Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Maryland
A dental hygienist has an important role to play in the dental office, providing necessary cleanings and educating and communicating with patients. If you enjoy working with people and are looking for a healthcare career, consider training to work as a dental hygienist in Maryland. The state is currently seeing a big demand for qualified hygienists, so with training and licensing it should be easy to find a great position.
To work as a dental hygienist in Maryland you must be licensed through the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners. There are different requirements depending on whether or not you have a hygienist license from another state. Generally, you must pass national and state exams after having completed an accredited post-secondary program and have good moral character.
Dental Hygienist Programs
If you are not licensed as a dental hygienist in another state, the first step to working in Maryland is to complete an educational program. The state requires that you choose a program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). There are several CODA-approved programs in the state:
- Allegany College of Maryland, Cumberland. Admittance to this two-year program is competitive. Admission requirements include a “C” or better grade in high school chemistry and biology. Students complete the program with 70 credit hours, including 43 credits of dental curriculum, and graduate prepared to pass the licensing exams. Tuition is less for residents of Allegany County.
- The Community College of Baltimore County, Baltimore. This program is also selective, and high school grades are important considerations for admittance. Graduates of the program are prepared to become licensed in the state and will have earned an associate’s degree.
- Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown. The Hagerstown program in dental hygiene takes two years to complete, confers and associate’s degree and prepares students to pass the necessary exams for licensing. In addition to classroom hours, students will spend time in the community clinic providing care for real patients. Out-of-county students may be eligible for in-county tuition because of the high demand for trained hygienists.
For dental assistant programs see this page.
If you have a license for dental hygiene in another state, you must only complete three additional steps to be licensed in Maryland:
- Pass the Maryland Dental Hygiene Jurisprudence exam with a score of 75 or higher.
- Pass the American Dental Hygiene Licensing Examination (ADHLEX) with a score of 75 or higher on every section of the test.
- Demonstrate good moral character by not having been investigated by a disciplinary committee, not having outstanding charges and not having been disciplined.
A licensed hygienist who has not passed the ADHLEX can also become licensed in Maryland by having worked in the profession for at least 150 hours per year for the previous three years or longer and by passing clinical exams in another state.
For new hygienists in the state of Maryland, licensing requires passing the ADHLEX, the Maryland Dental Hygiene Jurisprudence Examination, and the National Boards exams administered by the American Dental Association. These exams can all be taken after completing a program lasting at least two years that is accredited by CODA. Applicants also must show good moral character.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
Throughout the country, the growth in careers for dental hygienists is strong. In Maryland, there is even stronger than average growth with jobs increasing by more than 30 percent between 2016 and 2026. There are expected to be more than 1,000 new positions for hygienists in the state during that time period.
Salaries for this career are also strong in Maryland. In 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for hygienists working in the state was $85,890. With experience, leadership roles and additional certifications or specializations, it is possible to earn more. Those with salaries in the top 10 percent were making $103,850 per year on average.
|Area||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|California-Lexington Park, MD||60||$43.26||$89,970|
Working as a Dental Hygienist in Maryland
The vast majority of dental hygienists in Maryland work in dental offices, which may be large or small. They work with patients to educate them, look for signs of disease and poor oral health, and clean teeth. In Maryland, you can expect to find good opportunities for work throughout the state, but the most jobs will be in the largest population centers: in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and in and around Baltimore.
The Associate’s program at Allegany College of Maryland is taught at their Cumberland campus. This program of study is accredited by the American Dental Association. This private, not-for-profit college has around 3,659 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Yearly tuition fees for in-district students are $3,450, while fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $6,240 and $7,440 respectively.
The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Baltimore campus. This program of study is ADA accredited. The majority of the school’s 25,188 students are on 2-year programs. Yearly tuition fees for in-district students are $3,559, while fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $6,393 and $9,357 respectively.
The University of Maryland at Baltimore offers a Bachelor program in Dental Hygiene. This program of study is accredited by the American Dental Association. Of the 6,368 students, about 89% are postgraduates.
The University of Maryland at Baltimore offers a Master program in Dental Hygiene. This program of study is accredited by the ADA. This is a full, 4-year private college with 6,368 students, of which 11% are undergraduates.