If you are considering a career as a dental hygienist, college is a requirement, but one that you will enjoy and that will provide professional and personal fulfillment as you gain the necessary skills for your career goal. For the majority of dental hygienists, the required schooling takes around two years to complete. Then, a dental hygienist must obtain a license in order to work. While an associate’s degree is the base-level of education required to practice, some dental hygienists decide to pursue advanced education such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree, if their career goals lie in research or teaching.
If you are considering a dental hygiene program, you are most likely curious about what the curriculum entails. Over the course of two years, you will embark on in-depth study of anatomy, physiology, nutrition, pathology, periodontics, as well as interpersonal communication that is necessary to put patients at ease. Before committing to a dental hygiene program, it is wise to consider your previous performance in biology, chemistry and math courses taken in high school or previous college coursework. If you want to become a dental hygienist, college is going to be demanding and rigorous, even more so for students who are not naturally inclined in the sciences. Being realistic about your aptitudes will save you time, money and disappointment if you come to realize that the coursework is too challenging for you later down the road.
In addition to aptitude for the sciences, a prospective dental hygiene student must also consider manual dexterity and comfort with repetition. Dental hygiene is a physically-demanding career, requiring you to be on your feet for the majority of a workday, performing tasks that demand attention to detail. A naturally friendly, sunny demeanor makes for a more employable dental hygienist, as these qualities tend to put patients at ease and tend to work more effectively with dentists and other staff members. If you are curious about a career as a dental hygienist, college is a requirement, but one you will most likely enjoy.