Dental hygienist training is usually done at a vocational school, or community college. These institutions should be accredited by a regional accrediting organization and present a certification that qualifies a person as a dental hygienist. Once the dental hygienist training begins, it typically takes two years to complete the degree, and prepare the individual for a dental hygienist job.
Often, the requirement for dental hygienist training is simply graduation from high school, or obtaining an equivalent diploma through other means. Once that is accomplished, the next step is to research schools that offer the training. Not all vocational schools or community colleges will have a dental program. For most individuals, however, there still should be an option close to where they live. Larger and mid-sized cities may have multiple dental hygienist schools.
For those who know they are interested in dental hygienist careers in high school, the training could even start before graduation. Science courses, in particular, are often pre-requisites for getting into the core part of any college program. Taking those courses in high school will provide a better background for the college work. In some cases, a high school and college may team together to offer dual credit, that which applies to both high school and college, for the same course. Thus, the core curriculum for dental hygienist training may start earlier for those students taking advantage of this.
In addition to the classroom work, dental hygienist training will involve a certain amount of hands-on experience as well. In some cases, this may be accomplished through internships at local dentist offices. In the vast majority of cases, the school will have a dental clinic set up where members of the public can come in for cleanings at a reduced rate. This gives the student a chance to practice on real clients in a real-world environment. Of course, the dental hygienist cannot take care of any serious oral health issues. If those are discovered, the client will likely be encouraged to seek the services of a dentist.
For more information on finding a school in your area, the website of the American Dental Association lists accredited schools throughout the United States. Those who are not sure where to start looking for dental hygienist training may find that to be a good place to start. Enrolling in such a program is similar to enrolling in any other college program. Requirements often include sending in an application, getting accepted, and attending an orientation.