In order to become a certified dental hygienist, you typically need to complete a dental hygiene program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). These programs are typically offered at community colleges, technical schools, or universities and can take anywhere from 18 months to 3 years to complete, depending on the program.
Once you have completed your dental hygiene program, you will need to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) in order to become licensed. This exam is administered by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) and tests your knowledge of dental hygiene principles and practices.
In addition to passing the NBDHE, you will also need to pass a clinical exam, which tests your ability to perform dental hygiene procedures. The clinical exam is administered by the state or regional board of dental examiners, and requirements can vary depending on the state.
After passing both exams, you will then need to apply for a dental hygiene license in your state. Each state has its own licensing requirements, so it is important to check with your state’s board of dental examiners for specific details.