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How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Vermont

Dental Hygienist Requirements

A dental hygienist in Vermont has one of the best career opportunities available in the state. In order to go into this field, you will need to obtain a background in dental hygiene that meets state requirements for licensing. Because the opportunities that are available range from clinical options to marketing and education opportunities, it helps to have an open mind about what positions you might be open to. Your job will involve working with people of all ages in most cases. In addition to helping with dental procedures, you will also need to help educate patients about proper dental care.

Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?

Dental hygienists in Vermont must complete at least two years of training. Four-year programs are also available, as well as master’s programs for those interested in certain educational positions. General education and science courses make up a considerable part of the curriculum, as well as general dental science and dental hygiene science courses. Part of the curriculum includes clinical work, where you will learn what it is like to work in an office.

Are Dental Hygienists Required to Be Certified?

Dental hygienists in Vermont must undergo licensing at the state level. This requirement helps protect the safety of the patients by ensuring that everyone who works in this profession has the proper knowledge. In Vermont, a certified dental hygienist is known as a Registered Dental Hygienist or RDH. The licensing process for an RDH takes place after completion of a two or four-year program and has a couple of additional requirements.

How Can a Dental Hygienist Become Certified?

RDH applicants in Vermont must pass the appropriate regional and national exams after completing a college program. There is also a required course in emergency office procedures that all applicants need to take and pass. There is also a jurisprudence exam that requires a passing grade for a student to work as an RDH.

Is Continuing Education Necessary?

Licenses for RDHs in Vermont are good for two years before they come up for renewal. In order for a dental hygienist in Vermont to retain their licensing, 12 continuing education credits are required. However, six of these CE credits may be earned through an online study program, making it easy for RDHs with busy schedules to retain their licensing without problems.

Dental Hygienist Salary in Vermont

Dental hygienists in Vermont enjoy an average salary of $45,000 a year. However, some positions have been known to pay as much as $79,000 a year for a larger practice. Specialized positions, such as RDHs working in correctional facilities, typically have higher starting salaries of around $61,000 per year. Some RDH instructors start off at $61,000 a year, and program directors in educational settings may make over $100,000 each year.

Dental Hygienist Job Duties

While most hygienists plan to work in private dental offices, many works in care facilities, hospitals and other settings. Much of the job involves examining x-rays, performing plaque and tartar removal, applying fluoride and sealants and instructing patients in proper oral care. Depending on the area of practice, you may work extensively with either children or the elderly.

What Tasks is a Dental Hygienist Legally Allowed to Perform?

An RDH is legally allowed to perform several procedures with a dentist present or with prior authorization from a dentist. A hygienist may administer local anesthesia with the dentist present. Procedures that a hygienist may do with a dentist’s authorization include cast impressions, placement, and removal of prior dressings and suture removal. Other procedures that Vermont law allows an RDH to perform include fluoride pit/fissure sealants, prophylaxis, root planing, topical anesthesia, and X-rays.