The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Health Care Services, Board of Dentistry licenses qualified individuals as Registered Dental Hygienists in the state of Michigan. According to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the job of dental hygienist is expected to grow faster than other occupations, at a rate of 20.7 percent.
The greatest need for dental hygienists in Michigan is projected to be in the larger cities, including Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and the east central area.
If you aspire to become a dental hygienist in Michigan:
|Complete a Dental Hygiene Education Program in Michigan|
|Pass the Necessary Examinations for Dental Hygienists in Michigan|
|Apply for Dental Hygiene Licensure in Michigan|
|Maintain Your License Through Continuing Education|
Step 1. Complete a Dental Hygiene Education Program in Michigan
The Michigan Board of Dentistry requires all dental hygienists to complete a program in dental hygiene at a school accredited by Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association. If you graduated from a non-accredited or foreign school, you must still complete a CODA-accredited program before the Board will grant you a license.
A list of accredited schools in Michigan may be found here. Programs are located in:
- Port Huron
- Auburn Hills
- University Center
- Grand Rapids
- Big Rapids
- Battle Creek
- Ann Arbor
Degrees that are offered by the above dental hygiene schools in Michigan include:
- Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
- Associate in Applied Arts and Science in Dental Hygiene
- Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
- Master of Science in Dental Hygiene
The entry-level dental hygiene education program in Michigan that you choose will include coursework such as the following:
- Oral histology and embryology
- Preclinical dental hygiene
- Clinical dental hygiene
- Head, neck and oral anatomy
- Dental pharmacology
- Dental materials and methods
- Principles of periodontics
- Oral pathology
- Dental education and public health
- Community oral health
A clinical placement in a real-life dental hygiene setting will occur during your program. Here, you will be placed into a dental practice or office, or a dental school clinic if your school runs one. Under the guidance of a licensed dental hygienist or licensed dentist, you will practice the skills that you have learned in your coursework.
Dental hygienists in Michigan have the option of becoming certified to administer local anesthesia and/or nitrous oxide. If you wish to earn this certification, you must completed Michigan Department of Health-approved training courses, listed here. Local anesthesia training must include 15 hours of didactic training and 14 hours of clinical training; while nitrous oxide training must include four hours of didactic and four hours of clinical training. You might already have completed this training in your CODA-accredited dental hygiene program, so check with the program to see if you need additional training. You must also pass a separate exam in order to administer local anesthesia or nitrous oxide (see Step 2 below).
You must also maintain certification in Basic Life Support or Advanced Cardiac Life Support in order to become a RDH in Michigan.
Step 2. Pass the Necessary Examinations for Dental Hygienists in Michigan
In order to become a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) in Michigan, you must pass two examinations: the national board exam and the regional exam.
National Board Examination
The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination of the American Dental Association is administered via computer at Pearson Vue test centers. The test consists of Component A and Component B. Component A tests your knowledge of community health and research, providing clinical dental hygiene services, and the scientific basis for dental hygiene practice. Component B will present you with 15 dental hygiene patient cases and questions regarding those cases. Take the exam at the following Michigan Pearson Vue centers:
- Grand Rapids
- Ann Arbor
Regional Board Examination
The North East Regional Board Examination is the next examination that you must pass prior to licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist in Michigan. It consists of a Computer Simulated Clinical Examination (CSCE) and a Patient Treatment Clinical Examination (PTCS). The NERB also offers examinations in Local Anesthesia for Dental Hygienists and Nitrous Oxide for Dental Hygienists that you must pass if you wish to administer local anesthesia or nitrous oxide in Michigan.
Take the CSCE at the following Michigan Prometric test centers:
- Grand Rapids
- Sault Ste Marie
- Auburn Hills
Take the PTCS at the following Michigan locations:
- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
- University of Detroit Mercy – Detroit
- Lansing Community College – Lansing
- Kalamazoo Valley Community College – Kalamazoo
- Grand Rapids Community College- Grand Rapids
- Ferris State University – Big Rapids
Step 3. Apply for Dental Hygiene Licensure in Michigan
You are now ready to apply for licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) in Michigan. Use Dental Hygienist Examination Application Packet. You will also be required to submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. Instructions are included within the packet.
With your application, send (or arrange to have sent) the following items to the Michigan Board of Dentistry:
- Submit licensing fee ($45 for RDH, $10 for local anesthesia certification, $10 for nitrous oxide certification) via check or money order payable to the State of Michigan
- Have your dental hygiene school send a final, official transcript to the Board (copies not acceptable)
- Have the National Board of Dental Hygiene Examiners send an official score report to the Board (copies not acceptable)
- The NERB should already have sent an official score report to the Board
- If you have ever held a professional license in another state, have that state send verification/certification directly to the Board (copies of licenses are not acceptable)
- Send a copy of your CPR/BLS certification
If you plan to administer local anesthesia:
- Submit verification of completion of a training program in local anesthesia (complete the correct part of the application packet)
- Submit proof that you have passed the NERB local anesthesia exam within 18 months of completing the courses/training program
If you plan to administer nitrous oxide:
- Submit verification of completion of a training program in nitrous oxide (complete the appropriate part of the application packet)
- Submit proof that you have passed the NERB nitrous oxide exam within 18 months of completing the courses/training program
Mail all applications and supporting documentation to Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Health Care Services, Board of Dentistry, P.O. Box 30670, Lansing, MI 48909. You can check on the status of your application at any time by going here. The Board will contact you when your application is approved and if you applied for local anesthesia or nitrous oxide certification, these certificates will be mailed to you.
Step 4. Maintain Your License Through Continuing Education
You have done it! You are now a Registered Dental Hygienist licensed to practice in Michigan! Your license is valid for three years. During that time, you must complete 36 hours of continuing education. Of those 36 hours:
- 12 hours must be in RDH functions
- One hour must be in pain management
- You must maintain current CPR certification
During your initial licensing period, your license will be valid for only a partial cycle, so you need not complete continuing education. Keep track of your continuing education, as the Board might audit you at any time.
Think about joining the Michigan Dental Hygienists Association. This group calls itself the voice for all RDHs in Michigan, and seeks to advance the art and science of dental hygiene while promoting high standards of education, licensure, practice and research.