This article is aimed for those who are serious about working in medical field, for those who want to do something interesting, challenging and absorbing.
Are you in your final year at school? Pretty rough times, isn’t that right? Yep, we all know how it is. Instead of catching up with friends you’re debating your future occupation with your parents or career advisors. You go through the list of all possible professions from A to Z discussing career prospects. After many days of racking your brain over the issue, you finally come up with the decision. You seriously consider taking up dental studies. Dental hygiene may become a great career you believe. And we can’t agree more!
You’ve defined your personal traits, interests, skills and values. They are perfectly in tune with the tasks which a dental hygienist is responsible for. Now you’re ready to give it a go. Don’t know where to start? This article will give you a guidance on how to become a dental hygienist step by step.
1. Choosing Dental Hygienist Program
First of all, you’ll need to find out which dental hygienist programs will suit you the best. If you want to start working in the shortest time possible then a 2-year Associate’s degree program will do for you. And once it is completed you may find a job in a private dental office. However, you may choose to proceed with your studying toward a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree. These 4-year dental hygiene programs prepare students for the work as educators or administrators. If you are up to doing something more interesting, you may choose to become a researcher. Your choices should comply with your preferences and career goals. Once your mind is made, check whether the program you’ve chosen is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association. Find more information here http://www.ada.org/.
2. Taking Prerequisite Courses
Once you’ve picked out the program, apply for it. You’ll be required to submit certain papers for admission purposes. Your high school transcript or GED is what you’ll be asked to provide in the first place. Next, no matter which program you choose, you’ll have to go for the prerequisite courses. These courses are aimed at helping dental hygiene students to enhance their knowledge in chemistry, English and anatomy. Things are a bit different if you want to get a Bachelor’s Degree. In this case you’ll need to take a few pre-dental hygiene courses to be eligible for this degree.
3. Enhancing Your Communication Skills
Bear in mind that dental hygienists work with patients all day long. Therefore, not only should you focus on medical subjects, but also learn dental ethics and professional principles. Plus, it’s recommended that dental hygienists take courses to improve their communication skills. You should jump at every chance to enroll into the training program at the dental clinic to get some real experience with the patients.
4.Looking For a Dental Hygienist Scholarship Program
The cost of dental hygienist studying is quite high. Yet, it gradually pays off as you start practicing. If you decide to graduate with the Bachelor’s Degree, it’ll cost you around $25,000 for the whole course. A 2-year qualification, on the other hand, won’t be less than $5000. High tuition fees is a good reason to look for financial aid. Scholarships and grants are what you need. They are offered by various associations to help dental hygiene students to pay for college. Depending on the scholarship program, you may have your schooling covered partially or in full. But, the best thing about dental hygienist scholarships is that you won’t have to repay them. Isn’t it a good reason to look into the possibility of getting financial aid?
5. Taking Exams
To be licensed as a dental hygienist you’ll have to pass certain exams. The first one is administered by the Commission on National Dental Examinations. This commission is aimed at defining your qualifications and thus helping state boards to decide on your license. The exam is conducted to evaluate your knowledge of dental hygiene subjects and biometrical science. After you’re done with the first test you can move on to the state’s clinical exam. If you successfully pass it, you’ll be licensed by the state of your residence. Only then you’ll be allowed to carry out dental hygienist practice.