A license from the State of California is required for this occupation. The steps to gain a license are:
- Complete a dental hygiene program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. A list of the schools in California can be found at (www.cdha.org/ed/schools.htm).
- Undergo a criminal history investigation by submitting fingerprints.
- Pass a written exam.
- Pass a clinical exam which includes examining a patient and completing scaling and root planing of at least one quadrant (i.e., quarter section of teeth).
While the state certification focuses on clinical skills and state laws, the National Board of Dental Hygienist Examination focuses on adademic knowledge, and is also required.
Many employers prefer candidates who have earned a Bachelor's or Associate's degree, but sometimes a certificate is an acceptable substitute for a degree.
Most educational programs require one to have a valide CPR certification and to have completed one year of high school biology, algebra and chemistry.