What does it take to become a dental hygienist in Boston?
To become a dental hygienist in Massachusetts, prospective students will have to enroll in an academic program at a community college, technical school, dental school or university. After earning an associate degree, students must take both national and state examinations to qualify for an official license.
Upon receiving this license, a student is now an authorized dental hygienist and can practice in any dental office in the state of Massachusetts.
Some dental hygienists prefer to take their education to the next level by enrolling in dental hygiene programs offered at four-year colleges and universities. Earning a bachelor's or master's degree through a four-year institution requires two additional years of schooling.
Nearly all states, Massachusetts included, require prospective dental hygienists to graduate from a commission-accredited dental hygiene educational program in order to be eligible to take the state licensure exam. In addition to passing state exams, dental hygienists are also required to acquire a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well.
Each of these examinations specifically tests for the candidate's ability to practice basic clinical dental hygiene and ability to recite information on subjects related to dental hygiene.
If a dental hygienist passes all of these tests and requirements, he or she can legally use the acronym "RDH" after their names, so patients can know they are a registered dental hygienist.
Because dentistry requires advanced manual and diagnostic skills, dental hygienists should have an excellent visual memory; acute perception of space, shape and color; great manual dexterity; and a strong grasp on scientific concepts.
For private practices, dentists should have a good understanding of business, have strong self-discipline, and effective communication skills in order to be successful in the field.