How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Texas-10 Best Steps

A dental hygienist is a certified health care professional who works alongside a dentist by helping patients to maintain good oral health. We will show you how to become a dental hygienist in Texas and more in this guide.

Dental Hygienists make sure to help patients prevent and treat diseases of the teeth, and gums and help them maintain oral health.

They also examine and conduct x-rays, manage client history and medical status, and educate patients on proper dental care.

The main focus of dental hygienists is to eradicate diseases, and treatment of oral conditions while recognizing their work as a fundamental element of overall health and well-being as stated by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association.

Dental hygienists perform tasks like cleaning clients’ teeth and applying sealants, fluorides, and major oral health products.

The dental field has long, significantly changed through the emergence of recent dental integration thereby making the initial concept of “the traditional dental office” extinct.

There are a variety of places where dental Hygienists work like private practices, they have flexible work hours and earn very decently too.

Dental hygienists encounter clients of different temperaments and engage them in very resourceful conversations while teaching them about practices that will enhance dental hygiene.

Also, as a dental Hygienist, you’ll be expected to gain the necessary motor skills like how to move your hands, how to position yourself, the best posture, and knowing how best to use instruments.

Roles And Responsibilities Of Dental Hygienists

The roles and responsibilities of dental hygienists are numerous and often revolve around a patient, conducting screening exercises, cleaning the teeth, and educating them on oral hygiene and care. While working alongside dentists to diagnose and decide on dental treatments.

Here are some of the outlined roles of dental hygienists:

  • Conducting  screening exercises

  • Performing Cleaning  processes

  • Educating patients (mostly children and advanced age graders)

  • Before any examination, use your communication skills to ensure the client’s comfort

  • Sterilize all dental instruments

  • Identify all oral health issues

  • Give instructions to patients after every dental procedure

  • Conduct X-rays 

  • Assist dentists with selecting appropriate treatments for various Dental diseases 

How To Become A Dental Hygienist in Texas

Texas has a host of opportunities waiting for you to grab as a dental hygienist.

 You get a lot of job offers, you’re opportune to work partly in the medical field, with access to a sound work environment, a flexible schedule, and a competitive and better salary than most states of the United States of America.

In this article, we’ll be listing and explaining the 10 Best Steps how to become a dental hygienist in Texas:

  • Obtain a High School Diploma
  • Research and Early Preparations
  • Obtain an Associate Degree/Bachelor’s
  • Obtain a Master’s Degree
  • Pass Examination Exercise of the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) 
  • Pass an Approved State Dental Hygiene Clinical Examination
  • Apply for a Dental Hygienist License ( Texas State Board of Dental Examiners)
  • Shadow Professionals/Internships
  • Start Practicing
  • Enroll in Continuing Education Courses

Obtain a High School Diploma

Your career journey starts even from a career day in pre-school when your interests will be noticed and nurtured.

Then from elementary school to high school, your passion is kindled and both conscious and unconscious steps are taken towards becoming whatever you envision.

In mid-high school, you start taking elective courses and in-school programs that will help boost student consciousness in that field.

In high school, chemistry, biology, and other science-related courses together with mathematics, sociology, psychology, history, computer science, and English Language will help lay a solid knowledge base needed for your dental hygiene programs in the future.

To enhance student skills needed to become a dental hygienist, you’ll be needing to pursue extracurriculars in healthcare, communication, and STEM like; joining school debate clubs, working at a nursing home, reading career-related journals and magazines, making friends with students of the same vision, etc.

Also, you should respond positively to the guidance and counseling department of your High school so they can help you in areas of course filtering and career guidance and compatibility.

Before graduation and earning your High school diploma or any equivalent in the institution of your choice, you should make sure to have ;

  • Been followed by a mentor

  • Intentionally identify your career interests

  • Tried helpful in-school platforms

  • Gotten your legal guardians involved

  • Formed meaningful relationships

  • Created a budget and saved up for University

  • Made plans toward a stress-free career journey

Research and Early Preparations

Research and making early preparations for University are key to getting through every admission Process.

This is usually straining and you’ll possibly be stretched to the greatest length of your abilities.

You can start even from high school to prepare as no time is too early enough. So the basics should be :

  • Identify your choice course

  • Decide on which institution you would want to attend

  • Starting your College Application Process As Early As Possible

  • Write your essay

  • know every key date and deadline

  • Check and provide every entry requirement

  • Sought for recommendation letters

  • Provide your academic transcripts

  • Provide standardized test scores

  • Check for all financial information like tuition, scholarships, and financial grants

  • Double-check your college application

The admission requirements of Some schools may vary from the others so, you should check in to make sure you’re right on track.

Most schools will invite you for interviews and some will not, most will require High proficiency in a given course while some will settle for an average but rarely anything below average, and so on about school requirements.

Be thorough about each process, go through each stage with a more experienced person, and contact the school’s student aid in the slightest confusion so as not to make any mistakes as it can cost you your slot in the university of your dreams.

Obtain an Associate Degree/Bachelor’s

Upon acceptance and completion of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, it is your choice to seek a more advanced course.

If an associate, you’ll be spending at least two years at an institution that offers dental hygiene programs accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and the American Dental Association.

During this Program, you’ll be covering these four courses in general education, dental hygiene sciences, dental science, and biomedical science.

You’ll also be engaged in supervised clinical exercises and may decide to further your degree in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program if you want to teach, work in a specialized field, or conduct cutting-edge research.

a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene would benefit the student and would also be a step in the right direction towards licensure in the state of Texas.

This program is for two academic years of advanced level coursework in dental hygiene laboratory, theory, and Clinical skills.

The programs both associate and bachelor’s Programs include clinical and didactic courses like:

  • Oral Pathology

  • Pharmacology (dental hygienist)

  • Microbiology

  • Anatomy and physiology

  • Preventative dental hygiene

  • Dental radiology

  • Contemporary dental hygiene

  • Sociology, psychology, and communication

  • Dental hygienist clinical

  • Dental Nutrition

Obtain a Master’s Degree

Most master’s of science in dental hygiene Degree programs are usually online.

These programs are advanced and structured to facilitate the development of students in areas of creativity and build competent professionals, able to pursue careers in Dental hygiene, public/community health care, research, and education.

These programs grant students the opportunity to share their knowledge, skills, and experiences, work with colleagues in the general medical field, and have a Chance to explore varieties of learning resources to aid in their professional field.

Upon completion of this degree program, you would have learned new skill sets and can assume key positions in education, research, process associations, etc 

An MSc in Dental hygiene is usually made up of 36 credit hours, can be completed either part-time or on a full-time basis, has most of its courses online, and requires a minimum academic year of 2 years and 6 years for part-time students.

Pass The Examination Exercise of the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) 

The NBDH Examination is a testing exercise sponsored by the American Dental Association’s Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE).

You are required to register for this testing process upon completion of an accredited dental hygiene Degree program.

The examination is a 350 multi-choice question examination with focuses on discipline-based(theory to practice) and case-based items (procedures and practices) like:

  • Professional roles

  • Conducting and interpreting x-rays

  • Supportive therapy

  • Preventative agents

  • Performance of periodontal procedures

  • Patient assessment

  • Community Health

  • Research principles

Pass an Approved State Dental Hygiene Clinical Examination

Practicing as a dental hygienist would require you to pass the national board dental hygiene examination after your degree program.

Before you can get your license, you would have to meet various requirements like CPR training and pass your clinical exams.

These exams are focused on these areas:

  • Supra-gingival deposit removal

  • Intra- and extra-oral assessment

  • Periodontal examination and probing

  • Scaling and subgingival calculus removal

These are the recognized agencies responsible for the Sponsorship of such examination exercises:

  • Central Regional Dental Testing Service

  • Western Regional Examining Board

  • Council of Interstate Testing Agencies

  • Northeast Regional Board

  • Southern Regional Testing Agency

Apply for a Dental Hygienist License ( Texas State Board of Dental Examiners)

While applying at the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, you must have to pass through some requirements.

Background Clearance:

Before licensure, 

You’ll be required to complete fingerprint checks and other checks on the previous state and national violations

Basic Life Support Certification:

You must have been Certified in the Basic Life Support CPR training from agencies offering real-life Training and practical demonstrations in life support, danger, and emergency management, etc 

An Online Jurisprudence Assessment:

This is an examination that is used to access students in areas of rules and regulations covering the dental hygiene and dentistry practice in Texas, which are the Texas Occupations Code and rules and regulations of the board of dental Examiners 

After you’ve met these requirements, you can go ahead and complete your application process. 

As much as these processes differ between districts in Texas, you will have to visit your district board to find out, but the above-listed requirements are the general and most fundamental among all the provinces in Texas.

Shadow Professionals:

As a dental hygienist, you need to go through some career development Programs which are usually self-endorsed.

 There is no substitute for real-life experience and learning. This and more are being developed when you decide to shadow a practicing dental hygienist.

During such programs, you will work with professionals and real patients, conduct research, interview, and manage some students, all the while being supervised.

Shadowing is not the typical school internship program as this isn’t Soo formal and can run for a preferential period.

After you must have gained experience and confidence in client protocols, you can step up and start practicing either in the same practice or some other dental facility 

Upon completion, you’ll be able to:

  • Sterilize dental treatment rooms

  • Wear Protective Equipment properly

  • Know how to pass instruments to a dentist

  • Multitasking to achieve the efficiency 

  • Autoclave dental instruments

  • Clean a patient’s mouth

  • Placing sealants on patients

  • Safely mount digital dental x-rays

  • Fabricate a temporary crown

  • Make custom set teeth 

  • whitening trays

  • Set up instrument 

  • Helping in surgical extractions

During these Internships, you should constantly be alert and vibrant. Actively participate in every single process, listen, learn and speak up when necessary.

Also know the why’s, the hows, and when’s,  and get the most tips and reviews when allowed to perform.

Be highly inquisitive and grab any opportunity that comes across you. Develop yourself beyond the basics and be constantly initiative. 

Start Practicing

After shadowing a professional dental hygienist or dentist, you can also apply for practice in that same facility as it will make your Interview phase less stressful.

 And if you participated actively while you were at the facility, there wouldn’t be a need to persuade the management much because they must have noticed your productivity and will possibly make it count while evaluating you.

You can apply at government, dental or physician offices and work hours will be dependent on the management of such facilities.

If you have other plans like starting a private practice, then that would be entirely up to your entrepreneurship and managerial skills.

You can start by creating a business plan, seeking funds, registering your business, building your practice website, advertising, and many other relevant procedures.

Enroll in Continuing Education Courses

As a practicing dental hygienist, you’ll need to maintain your license as your initial license will expire after the first 8 months of it being issued and would need to be renewed.

To be able to meet an eligibility status, you would need to complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education from one of the approved providers of continuing education. If Practicing personnel should earn more than 12 hours, the student can be allowed to carry it over to the next year.

The course work required for a Continuing education should adhere to 

8 hours- technical/scientific courses

4 hours – risk management courses

6 hours – self-study

List of continuing education providers:

  • The academy of general dentistry

  • The American medical association

  • The American Dental Association

  • The National Dental Association

  • The American Academy of Dental Hygiene

  • The National Dental Hygienists’ Association

  • Dental Laboratory Association of Texas

Universities offering dental hygiene Degrees:

  • Texas A&M University

Awarding: BSc. Dental hygiene

  • Midwestern State University

Awarding: BSc. Dental hygiene

  • Concorde Career College

Awarding: associate degree

  • Tarrant County College

Awarding: associate degree

  • The University of Texas Health Science Center

Awarding: BSc. Dental hygiene


How much does a dental hygienist make in Texas?:

The annual average salary of a dental hygienist in Texas is about $77,500. This results in a $37.30 hourly and $6,470 monthly pay.

These figures vary between districts and provinces, education and experience. 

There is a constant increase in pay rates in Texas according to the length of practice years and more salaries for practitioners with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

How many years to become a dental hygienist in Houston Texas?:

It typically takes 6 years to become a dental hygienist in Texas depending on your level of education.

To work as a dental hygienist, you would need to obtain a license from your state and the American Dental Association.

Working as a dental hygienist can be realized by obtaining an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. Where you would be spending two years for the minimum Degree and the remaining years in the other.

What is the highest-paying dental job?:

The highest-paid dental specialist is the oral and maxillofacial surgeon with an annual average pay of over $288,500.

They are professionals trained in seasoned medical surgery and dental care. They also perform surgery on the facial areas, close to the mouth, performing jaw realignment, and impacted teeth surgery.

Also, their salary as high as it is varies between districts, and depends on the location, educational focus, professional experience, etc 

What is the difference between a dental hygienist and a dental assistant?:

Dental Hygienist and Dental Assistants have their unique backgrounds and roles but share some very similar roles:

Dental Assistants:

  • Help patients around the dental room and chairs

  • Ensure that dental instruments are sterilized

  • Pass instruments to the dentist during dental processes

  • Process x-rays

  • Update every client records


Dental Hygienist:

  • Removal of plaques

  • Application of sealants

  • Conducting and developing x-rays

  • They give health reports to the dentist

  • Educate patients on the right Oral lifestyle


The state of Texas has a good number of dental offices where 94% of dental hygienists work leaving the remaining percentage to government and physician offices. This is a good sign of secured employment opportunities.

Texas is an ideal city to become a Practicing dental hygienist with a very social atmosphere, average pay that surpasses the national pay, and many job-specific employment benefits.

Note that all requirements for both study and real-time practice as a professional should be found out at individual districts and facilities. Do you have suggestions about this guide on how to become a dental hygienist in Texas? Please leave a comment below.


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