What Is Required to Earn a Dental Hygienist Certificate?

Certificates in dental hygiene can prepare you for a job as a licensed dental hygienist. Read on to learn about admissions and course requirements for these two-year certificate programs. Schools offering Dental Hygiene degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Dental Hygiene Certificate

As a hygienist, you'd be responsible for cleaning teeth, applying fluoride or sealant treatments, and taking and developing x-rays. You may also educate patients on proper oral health.

Important Facts about Dental Hygienists

Median Salary (2018) $74,820
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 20%
Work Environment Dentists' offices
Key Skills Dexterity, physical stamina, critical thinking, compassion

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Dental hygienist certificate programs are often available at community colleges or university schools of dentistry. Most prepare you to pass national and state dental hygiene licensing exams upon graduation. Some may even allow you to transfer your credits to a dental hygiene associate's or bachelor's degree program. You can typically expect to complete program coursework in about two years. Discussed below are the educational requirements for an undergraduate certificate program in dental hygiene.

Admissions Requirements

Most programs require you to take prerequisite courses in English, chemistry, anatomy and microbiology before beginning classes in dental hygiene. You'll need a high school diploma or GED to enroll in this collegiate-level coursework. Additional admissions requirements may include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification and a criminal background check.

Course Requirements

Dental hygienist certificate programs introduce you to topics in preventative oral care, pharmacology and the use of dental materials. You can also study dental anatomy, dental radiology, oral pathology, histology, periodontics and oral anesthesiology. In addition to coursework, students within the certificate program also complete clinical requirements.


To practice dental hygiene, you must obtain state licensure. In most states, this process entails successfully completing an educational program accredited by the American Dental Association's (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation. You'll then have to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Passing scores on written and clinical state licensing exams are also required. After earning a dental hygiene license, you'll be eligible to work in general, periodontal and pediatric dental offices.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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