Dental hygienists help people care for their teeth by performing routine cleanings and providing education about tooth decay prevention, how to floss and brush teeth and how to use mouthwash and other products to reduce tarter and plaque. Completion of a two- or four-year degree program in dental hygiene is necessary to earn a license. A background in science and math is helpful when completing a dental hygiene program. Dental hygienist positions are available in dental offices, health clinics or in research labs.
Complete a high school diploma or GED program as well as 40 hours of college coursework including English, chemistry, sociology and psychology from an accredited college or university. Coursework in science is considered above other studies, so having a high GPA in the area of science helps your chances of being accepted into a dental hygiene program.
Contact the dental hygiene school you want to attend to learn more about admissions testing. An admissions interview and dexterity test are common admissions tools used to screen applicants. You may also need to write an essay explaining why you want to be a dental hygienist.
Prepare for admissions interviews by creating a list of potential interview questions. Interview questions may include the reasons why you want to become a dental hygienist, how well you work with others, your strengths and weaknesses and how well you handle stress. Have a friend conduct a mock interview. Answer the questions and ask for feedback. Holding a mock interview helps reduce stress and allows you to organize your thoughts in advance before the actual interview.
Prepare for dexterity testing by performing hand, wrist and finger exercises. Exercises include massaging your hands to improve circulation, moving wrists up and down, side to side and in a circle and stretching fingers by gently pushing forward and backward.
Things You Will Need
- High school diploma or GED
- 40 hours of completed college coursework
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