Become a Dental Hygienist in Mississippi
For those in Mississippi who are interested in a dental health career, dental hygiene may be an ideal option. Working alongside dentists and dental assistants, these valued professionals focus on oral cleanliness and health. Dental hygienists’ services include teeth cleaning, sealant application, x-ray exposure and development, and patient oral health education. Dental hygienists can continue their education to eventually become dentists.
Requirements for Dental Hygienist in Mississippi
In order to practice legally, dental hygienists in Mississippi must obtain licensure through the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners. The Board requires these preliminary steps for all applicants:
- Completion of dental hygiene training at a school accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
- Successful completion of the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam (NBDHE) as administered by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations
- Passing of a regional clinical exam administered by either the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX), Council on Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA), Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA) or Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)
- Completion of the Mississippi Jurisprudence exam covering the Mississippi Dental Practice Act and Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners rules and regulations
Dental Hygienist Schools in Mississippi
The first step to becoming a dental hygienist is to receive a degree from a school accredited by CODA, such as:
- Mississippi Delta Community College. Located in Moorhead, MS, this school offers a Dental Hygiene Associate Degree in Applied Science (AAS). Two semesters of prerequisite courses are required in order for applicants to be considered, and there are a total of 89 credit hours required to earn the degree. Course fees for residents of Mississippi are $1,500 per semester.
- Pearl River Community College. Dental hygienists can obtain their Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene Technology at the Forrest County Center in Hattiesburg, MS. In addition to the completion of 37 prerequisite course hours, applicants must also submit ACT scores and a personal autobiographical essay.
How to Obtain Dental Hygiene License in Mississippi
The Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners charges a $150 fee to all first-time dental hygiene license applicants. Proof of professional liability insurance, CPR training and testimonials of moral character are required at the time of application. Furthermore, Mississippi dental hygienists must practice at least three months each year to keep their licenses active. For $25, a provisional license in dental hygiene can be secured, which allows hygienists who have completed all standard license requirements to practice in Mississippi Board-approved dental school clinics.
Dental Hygienist Salary in Mississippi
Dental hygienists in Mississippi earned a mean salary of $27.43 per hour in 2020, which was lower than the national median income of $37.06 reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that year. While the national employer demand for dental hygienists is expected to increase 6 percent by 2028, Mississippi’s projected increase is 9 percent. However, because the requirements to become a dental hygienist overlap in many states, certification can be transferred state-to-state relatively easily. Often, proof of credentials, experience and a state exam will allow dental hygienists to obtain licensing in a new state.
Working as a Dental Hygienist in Mississippi
In 2018, there were 920 dental hygienists employed in the state of Mississippi. Twenty-eight percent of that total was employed in Jackson and another 28 percent was located in the Northeast Mississippi metropolitan area. However, the Northwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan and Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula areas paid the highest, with each paying a median salary to dental hygienists that was over $30 per hour.