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Dental Hygiene Schools and Education Programs in Georgia

The field of dental hygiene is among the top 20 fastest growing in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Economic Development projects that 2,240 new dental hygienist jobs will be created over the current ten-year period ending 2020.

The Georgia Board of Dentistry is the state agency responsible for defining and regulating the responsibilities of dental hygienists in Georgia.

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To learn how to become a licensed dental hygienist in Georgia, follow the steps shown in this guide:

Earn an Associate’s Degree in Dental Hygiene
Pass National, Clinical and Georgia State Jurisprudence Examinations
Submit an Application for Licensure to the Georgia Board of Dentistry
Complete Continuing Education to Maintain Licensure

 


 

Step 1. Earn an Associate’s Degree in Dental Hygiene

Before you are eligible to apply for licensure as a dental hygienist in Georgia, you must earn at least an associate’s degree in dental hygiene through a program offered by one of the schools recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). When applying for licensure, you will need to submit an official transcript from this school.

Standards of accreditation include the following:

  • Include two (2) academic years of full-time instruction (or its equivalent)
  • Include courses in General Education, Biomedical Sciences, Dental Sciences, and Dental Hygiene Sciences, AND required clinical practice hours.

Graduates of a dental hygiene program should be able to perform the following duties as a dental hygienist:

  • Analyze and collect patient physical and oral health data
  • Analyze findings to address patient’s dental hygiene treatment needs
  • Establish a dental hygiene care plan
  • Provide patient-centered treatment
  • Measure the achievement of treatment goals
  • Complete accurate data recording of all patient care needs
  • Assess, plan, and implement community-based oral health programs
  • Provide appropriate life support measures for medical emergencies

 


 

Step 2. Pass National, Clinical and Georgia State Jurisprudence Examinations

National Board Exam

To pass a National Board Exam, you must register with the American Dental Association (ADA) Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations, which administers National Board exams, scores, and certificates.

As an applicant for a dental hygienist licensure, you will take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE). To be eligible for this exam, you must either:

  • Be a graduate of a CODA-accredited Dental Hygiene program and have the program director certify that you are prepared,

OR

  • Be a graduate from a non-accredited program, and supply the following requirements to verify educational credentials:
  • A Letter of Recommendation from the dean of an accredited dental school or the director of an accredited dental hygiene program, AND the secretary of a Board of Dentistry in a U.S. licensing jurisdiction
  • Official Dental School transcripts that have ben verified by Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)

To apply to take the NBDHE exam, you must complete the following steps:

Read and Agree to the NBDHE Guide – You will be asked if you have read and agreed to the rules and regulations in the guide before you can submit an application to take the exam.

Register for a Dental Personal Identifier Number (A DENTPIN) – If you are applying and taking a national exam for the first time, you must register for A DENTPIN number before you apply to take the exam. If forgotten, retrieve your DENTPIN here, or to change information, fill out the DENTPIN form and email it to dentpin@ada.org.

Apply to take the NBDHE – When applying, you will submit the testing fee, which is $400.

Schedule time and date to take exam – If eligible, you can schedule at a Pearson VUE testing center, which offers testing in the following cities:

  • Macon
  • Albany
  • Savannah
  • Augusta
  • Stockbridge
  • Atlanta

The American Dental Association provides a sample test for the Dental Hygiene Exam Specifications, which may be found here.

Jurisprudence Exam

The Jurisprudence exam is found online at the Georgia Board of Dentistry website, and it may be taken as an open-book exam. You must pass the exam with a score of 75 or higher, and once passed the score is valid for one (1) year.

Clinical Examination

The last exam to pass is the clinical examination, which is administered by the Georgia Board of Dentistry or a Board-approved testing agency. You must also pass this exam with a score of 75 or higher.

Georgia recognizes the Central Regional Dental Testing Services, Inc. (CRDTS), as the unified testing center for clinical exams.

To apply to take the CRDTS exam, you must be a graduate of a CODA-accredited dental hygienist program, OR be a graduate of a non-accredited program outside the United States and/or Canada, and provide a letter from the State indicating eligibility, then complete the following steps:

You may locate examination calendar, which includes testing dates, cities, locations, and deadlines, here.

 


 

Step 3. Submit an Application for Licensure to the Georgia Board of Dentistry

When submitting an application for licensure to the Georgia Board of Dentistry you can choose to qualify based on either examination or credentials.

ExaminationTo apply to obtain licensure based on examination, complete the following steps:

  • Submit an application with a $75.00 fee
  • Verify any dental licensure held in any other states
  • Submit an official degree transcript
  • Have the ADA submit your National Board scores
  • Submit Clinical Licensure Examination Scores
  • Submit Jurisprudence Exam Scores
  • Submit a National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) report (This step is exempted for applicants who are within six (6) months of graduation from dental school, who have never before been issued a dental license.)
  • Provide criminal history information
  • Submit a copy of current CPR certification
  • Copy of court documents if there are any legal discrepancies (name changes, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.)

CredentialsTo apply to obtain licensure based on credentials, you must complete the following steps:

  • Apply with a $1,025.00 application fee
  • Verify any licensures you have held in other states
  • Submit an official degree transcript
  • Have the ADA Joint Commission on National Dental examinations submit your test scores
  • Submit Jurisprudence Exam Scores
  • Submit a National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) report (This step is exempted for applicants who are within six (6) months of graduation from dental school, who have never before been issued a dental license.)
  • Provide criminal history information
  • Submit a copy of current CPR certification
  • Verify registration with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), even if you are not currently registered with the DEA
  • Employment Affidavit – you must submit an affidavit stating the following information from the previous two (2) years preceding application:
    • All dates and locations where you have practiced dental hygiene
    • That you have been in full time clinical practice, meeting a minimum of 1,000 hours per year in the hands-on treatment of patience.

  • Submit malpractice questionnaire
  • Copy of court documents if there are any legal discrepancies (name changes, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.)

After the Georgia Board of Dentistry receives a completed application, a license will be issued within 35 business days.

To order a copy of your license, send a request along with a $25.00 fee to:

The Georgia Board of Dentistry
2 Peachtree St NW, 6th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303

 


 

Step 4. Complete Continuing Education to Maintain Licensure

Your license will expire on December 31st on all odd-numbered years. To renew your license, you must have completed twenty-two (22) hours of continuing education within the two (2) year renewal period. Fifteen (15) of the twenty-two (22) hours must be focused on clinical science.

If you have been licensed within two (2) years of graduating from an ADA accredited dental hygiene program, you may submit proof of coursework in lieu of the continuing education requirements of your first renewal period.

Although the associate’s degree is the minimum degree necessary to obtain licensure as a dental hygienist, attaining further education, such as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, is likely to increase your opportunities and earning potential.

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