If you have made the choice to become a dental hygienist, then the first step you need to take is to find dental hygienist schools in Utah. Finding the right school will enable you to learn the skills you need to work in this in-demand profession.
Attending an excellent school is also important to meet the requirements set by the state for working as a hygienist. There are several steps you must take beyond just getting your education, but the school you attend will have a huge impact on your career going forward. Not only will it ensure you get a quality education but also it ensures you can become properly licensed.
Before looking at specific schools, you should have some idea of the pathway you need to take to become a dental hygienist. This will allow you to better see why your school choice is so important.
Pathway to Becoming a Dental Hygienist
There are four main steps you need to take to become a dental hygienist in Utah. These are legally required steps that will allow you to work in this profession.
Step 1: Graduate from an American Dental Association approved program
You should always check to make sure that any of the dental hygienist schools in Utah that you are considering have ADA approval. This will be important in later steps of the process. If a school does not have ADA approval, you may have to repeat your education later to meet the requirements to sit for certain exams.
Step 2: Pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination
This exam is a multiple choice test with 350 questions. Questions cover your knowledge of dental care. They ask about ethics, care procedures, treatment options, patient assessment, and radiographs. There are three testing centers where you can take the NBDHE: Bountiful, Draper, and Ogden.
Step 3: Pass the Dental Hygienist Clinical Examination
This exam tests your actual skills in treating patients. You will have to do several common procedures. It also will test your patient interaction skills and your ability with radiographs. This is a regional exam that has testing centers in the western, central, northeastern, and southern regions of the state.
Step 4: Get your license
The last step in the process is to secure your dental hygienist license. You must provide the state with your exam results and a valid CPR certification. You also must complete an application and pay a fee. Once you have your license, you must maintain it by completing at least 30 hours of continuing education every two years.
Options in Dental Hygienist Schools in Utah
The following are some options for dental hygienist schools in Utah. These schools offer dental assisting or hygiene programs. Each school has different requirements for graduation from the program. In general, you can expect a program to take around 1,200 to 1,500 hours to complete. Most programs take under two years of study.
Programs are generally similar in content, covering options such as dental radiology, dental terminology, and ethics. Also included in each program is a series of externships or clinical procedural practices that allow you to put what you learn into practice in laboratories, hospitals, and clinics.
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Dental Hygienist Job Outlook
Before spending the time and energy to find the best dental hygienist schools in Utah, you may want to get some background information on the career. Knowing what to expect when you enter the job market can help you to decide if this is the right field for you.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that finding a job should not be too difficult since the profession is expected to see a 20 percent growth through 2026. This is faster than the average growth of other occupations. It also computes to almost 41,000 new job openings between 2016 and 2026.
The median pay as of 2018 was $74,820 per year. That equates to around $36 an hour. The highest paid positions were in dentist offices, but jobs in physician’s offices and government positions also paid well. Do be aware that many times hygienists may work part time, which could require working for more than one employer to get full-time hours.
Final Word on Dental Hygienist Schools in Utah
Now that you know why you must carefully make your choice of dental hygienist schools in Utah and have an idea of some of the options available, you are ready to take that first step in your career. Keep in mind that this field offers many opportunities, so you may find some competition when trying to get a spot in a program. So, make sure that you plan ahead and apply to the school of your choice early.