Dental hygienists are trained to clean the patient’s teeth and help patients create a home care routine for oral health. Are you interested in this type of career?
People that love kids and also want to help them develop healthy habits to take into the future may have a promising future in the pediatric dental hygiene field.
What do you need to do to get into this line of work? How long does it take?
If you’d like to become a pediatric dental hygienist, keep reading to learn what you need to know for success.
Becoming a Pediatric Dental Hygienist
For those of us that prefer working with kids versus adults, a career as a pediatric dental hygienist can be very promising.
You get to help children learn more about their oral health and help families know what needs to be done as their children get older.
Here are the things that you need to know if you’re interested in this career route.
1. Choose Your Program
The first step is finding the right program for you. Not all educational paths are the same and some may make more sense for your current situation.
A lot of programs will result in you obtaining an associate’s degree, but there are also options for bachelor’s degrees or certifications.
The Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada ensures that dental hygiene programs are teaching the right materials to students. By doing so, you will be able to know that you are later able to pass the required exams for your province and can be a competitive dental hygienist.
If you plan to work in a private office, you should be able to do so with an associate’s degree or a certificate. If you’d rather have more options or want to work in a different type of facility, a bachelor’s degree will make that easier for you later on.
Remember that with more training, you also will be more familiar with how to conduct research or teach other students, so this is something to consider.
2. Take Required Courses
After you decide on a program, you need to enroll and determine which courses you need to take.
For the most part, you will find that certificate programs and associate’s degree programs take about two years of full-time classes to finish. Bachelor’s degree programs will likely take four years to complete with a full-time schedule.
Some examples of courses you will probably need to take include physiology, microbiology, nutrition, ethics, pharmacology, pathology, or anatomy.
Be aware that some programs require you to complete field experience, such as an internship, or research before you can complete the program.
3. Obtain a License
Once you are finished with a program, you need to get a license to practice as a dental hygienist.
The written exam is provided by the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB) and the clinical competency exam will be given through the college.
You may also need to take a regional clinical exam and an exam that covers the laws within your province depending on where you plan to work.
4. Find a Position
After you are licensed as a dental hygienist, you can start to look for a job! You will be able to work with a pediatric dentist at this point and may have a lot of options in your area.
The most common places that pediatric dental hygienists work include private practices, public health agencies, outpatient centers, or hospitals.
5. Look Into Further Education
After you are established, you may decide that you want to get more training or more education in the field. There are master’s degree programs that will allow you to become specialized in a certain area, such as education, research, public health, or management.
If you are interested in advancing your career, this is a great way to show employers and patients that you know what you are doing and care about your work.
Ready to Get Started?
Working as a pediatric dental hygienist can be a rewarding job, but you must take the required steps to get there!
With the right education and skills, you will find a position that you love within the field.
If you’re interested in being admitted to a dental college, request a free information kit and check out our admissions requirements.