. You will have to acquire a set number of hands-on clinical practice.
If you are interested in specialized care, including developing programs within school settings and public health, you may consider going to a University program to attain Bachelor’s Degree. In the course of your study, you will undergo classroom training and take part in supervised clinical practice. A bachelor’s degree may take up to 4 years to complete.
If you are seeking to work in an administrative role, teach, or conduct research, you may go for a master’s degree in dental hygiene. With this degree, you can get jobs in higher-level roles. For instance, you may work as a community program director, oral disease prevention expert, or a leader of education and dental health programs. It will take you 1-2 years to acquire a master’s degree in dental hygiene. You will also have to complete a project before completing the training.
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The curriculum for a dental hygienist course comprises of coursework, laboratory studies, and clinical practice. You will take courses in a wide range of subjects, including radiography, pharmacology, chemistry, oral pathology, and histology, among others.
To get a license to practice as a dental hygienist, you need to graduate with a Dental Hygiene Diploma and consequently pass the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB) administered written exam and the college-administered entry-to-practice exam. To be eligible for licensing examinations, graduation from an accredited program is necessary. You will have to pass a written and a clinical examination to get a license.
To develop the skills necessary to help your patients, you will have to spend some time in the field. You will encounter different patients with different needs. You will examine the patients’ teeth and identify problem areas. You will clean the patients’ teeth while determining if they need a deeper cleaning. This is how you will put the skills learned in class into practice.
The length of time you take to become a dental hygienist will depend on your goals and the level of training you wish to attain.