What is the Highest Level of Education for Dental Hygienists?

Dental hygienists need to obtain an associate degree in dental hygiene and a state license to practice. Those who want to take their career to the next level should consider getting a bachelor's or master's degree in dental hygiene. An associate degree is the minimum educational requirement for dental hygienists, but some applicants opt for higher-level degrees to gain more skills and fill advanced positions. Most dental hygienists have an associate degree. This type of degree can open up employment opportunities in hospitals, health clinics, community centers, and schools.

To become a licensed hygienist, you must attend a program approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The associate degree in Dental Hygiene is the quickest way to become a dental hygienist and provides students with the knowledge and experience they need to succeed in the field. Students enrolled in an associate degree program in Dental Hygiene must complete general education and science courses such as anatomy, microbiology, and chemistry. Tennessee schools offer bachelor's degree programs in dental hygiene that prepare you for licensure through dental courses and offer core academic courses to complete the degree simultaneously. In addition to general education courses, dental hygiene instruction includes in-person, laboratory, and external clinical rotation sections. Dental hygienists who are interested in pursuing alternative careers can use this resource for study materials and professional development planning.

The minimum level of education for a dental hygienist is an associate's degree, although bachelor's and master's degrees are also options for those who want to advance in the field. The master's study is aimed at licensed dental hygienists with a bachelor's degree who are interested in teaching caregivers. With a bachelor's degree, students can work as dental office managers and as dental hygiene educators. The salary of a dental hygienist from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) depends on several factors, including the exact position, their level of education, the amount of experience, and the environment in which they work. A degree in Dental Hygiene combines the requirements of an associated degree with the bachelor's degree curriculum. This type of program typically takes four years to complete, although you can earn one in less time if you join an associate in dental hygiene.

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