How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Pennsylvania - PA

In December 2009, the Keystone State joined 43 other states in permitting registered dental hygienists (RDHs) in Pennsylvania to provide local anesthesia. This can be done while under supervision and after having taken a course in anesthesia that has been approved by the state licensing board.

Also, once you have completed two years (or 3,600) hours of supervised hygienist practice, you can apply to practice dental hygiene without the supervision of a dentist in certain public health settings. These include group homes and health clinics, nursing homes and schools, day care and other non-profit or free clinical settings.

This is a great step towards improving public and institutional acknowledgement of the skills and benefits of a well-trained dental hygiene force in Pennsylvania.

How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of State’s State Board of Dentistry grants license to dentists and hygienists. They offer two ways to become licensed as a hygienist: by examination (sitting for the North East Regional Board [NERB]/ADHLEX exam) or by criteria approval—possessing a license in another state with similar or stronger requirements than PA. In most cases, this means you’ve already taken the ADHLEX exam in another state to acquire your license.

The Board also reviews credentials for schools, continuing education courses and applicants. The Board also has the authority to hear complaints, discipline licensees and revoke or suspend licenses, when necessary.

Dental Hygienist Schools