How to Become a Dental Hygienist in West Virginia - WV

West Virginia is a key state to pursue a career as a dental hygienist. Specifically, West Virginia is a state that borders many metropolitan areas. The earning potential in these border areas is very attractive for a dental hygienist. For example, as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Washington, Arlington, Alexandria metropolitan area has an average annual salary of $78,610. This is well above the national annual salary of $66,950. Also, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygienists rank among the quickest growing occupations. With an expected growth rate of 30% by 2016, this occupation is in high demand and is moving at a rate much faster than average for all occupations. Furthermore, the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections predicts dental hygiene to be one of the top 5 health professions. A unique feature of this occupation is the flexible scheduling. Full-time, part-time, weekend, and evening work are all common. Again, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of dental hygienists work part-time. The majority of dental hygienists are employed by dental offices.

How to Become a Dental Hygienist in West Virginia

  1. Graduate from a nationally accredited educational dental hygienist program.
  2. Obtain a CPR certification.
  3. Pass the national board examination. Currently the paper-based fee is $215 and the computer based fee is $265. The exam is comprehensive and consists of approximately 350 multiple-choice items.
  4. Provide the West Virginia Board of Dental Examiners the scores from the national board examination. These scores must be sent directly from the National Board office.
  5. Pass the Northeast Regional Board examination, or any other state and/or regional board. Again, the state or agency that administered the examination must send the results directly to the West Virginia Board of Dental Examiners. Once you pass the national board exam and the state/regional board exam, then you have earned the Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) credential. The RDH credential signifies a dental hygienist as a licensed oral health professional.
  6. After receiving a copy of the West Virginia State Dental Law and Dental Regulations, you must successfully complete the examination concerning these state laws and regulations.
  7. Conduct a personal interview with the West Virginia Board of Dental Examiners.
  8. Provide two references of good moral character. These letters must come from a professional contact. Also, the letters of recommendation must be sent by mail or facsimile directly from the professional contact.
  9. If you have obtained a license in another state, then a letter of recommendation is required from the State Board showing good standing. Again, this letter must be mailed directly from the State Board to the West Virginia Board of Dental Examiners.
  10. Provide verification of graduation. This may be done by a letter from an authorized person of the school with the official seal attached to the application, or an official transcript may be sent with the official seal to the West Virginia Board of Dental Examiners.
  11. Provide copies of your legal identification card with the application.
  12. Submit the application fee, which is currently $60.
  13. Verify all blanks of the application, in addition to, provide all addresses from the last 10 years.
  14. Attach a photograph with the application and have sealed by a notary public.
  15. After successful completion of the above steps, you are now considered to be a registered dental hygienist in West Virginia and can pursue are career in this field.

*Application Note: There are other hygiene applications for expanded functions. For example, general supervision permit, public health permit, bleaching, local anesthesia, nitrous oxide monitoring, and volunteer license would require a separate application and fee.

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