How to Become a Dental Hygienist in NJ
- Obtain a high school diploma
- Pursue a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene
- Obtain licensure and certification
- Consider further education
Dental hygienists work in a dental office and provide preventative oral care. They clean patients' teeth, take x-rays, educate patients, prepare them for a diagnosis by the dentist, and more. To become a registered dental hygienist, you'll need to pass board and licensing examinations; there are many dental hygiene programs in NJ that can prepare students to do that. Most of these schools offer associate's degrees in dental hygiene, but there are also some options for a bachelor's degree in this field.
Dental Hygienist Schools in New Jersey
|School Name||Degree Type||Location|
|Bergen Community College||Associate's||Paramus, NJ|
|Camden County College||Associate's||Blackwood, NJ|
|Middlesex County College||Associate's||Edison, NJ|
|Rowan College||Associate's||Mount Laurel, NJ|
|Thomas Edison State University||Bachelor's||Trenton, NJ|
Dental Hygiene Programs in New Jersey: Overviews
Dental hygienist programs in NJ are all conducted in accordance with state and national requirements for this profession. Each dental hygienist school NJ has to offer will vary slightly, so look at the requirements for each program and consider your own educational needs and interests when choosing a program. Here are a few of the dental hygienist schools New Jersey students can consider.
Bergen Community College
Bergen Community College in Paramus offers an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene program that takes 24 months (four semesters plus a summer session) to complete. The program places an emphasis on real-world experience by offering training in the school's dental clinic. Students are required to complete general education courses, such as English composition and psychology, as well as health-specific courses in anatomy and physiology. Dental hygiene courses include topics like radiology, periodontology, community dental health, dental nutrition, and more. Students must take an admission exam to be accepted into the program.
Camden County College
In two years, students could also earn an Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene from Camden County College. It's a full-time program with the goal of preparing students to pass licensing exams and to secure entry-level dental hygienist jobs. It also includes general education courses, like English composition and an introduction to sociology, but most courses are specific to the dental hygiene field, like anatomy, nutritional science, radiology, pharmacology, and more. Clinical placements are also required for the program, so students can gain experience in a real dental setting.
Middlesex County College
Middlesex County College also offers an Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene program. It's a 2-year program that includes practice in a clinic, as well as regular coursework. Coursework includes topics in microbiology, anatomy, oral health, and anesthesiology. Students can take national and regional board exams during their last semester of the programs; once they graduate and pass these exams, they are eligible for the state licensing exam.
Rowan College at Burlington County
Students can also complete an associate's degree in dental hygiene program at Rowan College in five semesters. This 75-credit program is a combination of classroom instruction, labs, and clinical experiences. Course topics include radiology, dental emergencies, head and neck anatomy, pharmacology, and anesthesiology. Prerequisite college-level general education courses like microbiology, English composition, statistics, and more should be completed before applying to the program.
Thomas Edison State University
This university offers a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program specifically for those who are already licensed dental hygienists. The program allows them to further their education and receive a 4-year degree, while also gaining a deeper understanding of their field. It's a 120-credit program with 60 credits required in general education subjects, 45 specific to dental hygiene, and 15 electives. Students who have already earned an associate's degree can transfer in those credits. The dental hygiene courses cover topics including radiology, pharmacology, nutrition, and periodontics. Students must also take classes in microbiology, algebra, and chemistry or physics.
Admission Requirements for Dental Hygienist Schools in NJ
Each dental hygienist school in NJ has specific admission requirements. However, some of the common prerequisites for entering a dental hygiene school include a high school diploma or its equivalent and a minimum GPA of 2.5, if not higher. Some dental hygiene schools require prerequisite courses in science and math at the high school level or an admissions test. Dental hygienist training in NJ offers also involves licensure and certification at a later point in students' careers.
In summary, dental hygiene programs in New Jersey have similar curricula, requiring general education courses along with specific dental hygiene courses and labs. They usually include some clinical practice in order to give students the skills needed to become licensed dental hygienists in NJ.
Salary and Job Outlook
Dental hygienists can expect a 6% increase in job opportunities between 2019 and 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that in May of 2019, dental hygienists made a median annual salary of $76,220. New Jersey currently has between 3,500 and 6,000 jobs for dental hygienists, and dental hygienists working in the state have an annual mean salary of $83,430-$114,790, which is higher than the national average for this profession.