• Find A Program

Dental Hygiene Schools and Education Programs in Maine

Dental hygienists in Maine may work at two levels: Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH), who must work under the supervision of a licensed dentist; and Independent Practice Dental Hygienist (IPDH), who may work independently without supervision from a licensed dentist.

Both types of dental hygienists in Maine must fulfill education, examination and experience requirements.

[featured_school_simple]

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygienists in Maine earned an average annual wage of $67,730 (circa May 2013). If you would like to become a dental hygienist in Maine:

Complete a Dental Hygiene Preparation Program in Maine
Pass the Necessary Examinations for Dental Hygienists in Maine
Apply for Dental Hygiene Licensure in Maine
Maintain Your License by Meeting Maine’s Continuing Education Requirements

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Dental Hygiene Preparation Program in Maine

There are two types of dental hygienists that are licensed in Maine: Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) and Independent Practice Dental Hygienist (IPDH). Under the Maine Dental Practice Act, dental hygienists must have a minimum of an associate degree (equivalent to two years of study) from an education program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA).

If you wish to practice independently as an IPDH, without a dentist’s supervision, you must attain an associate degree and 5000 hours of experience, or a bachelor’s degree and 2000 hours of experience. CODA-accredited programs in Maine are available at the entry-level, degree-completion level, and master’s level.

Cities in which CODA-accredited dental hygienist degree programs may be found include:

  • Bangor
  • Portland
  • Online

Admission requirements to most CODA-accredited entry-level dental hygiene education programs in Maine usually include certification in American Red Cross CPR for the Professional Rescuer/American Heart Association Healthcare Provider, immunizations against Hepatitis B and tetanus, a high school transcript, an overall grade point average no lower than 2.5 (on a scale of 4.0), and grades of C- or higher in the following high school courses:

  • College-prep chemistry with lab
  • College-prep biology with lab
  • Algebra 1

Courses that you can expect to take in an entry-level dental hygiene education program in Maine include:

  • Preclinical dental hygiene
  • Head and neck anatomy
  • Dental radiology
  • Clinical dental hygiene
  • Oral pathology
  • Nutrition in oral health
  • Pharmacology
  • Periodontology
  • Local anesthesia
  • Community dentistry
  • Ethics and jurisprudence

Your clinical practicum will range from one to four semesters, depending upon your degree program (associate vs. bachelor). You will work in a real-life dental setting in Maine performing dental hygiene skills, under the guidance of a licensed dental hygienist or dentist. These types of internships are usually located within Maine’s largest cities, such as:

  • West Scarborough
  • Sanford
  • Bangor
  • Lewiston
  • Portland

 


 

Step 2. Pass the Necessary Examinations for Dental Hygienists in Maine

Regardless of whether you intend to become a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) or Independent Practice Dental Hygienist (IPDH) in Maine, you must pass three exams: the National Board examination, the North East Regional Board (NERB) examination, and Maine’s jurisprudence examination.

National Board Examination

The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination is administered through the American Dental Association Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations. This computerized exam consists of 350-multiple choice questions on community health, research, providing clinical dental hygiene services, scientific basis for dental hygiene practice, and on 12 to 15 dental hygiene patient cases of all types. You may take this exam at Pearson Vue testing centers, which are located within these Maine cities and nearby cities in other states:

  • Bangor
  • Westbrook
  • South Burlington, VT
  • Concord, NH
  • Boston, MA
  • Waltham, MA

North East Regional Board Examination

Secondly, you must pass the North East Regional Board Examination prior to dental hygiene licensure in Maine. There are two parts to this exam, a Computer Simulated Clinical Examination (CSCE) and a Patient Treatment Clinical Examination (PTCS). The first part of the exam is administered at Prometric test centers in Maine, including:

  • Bangor
  • South Portland
  • Presque Isle

The PTCS is given at the following locations in Maine:

  • University of Maine at Augusta-Bangor, Bangor
  • University of New England, Portland

You may also opt to take the following NERB examinations if you plan to administer anesthesia or nitrous oxide under the supervision of a licensed dentist in Maine:

  • Local Anesthesia Examination for Dental Hygienists
  • Nitrous Oxide Examination for Dental Hygienists

Finally, you must pass Maine’s jurisprudence examination before you are licensed as a dental hygienist in Maine. This exam will be included within your application for licensure in the next step.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for Dental Hygiene Licensure in Maine

You have completed your education and passed the necessary examinations. Now you are ready to apply for licensure as a dental hygienist in Maine. As mentioned before, there are two types of dental hygiene licenses in the state – Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) and Independent Practice Dental Hygienist (IPDH).

Registered Dental Hygienist

If you are at least 18, you are ready to apply for a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) license in Maine. Use the Registered Dental Hygienist Application. Along with the completed application, you will need:

  • $80 application fee, payable via check/money order/credit card to Maine Board of Dental Examiners
  • Registration form with appropriate fee ($140 if you are applying in an odd-numbered year and $70 if an even-numbered year)
  • Completed jurisprudence application (found within application)
  • Verification that your National Board scores have been sent to the Board (if not, request this by writing to Joint Commission of National Dental Hygiene Examinations, 211 E Chicago Ave, Suite 1846, Chicago, IL 60611)
  • Proof of CPR certification
  • Copy of NERB exam score sheet
  • Completed criminal history record from all states in which you have lived for the past decade (instructions are included within application)
  • Passport-sized photograph of yourself taken within the past six months must be sent along with the education requirement/affidavit page of the application directly to your School of Dental Hygiene. The school must affix its seal over your photo and return them to the Board.
  • Affix another recent passport-sized photo to the Affidavit section and have a notary public impress his or her seal on the photo

Mail this information to State of Maine Board of Dental Examiners, 161 Capitol St, 143 State House Station, Augusta, ME 0433.

If you passed the NERB within one year of applying for licensure, you will not be required to interview with the Dental Hygiene Sub-Committee. If this is a requirement you must fulfill, you will be notified of available interview dates with a letter acknowledging that your application has been received.

Independent Practice Dental Hygienist

An Independent Practice Dental Hygienist must meet additional requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Possess a RDH license
  • Meet the education and experience requirements listed in Step 1 above

To apply for licensure as an Independent Practice Dental Hygienist (IPDH), use the Independent Practice Dental Hygiene License Application.

Include with your application:

  • Application fee of $100 via check/money order/credit card to Maine Board of Dental Examiners
  • Registration fee of $140
  • Certification from your CODA-accredited dental hygiene program of receipt of a bachelor’s or associate degree

    • Attach a recent passport-sized photograph of yourself to the education requirement page and forward to your dental hygiene school, who must verify via seal and return the form to the Board
  • Proof of clinical practice (2000 hours within the past four years if using a bachelor degree to qualify, 5000 hours during the past six years if using an associate degree to qualify)

    • Complete the top of the form of Clinical Practice Certification, making sure to complete a separate form for each dentist who supervised your clinical practice hours. Mail the forms to the Board, who will forward them to the dentists you have listed.
  • Completed jurisprudence exam (found within application packet)
  • Completed criminal history record from all states in which you have lived for the past decade (instructions are included within application)
  • Affix another recent passport-sized photo to the Affidavit section and have a notary public impress his or her seal on the photo
  • Proof of CPR certification

Mail this information to State of Maine Board of Dental Examiners, 161 Capitol St, 143 State House Station, Augusta, ME 0433.

Once your IPDH license is issued, your RDH license will automatically expire.

 


 

Step 4. Maintain Your License by Meeting Maine’s Continuing Education Requirements

Congratulations! You are now a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) or Independent Practice Dental Hygienist (IPDH) in the state of Maine! Make sure to fulfill the necessary requirements in order to maintain your license.

Both types of licenses renew biennially. If your license was issued in an odd-numbered year, you must fulfill 15 continuing education credits for the first renewal period. Normally, RDHs in Maine must complete30 continuing education credits every two years. Renewal forms for both licenses are found here.

Consider joining the Maine Dental Hygienists Association. This group of dental hygienists who practice in Maine provides continuing education opportunities, networking and business opportunities to members.

Back to Top