This is a question that is asked all the time. Very often students don’t understand that to become a dental hygienist you must attend college. There are just a few colleges in NY State that offer the Dental Hygienist program.
All Dental Hygiene programs have prerequisites, that must be completed in full before you application is considered tor acceptance. It may take one or two semesters to complete the prerequisite courses. Many Dental Hygiene programs require or “like” you to have worked as a dental assistant.
The reason is having worked as a dental assistant exposes you to the dental environment and workplace. This experience demonstrates to the college, that you are comfortable and interested in dentistry and have a good likelihood of completion and graduation from their program. It shows them you are ready to take that next huge step to becoming a hygienist and you have made that important decision to further your career.
Working as dental assistant while you are preparing for dental hygiene school will help learn and understand dentistry, and also allow you to earn an income while you’re taking your prerequisites and while you are in hygiene school you may be able to work part time as a dental assistant.
It is not uncommon for us to have many students come into the DATC dental assisting program with dental hygiene as their goal. This happens all the time, and we welcome those students who do. Dental assisting is a great stepping-stone to becoming a dental hygienist.