Dental Hygienist School in Illinois – IL
To earn a degree from a certified dental hygiene program, you will likely need to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT), which will gauge your academic ability. This, combined with good grades, a high school diploma and other requirements specified by the school, will help you gain admission. The school must be approved by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. There are a number of dental hygienist schools in Illinois.
You can either pursue a two-year associate’s degree (from a junior or community college) or a four-year bachelor’s degree from a university or college. The associate’s degree emphasizes biology, pharmacology, nutrition, psychology, head anatomy and all the specific skills you will need to clean teeth, prepare radiographs and fulfill your duties in a dentist’s office. There is little math or humanities coursework. A bachelor’s degree includes somewhat more of a liberal arts education with an emphasis on the skills a dental hygienist needs.
Some schools will have you work with cadavers, exploring the tissues that make up the mouth, throat and jaw area. Other schools use 3D computer software to simulate the tissues you will ultimately work with.
Illinois Dental Hygienist Continuing Education Requirements
32 hours of continuing education is required every three years between license renewals for dental hygienists. You must also renew your CPR certification along with renewing your license.
Continuing education course work for hygienists may include theories of periodontal disease, or learning how to sharpen your instruments properly. They may also include pharmacology, which is especially important because new medications are always being released and patients may frequently ask whether one prescribed by the dentist may conflict with another one they are taking. Another popular and important class is ergonomics. Dental hygienists repeat the same motions constantly, and must learn to perform their tasks efficiently—maintaining good posture, minimizing movements and reducing the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive stress injuries.
Through campus based and online programs, aspiring Dental Hygienists in Chicago, Aurora, Rockford and Joliet, Illinois may be able to prepare themselves for the possibility of employment in some of the largest hospitals and healthcare facilities in the state including John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Evanston Hospital, Advocate Christ Medical Center, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.