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, are passionate about optimal oral health and are looking for a healthcare career, consider training to become a dental hygienist in Maryland. Dental hygiene services are in high demand, and as more people seek to maintain their oral health, the demand for hygienists will continue to grow.
Dental Hygiene Process
The dental hygiene process begins with a comprehensive oral health assessment. The dental hygienist will then clean the teeth, using special instruments to remove plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease. Once the teeth are clean, the hygienist will provide education on proper oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing techniques, as well as diet and lifestyle choices that can impact oral health.
Requirements for Dental Hygienists in Maryland
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.
What Are the Prerequisites for Studying Dental Hygiene in Maryland?
Maryland has several schools that prepare students and graduates to work in dental hygiene. The University of Maryland offers four-year bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene, while community colleges have shorter, two-year degree programs.
Before applying to any one of these programs, be sure you understand the prerequisites. Dental hygiene programs are limited, so admissions are usually competitive. You need to meet the requirements at a minimum, but it’s a good idea to go above and beyond to secure a spot.
Whether you choose a two-year or four-year degree, most programs require that you complete some general education and science and math courses before applying. For example, to be eligible Allegany College of Maryland’s dental hygiene program, you must complete these courses with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and no grades lower than a C:
· Human anatomy and physiology
The admissions office ranks applicants by GPAs in these prerequisite courses, so it is important to get the best grades you can. They also add points to applicants who have completed other general education courses, like math, probability and statistics, psychology, and speech.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) offers a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. It is a two-year program, and to be admitted, you must meet the prerequisites in your first two years in college:
· Biology – 19 credits
· Chemistry – 9 credits
· Math – 4 credits
· English – 9 credits
· Social sciences – 10 credits
· Arts and humanities – 6 credits
UMBC applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 in this coursework. They must also submit two letters of recommendation, including one from a dental hygienist or dentist.
Dental Hygienist Schools in Maryland
If you are not licensed as a dental hygienist in another state, the first step to working in Maryland is to complete a dental hygiene program. The state requires that you choose a program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). There are several CODA-approved dental hygiene programs and dental hygienist schools in Maryland in the state:
- Allegany College of Maryland
- The Community College of Baltimore County
- Hagerstown Community College
Allegany College of Maryland, Cumberland.
Admittance to this two-year dental hygiene program is competitive. Admission requirements include a “C” or better grade in high school chemistry and biology. Students complete the dental hygiene 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 dental hygiene program is also selective, and high school grades are important considerations for admittance. Graduates of this dental hygiene program are prepared to become licensed dental hygienists 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.
Maryland Dental Hygiene License Requirements
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 dental 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.
Dental Hygienist Salary in Maryland
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 19 percent between 2018 and 2028. There are expected to be more than 570 new positions for hygienists in the state during that time period.
Salaries for this career are also strong in Maryland. In 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for hygienists working in the state was $91,880. 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 $107,520 per year on average.
EditAreaTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual SalaryBaltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD1,720$40.20$83,620California-Lexington Park, MD60$43.26$89,970Cumberland, MD-WV60$28.24$58,750Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV130$34.20$71,130Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD4,400$35.02$72,840Salisbury, MD-DE280$38.22$79,490Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV3,470$43.57$90,620
|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.
There are other employment opportunities for hygienists. These include working in public health settings, such as schools, nursing homes or a dental hygiene clinic. In these sectors they can carry out dental hygiene diagnosis and participate in ongoing research and community service programs
There are also positions with companies that sell dental products or services, as well as research positions. 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.
How Much Do Dental Hygienists Make in Maryland?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygienists in Maryland earn an average of $87,540 annually. Employment website Indeed.com indicates an hourly wage of $45.17.
How do I Become a Dental Hygienist in Maryland?
In order to become a dental hygienist, you will need to attend a two-year training program and attain an associate’s degree. Once you graduate, you will need to apply for a license through the Maryland Department of Health, Dental.