If you are planning to enter a field of dental hygiene, then you should know what it takes to get started. Schools that offer entry-level programs in dental hygiene require all students to meet certain criteria to get accepted to the program they choose. Majority of schools across the country have the same basic requirements that all students must comply with. So what should you know about the entry-level programs in dental hygiene?
Entry-level Programs Overview
Entry-level programs in dental hygiene are designed to prepare students for the future work in private or public settings. They lead to getting a Certificate, Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree upon their completion. Entry-level programs in dental hygiene differ in the program duration and curriculum.
That’s to say, it takes 2 years of studying to get an Associate’s Degree in dental hygiene and another 2 years to complete a Bachelor’s program. Whether you hold an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in dental hygiene, you’ll be able to start your practice straight out of school. However, Bachelor’s Degree holders may anticipate more job opportunities as compared to those with an Associate’s Degree. Bachelor’s Degree holders can find themselves working in education, administration, public healthcare centers and research.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), to become a dental hygienist students must undergo 86 credit hours for an Associate’s Degree and 122 hours for a Bachelor’s Degree. Both entry-level programs do not differ much in the amount of theoretical and laboratory work hours. Yet those who pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in dental hygiene will have more clinical hours.
Methods of Studying
Most of the entry-level programs in dental hygiene are broken into semesters and they mostly offer on-campus classes. However 15% out of the total number of dental hygienist schools across the country offer programs combining on-campus and online courses. There are also schools that offer merely online programs to become a dental hygienist. The flexible nature of online learning enables students to work toward an entry-level degree without interrupting their busy schedule. Entry-level programs in dental hygiene must be accredited by the CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation) as required for getting a license in future.
Admission requirements for entry-level programs in dental hygiene according to the American Dental Association (ADA) are as follows:
- High school diploma or GED
- Advanced knowledge of core subjects (math, English, chemistry, biology)
- Minimum average of C grade at school
- College entrance test scores
- Prerequisite courses completion (not less than 40 credit hours in English, speech, chemistry, psychology and sociology)
- School admission interview
- Having your essay done