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How to Get a Dental Hygienist Degree: The Classes and Training You’ll Need

Posted in Articles, Dental Hygienist.

While salaries for dental hygienists vary depending on your geographical location, the average salary is $67,763 per year. That’s $34.75 per hour.

Experienced hygienists can make up to $95,843 while an entry-level hygienist earns around $48,750.  Of course, to make that money, you first have to earn your dental hygienist degree.

Becoming a dental hygienist comes with a lot of benefits besides a good salary. You get to help keep people healthy and work with like-minded individuals.

If you’re looking to learn how to become a dental hygienist, keep reading. We’re sharing everything you need to know about what to expect with a dental hygienist course load.

How to Earn a Dental Hygienist Degree

Most provinces require a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene to start an entry-level position. However, some allow people to work after earning an associates degree.

If you opt for an associate degree, you may find that this degree is more acceptable in areas where there are current shortages of dental hygienists. Such areas include:

  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Newfoundland
  • British Columbia
  • Nova Scotia

Associate Degree

It takes two years to complete a dental hygiene associate degree. The next step is to take a licensure exam in the province or territory you plan to work in.

Each dental hygiene class is designed to teach you different skills.

Common Duties You’re Trained for

You’ll learn to monitor and evaluate a patient’s dental health history. You’ll also learn how to process and interpret dental x-rays. With an associate degree, you can also conduct dietary counseling and counseling with patients.

With this degree, you’ll also learn how to assist the dentist while monitoring the patient’s condition both before and after they’ve had local anesthesia and nitrous oxide administered to them.

Bachelor’s Degree

After taking dental hygienist class requirements to earn their associate degree, many then go on to pursue their bachelor’s degree to advance their careers. To earn a bachelor’s degree it takes four years.

The first two years of courses are similar to an associates degree. The latter two years involve more intensive courses specific to dental hygiene.

Students opting for their bachelor’s degree must already have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. If you are looking to work in fields such as clinical practice, research or school health programs, you must earn a bachelor’s degree.

Job Expectations

While cleaning teeth is a big portion of being a dental hygienist, it’s not your only responsibility. Your goal is to help patients achieve optimal oral health. You do this by accomplishing the following tasks:

  • Placing sealants to prevent cavities
  • Checking for oral cancers
  • Educating patients
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Examining gums
  • Assessing overall healthcare

You’ll combine science with expertise to do your job properly and well.

Why You Should Consider Becoming a Hygienist

You’ll enjoy great working hours. There’s no shift-work and you can even opt to work part-time.

It’s a great fit for individuals with great people skills. It’s also a physical career which is perfect for those who dislike sitting all day long.

Find an Accredited School

Make sure the school you attend is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada. It will help you obtain a better education and it’s attractive to potential employers.

If you’re ready to pursue your dental hygienist degree, we can help. Click here to request free information about our dental college.


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