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Dental Hygiene Licensure Facts
Being a dental hygienist means being a licensed professional. Other licensed professionals include nurses, physical therapists, dentists, physicians, and dieticians. Licensure is the strongest form of regulation used today. In accordance with state law, licensed individuals are the only persons who meet the minimum qualifications necessary to practice their profession.
Why have licensure?
Licensure is a means of protecting the public from unqualified individuals and unsafe practice. In fact, in addition to initial graduation and testing, many states require dental hygienists to complete continuing education courses to renew their license.
Who grants licensure?
Licensure is granted on a state-to-state basis. Dental hygienists practice in accordance with requirements of individual state dental practice acts.
How is licensure obtained?
In virtually every state, several steps are required before a license can be granted:
- Graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program
- Successful completion of the written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination
- Successful completion of a regional or state clinical board examination
Once these steps have been completed, you must then contact the state licensing authority in the state where you wish to practice. As licensing requirements vary from state to state, it is necessary to contact each licensing authority for its specific application requirements and procedures. Examples of other types of requirements and information needed are:
- A written test on state laws
- Proof of CPR certification
- Letters of recommendation from dentists licensed in the state in which you wish to obtain licensure
- Official transcripts from high school and colleges attended •Official letters from the boards of dentistry where licensure is held