How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Virginia - VA
The dental health marketplace is expanding as our population continues to grow, so trained and qualified professionals such as dental hygienists are in high demand within the field. The dental hygienist profession is expected to grow by 31% and 29%, respectively, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through the year 2016.
How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Virginia
Making a decision to pursue a career as a dental hygienist is an important one. Dedication and commitment to the schooling and overall profession is important. Extroverts and those who can work well around a variety of people will most enjoy and be successful as a hygienist. Following are the steps one should take in order to practice as a licensed dental hygienist in the state of Virginia.
- High school is the most important first step if you want to pursue a career as a dental hygienist in Virginia. A high school diploma, or its equivalent is a requirement to even begin dental hygiene schooling. More importantly though, the foundation of your high school courses in biology, health and mathematics will give you a base of knowledge to begin your career pursuit.
- Job shadowing a practicing dental hygienist professional can given you an in-depth feel for the day-to-day work. As well you can learn through this experience if your personality would fit such an environment well.
- The American Dental Association (ADA) is in charge of the accreditation of all dental programs across the country with its joint Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Find a dental program that fits under the guidelines of this important accrediting board so that you will be fully ready to take a licensing exam and work within the profession immediately upon completion of your training.
- Complete an accredited dental hygienist program.
- The state of Virginia requires all persons working in any public health capacity must be trained in and current with a CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) certification.
- After completing your coursework and clinical training, you will then sit for the national board exams. There is both a written test and a clinical, or hands-on, portion for this licensing exam. You are only granted a license once you have received a passing grade for both tests.
- Virginia recognizes nationally certified dental hygienists as professionals that are given the right to practice within the state. There is no further testing required once you have passed the national certification.