Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Oklahoma
Dental hygienists are responsible for performing teeth cleanings, operating equipment during various dental procedures and educating patients on dental health. They must be licensed as Registered Dental Hygienists (RDG) to begin practicing in Oklahoma.
Requirements for Dental Hygienists in Oklahoma
To become a dental hygienist, one must first attend a dental hygiene program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Upon graduation, students will be eligible to take a national dental hygiene examination and receive their license to practice.
Dental Hygienist Schools in Oklahoma
Most educational programs for dental hygienists consist of two-year associate’s degree programs, the majority of which require a high school diploma or equivalent to be considered for admittance. Dental hygienist programs are available at community colleges or technical schools in Oklahoma, including the following:
- Tulsa Community College admits a small class of 14 dental hygiene students per year, creating a close-knit environment in which students can receive personalized attention. Applicants must submit high school and college transcripts, if any, along with ACT scores.
- Rose State College offers a two-year associate’s degree in dental hygiene. The program covers dental hygiene theory, research and practice and provides students with the opportunity to complete observations in a dental office.
Dental Hygienist Licensure in Oklahoma
Dental hygienists must pass the National Board Examination as well as a state exam accredited by the Western Regional Examining Board, Inc. (WREB).
In addition to graduating from a dental hygiene program and passing the above examinations, applicants for licensure must be at least 18 years of age, pass a clinical examination, and pass a jurisprudence exam showing that they understand the rules and laws of licensure in Oklahoma. If an applicant fails an examination, they may retake it once. To retake the exam a second time, applicants may be required to provide evidence of additional education.
Dental Hygienist Salary in Oklahoma
The dental hygienist field is expanding, with job opportunities in the state expected to grow by 4 percent in the decade from 2018 to 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary of a dental hygienist in Oklahoma is $81,010 per year.
Working as a Dental Hygienist in Oklahoma
Dental hygiene offers the opportunity to work with your hands and interact with new people, from patients to doctors, on a daily basis. It also allows people to enter the medical field with a smaller amount of formal training than other professions. Dental hygienists in Oklahoma can find the highest salaries in large, metropolitan areas, such as Tulsa or Oklahoma City, though jobs in clinics, private practices and other medical centers can be found throughout the state.