Learn about the dental hygiene prerequisites to obtaining a dental hygiene education as part of your pursuit for a career as a dental hygienist.
As a dental hygienist, you will provide oral health educational, clinical and therapeutic services to the general public. Therefore, a thorough educational background is required. All schools have dental hygiene prerequisites that you must fulfill before admission into their programs.
The admission and dental hygiene prerequisites vary among schools, but generally require that applicants are at least 18 years old; have a high school diploma or GED; have a minimum “C” average in high school, with courses in mathematics, chemistry and biology; and, acceptable college entrance test scores. Additionally, some schools may require prerequisite courses in chemistry, English, speech, psychology and sociology before beginning the core courses. A personal interview, dexterity test (to measure such things as hand and eye coordination) and essay writing may also be a part of the entrance process.
You should expect to commit at least two years of study once you have been accepted. This is for either a diploma, certificate or associates degree. Still, other programs offer a four year degree. If you want to advance your career in education, research or administration, many schools offer master’s level program with a specific set of dental hygiene prerequisites.
Dental Hygiene Prerequisites Categories
The courses associated with dental hygiene prerequisites vary, depending on the type of degree or certificate you want to receive. The following list outlines the areas of instruction offered for each level of education.
General education includes English, speech, psychology and sociology. These are basic course which are part of all types of program curricula.
Basic science courses include general chemistry, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, nutrition, and pharmacology. These dental hygiene prerequisites begin to lay the foundation of understanding the human body and its functions.
Dental science courses include dental anatomy, head and neck anatomy, oral embryology and histology, oral pathology, radiology, periodontology, pain control and dental materials. The student transcends to understand the relationship between the human anatomy and the dental structure.
Dental emergencies courses are basic life support, legal and ethical aspects of the dental hygiene practice, and supervised instruction in pre-clinical and clinical practice. This category of dental hygiene prerequisites deals with handling emergency situations. The student also receives hands-on practice which is necessary to fulfill dental hygiene prerequisites.
Becoming a dental hygienist requires multiple hours of classroom study and clinical dental hygiene instruction. Source: Certdentalhygienist dot com