Dental hygienist certificate programs are designed to supplement an existing degree in order to pursue a career in dental hygiene. These programs are in contrast to dental hygienist degree programs, which are meant for students with little or no previous college education.
There are both traditional and online dental hygienist certificate programs available that are designed to teach the basic career skills of a dental hygienist. Unlike degree programs, you can earn a dental hygienist certificate in less than a year. Depending on the school you enroll in, you will complete a mix of dental hygienist courses and hands-on practice before earning your certificate.
Dental Hygienist Training
Dental hygienist certificate programs are offered at dental hygienist schools throughout the country, including junior colleges, career colleges, and other institutions. Your dental hygienist certificate program will include classroom learning as well as hands-on training that will allow you to hone the skills you will be using as a dental hygienist.
Most certificate programs include subjects such as anatomy, periodontology, nutrition, and other basics. In addition, you will spend time in laboratory and clinical settings practicing typical dental hygiene procedures in an environment similar to the kinds you work in.
Choosing a Dental Hygienist Certificate Program
Choosing the right certificate program is not always obvious. Here are a few things to consider as you shop around for dental hygienist education:
- Program length. Some certificate programs last several months, and some last a year or more. Be sure you are picking a time frame you can handle.
- Online or offline. While both types of program offer similar dental hygienist certificate courses, online training programs are completed remotely, offering more flexibility and affordability. However, you will trade off for less interaction with fellow students and professors.
After Earning a Dental Hygienist Certificate
Once you have finished a dental hygienist certificate program, you will still have one last step before beginning your career. In the United States, all dental hygienists are required to become licensed except those working in Alabama. In addition to the completion of a dental hygienist certificate program, you will need to pass a written licensing exam.
Depending on which certificate program you enroll in, your school may offer practice sessions to help prepare you for a future dental hygienist certification exam.