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Dental hygienists provide care for dental patients and assist dentists with dental procedures. To become a dental hygienist, you must complete a dental hygienist program at an accredited dental hygiene college, and obtain a license by passing both a written and clinical state exam.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2012, in response to increasing demand for dental care.

Dental hygienist programs at accredited dental hygiene colleges generally lead to an associate degree. Dental hygienist programs include courses in anatomy, chemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, nutrition, dental materials and dental care.

Dental hygienist programs also include supervised clinical practice. Dental hygienists must work well with others and have good motor dexterity. Dental hygienists generally work the same hours as dentists.

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