Dental hygienists typically need an associate’s degree in dental hygiene to enter the occupation. Every state and province requires dental hygienists to be licensed. Certificates, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees in dental hygiene are also available but are less common among dental hygienists. Private dental offices usually require a minimum of an associate’s degree or certificate in dental hygiene. A bachelor's or master's degree is usually required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs.

High school students interested in becoming dental hygienists should take courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. Some dental hygiene programs also require applicants to have completed at least one year of college. Specific entrance requirements vary from one school to another. Most schools offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Hygienists study anatomy, physiology, nutrition, radiography, and periodontology, which is the study of gum disease.

What are Dental Hygienists like?


Based on our pool of users, dental hygienists tend to be predominately investigative people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Dental Hygienists by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 308 Sokanu users

Are Dental Hygienists happy?


Dental hygienists rank among the least happy careers. Overall they rank in the 39th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Dental Hygienist Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

How to Become a Dental Hygienist

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Further Reading

  • Dental Hygienist Education And Training Requirements www.ada.org

    Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities.

  • Becoming A Dental Hygienist In Canada www.degrees.ca

    There are many degrees available in Canada that future dental hygienist may complete. They may opt for an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. Different provinces in Canada may have different requirements before an individual can become a practicing dental hygienist.

  • Dental Hygiene Programs www.adha.org

    Ready to enter the dental hygiene profession? The following list provides the latest entry-level programs for dental hygiene degrees or certificates.

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