Whether you have always wanted to work in a dental practice or have recently decided that it’s the right career path for you, you could be wondering, “how long does it take to become a dental hygienist?”
You might be excited to get into the workforce as soon as possible, but it does take a bit of time and a lot of hard work and dedication to become a dental hygienist. However, if you work hard, you can get it done more quickly than you probably think. These are some of the things that you’ll need to do before you can become a dental hygienist.
First of all, you’ll have to ensure that you are ready to dental hygiene school. You will need a high school diploma or a GED, so if you haven’t finished high school, you will need to take this step first. There are online programs that you can look into, or you can contact your local community college’s adult education department to find out more about your options.
Two-Year or Four-Year Schooling
If you have already earned your high school diploma or GED, then you can jump right into your schooling. First, however, you will have to make a decision between enrolling in a two-year program or a four-year program.
The two-year program option can be beneficial for many people, particularly if you are already an adult who is interested in getting a job as a dental hygienist as soon as possible. You will still learn everything that you need to know to work as a confident and competent dental hygienist in a dental setting. You will still have the degree that you need and will qualify for a lot of dental hygiene jobs. You will also be able to save money on your education if you earn a two-year degree rather than a four-year degree.
If you have more time to spend on your education, however, you might decide to go to school for four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. This will obviously take about twice as long, but it can be worthwhile if you want to ensure that your resume is well-padded and want to compete with a lot of candidates in a competitive job market.
Either way is acceptable, however. In fact, you might decide to do a little bit of both. You can attend school and work on your two-year degree for now. Then, you’ll be able to get a job as a dental hygienist sooner. After you have finished your schooling and snag a job, you can always go back to school in the evenings to complete your four-year degree. This can take a bit longer but can be a good compromise if you are ready to get a job in a dental practice as soon as possible but would really like to have the four-year degree.
Another step that you will need to take before you can become a dental hygienist is to take the exams that are requiring for licensing in your state.
The idea of taking these exams can be scary, but it shouldn’t be. Paying attention in class, going over your textbooks and notes regularly and using any studying resources that your teachers give you will all help you do well on your exams.
As you can probably see, the road to becoming a dental hygienist can be a long one. However, you are sure to think that it was all worth it once you graduate and are able to get the job of your dreams. To learn more about going to school to be a dental hygienist, contact us today.