Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Louisiana
Dental hygienists are key in helping patients maintain their dental health. They will clean teeth, examine patients for oral diseases and show patients how to properly care for their smile. If you enjoy working with your hands as well as communicating with people, and are not afraid to get up-close and personal with others, you may excel at a career in dental hygiene.
Dental Hygienist Prerequisites in Louisiana
To become a dental hygienist in Louisiana, you will first need to earn a degree in dental hygiene from a school that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). This may be an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree—the choice is yours. Next, you will need to complete the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination offered by the American Dental Association (ADA), as well as a regional or state clinical exam. You will then apply for a license with the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry, which requires you to possess a current certificate in cardiopulmonary resuscitation basic life support for healthcare providers. You will also need to complete a Louisiana State Board of Dentistry jurisprudence examination before earning your license.
Dental Hygienist Programs in Louisiana
Attending a CODA-accredited program is necessary in order to become a dental hygienist in this state. Consider the options below:
- University of Louisiana at Monroe. Students may earn a Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene, which requires four years of study to complete. Individuals who have completed an associate’s degree program elsewhere may enroll in the university’s online program to advance their education and earn a bachelor’s degree. Admissions requirements can be found here.
- Southern University at Shreveport. This school allows students to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene, which will require about two years of study. Admissions requirements include a personal interview as well as two letters of recommendation. Additional prerequisites can be found here.
State Licensing Requirements in Louisiana
The Louisiana State Board of Dentistry allows dental hygienists to complete a clinical exam offered by either of the following organizations:
- Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA)
- The Council of Interstate Testing Agencies, Inc. (CITA)
Dental Hygienist Salary in Louisiana
According to figures reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dental hygienists in Louisiana earned an average of $35.26 per hour during 2020, which is equivalent to $73,350 per year. The top 10 percent of dental hygienists working in this state earned more than $93,360 per year, according to the same data.
BLS figures also indicate that there were 1,990 people working as dental hygienists in Louisiana during 2018. By 2028, the BLS expects there will be a total of 2,350 people employed in this career field in Louisiana, signifying an 18 percent expansion in the field during this 10-year period.
Working as a Dental Hygienist in Louisiana
New Orleans, Harvey and Metairie are cities in which some of the highest paid dental hygienists can be found working in this state.
As a dental hygienist in Louisiana, you will find employment at hospitals, dental clinics, schools or even prisons. With the passion to show people how to maintain their dental health and the tools to do your job effectively, you can experience a very rewarding and fruitful career as a dental hygienist.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Dental Hygienist in Louisiana?
Dental hygienists generally train through a two-year Associates in Applied Science program. Once completed, you will need to obtain a license through the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry.