how to become a dental hygienist maine

Last Updated on December 26, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

Have you gone online to look at of becoming a dental hygienist? Have you also researched what the earning of dental hygienist is like? Have you found that the job can be challenging or you like it? Do you want to know more about this? Really? Then keep reading to find out some info about becoming a dental hygienist…

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 Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) 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 Commission on Dental Competency Assessments 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 CDCA 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 CDCA 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 CDCA 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.

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.

Dental Hygiene - University of Maine at Augusta

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In Maine, there are 2 types of dental hygienists:

  • Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) – must work under supervision from a licensed dentist
  • Independent Practice Dental Hygienist (IPDH) – can work without supervision

Both types of dental hygienists in Maine must undergo training, pass exams and meet all the other requirements.

Training Requirements

The minimum educational requirement for all dental hygienists is to study for 2 years and earn an Associates’s degree.

Those who want to work as IPDHs must also accumulate 5000 hours of work experience in the field.

If future IPDHs earn a Bachelors’s degree instead, they only need 2000 hours of work experience.

All the programs must be accredited by CODA, but admission is based on meeting certain requirements, such as:

  • Having a CPR certification
  • Having the vaccines against Hepatitis B and tetanus done
  • High school diploma, GED or transcript
  • A grade average over 2.5
  • At least C- grades in certain high school courses

Algebra 1, college-prep biology with lab and college-prep chemistry with lab, are the main classes required for a dental hygiene program in Maine.

College classes usually seen in dental hygiene education programs include:

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

All the programs also have internships as part of the training.

School NameAddress
University of Maine46 University Dr, Augusta, Maine 04330-9410
University of New England11 Hills Beach Rd, Biddeford, Maine 04005-9599

Passing the Exams

In Maine, all future dental hygienists need to pass 3 exams.

National Board Examination

The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) is organized through the American Dental Association Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations.

This is a computerized exam consisting of 350-multiple choice questions.

It also has a practice part on 12 to 15 patients of all types.

Candidates have to apply through the Joint Commission to take this exam, which takes place at the Pearson Vue testing centers.

North East Regional Board Examination

Dental hygienists work independently of dentists in Maine but few know it |  newscentermaine.com

The second exam that must be passed is the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments.

This one has two parts:

  • a Computer Simulated Clinical Examination (CSCE)
  • a Patient Treatment Clinical Examination (PTCS).

The first part of the exam is organized at Prometric test centers across the state.

The PTCS is available only at 2 locations:

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

Those who want to administer anesthesia or nitrous oxide under supervision must pass these exams as well: 

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

Jurisprudence Exam

The jurisprudence exam is the last mandatory test to obtain the dental hygienist license in Maine.

The application form includes details regarding this exam.

License Application

There are slightly different processes to follow, depending on which type of dental hygienist one wants to be.

Registered Dental Hygienist

To become a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH), the candidate has to be at least 18 years old, fill out the application form and provide a series of documents.

The papers are:

  • Application fee – $80
  • Registration form with the appropriate fee
  • The jurisprudence application
  • The NBDHE score
  • Proof of CPR certification
  • The CDCA exam score – a copy
  • Criminal history record from all states in which the candidate lived in the past 10 years (instructions are included within the application)
  • Recent passport-sized photo
  • Affix another recent passport-sized photo to the Affidavit section and have a notary public impress his or her seal on the photo

The fees for the registration form are:

  • Odd-numbered year – $140
  • Even-numbered year – $70

The picture has to be less than 6 months old and on the education requirement/affidavit page of the application.

This page has to be sent directly to the dental hygiene school who will affix its seal over the photo and return it to the Board.

Those who passed the CDCA exam with more than 1 year before applying, might have to schedule an interview with the Dental Hygiene Sub-Committee.

Independent Practice Dental Hygienist

Those who want to become IPDHs must first possess the RDH license.

There is a separate IPDH application form.

The following papers must be added:

  • Application fee – $100
  • Registration fee – $140
  • Certification from the training school with a recent passport-sized photograph attached and verified by the school
  • Proof of clinical practice from all employers
  • Completed jurisprudence exam
  • Completed criminal history record from all states in which the candidate lived in the recent 10 years
  • Another recent passport-sized photo on the notarized Affidavit section
  • Proof of CPR certification

Once an IPDH license is issued, the RDH license expires automatically.

dental hygienist salary

Dental Hygienists made a median salary of $76,220 in 2019. The best-paid 25 percent made $91,560 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $64,260.

Best-Paying Cities for Dental Hygienists

The metropolitan areas that pay the highest salary in the dental hygienist profession are Santa Maria, San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and Vallejo.Santa Maria, California$140,150San Jose, California$120,420San Francisco, California$113,940Santa Rosa, California$113,390Vallejo, California$112,700

RDHs and IPDH will earn quite a different salary, but the average annual income of a dental hygienist in Maine can be seen below.Annual Salary Range:$52K, $72K, $91K, 10%, 50%, 90%Annual Salary by Location:

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Portland$74,819
Lewiston$74,071
Bangor$68,329
South Portland$74,819
Auburn$74,071
Biddeford$74,470
Sanford$75,646
Brunswick$74,171
Scarborough$74,819
Saco$74,669

Maintaining the License

In Maine, all dental hygienist licenses expire every 2 years.

RDHs in Maine must complete 30 continuing education credits during each renewal period.

Those who obtained their license in an odd-numbered year need to only complete 15 continuing education for their first license renewal.

Both types of licenses can be renewed online.

dental hygienist program in maine

DENTAL HYGIENE PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Dental Hygiene Program combines advanced dental health courses with general studies classes so that students are both well rounded and ready upon graduation to perform clinical services such as patient assessment, instrumentation, dental radiography, application of fluorides and sealants, and administration of local anesthesia. Students are also skilled as oral health educators to teach patients and the community the principles of preventive oral health care.

You will take…

A curriculum which is designed to give the student a well-rounded foundation in the health sciences, specific knowledge and clinical skills in the dental sciences, and an understanding in the humanities. The clinical courses are offered at the Programs’ on site-clinic where patients from the community serve as the primary learning experiences.

You will graduate with the ability to…

Transition seamlessly from the program to several career options of clinical practice, schools and public health agencies where the occupational outlook is strong and demand is rising for graduates. Continued opportunities in career growth are possible through UMA’s Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program or as a registered dental hygienist in UMA’s Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA) program.

In as little as 3 years, you can become a licensed dental professional providing patient care.

UMA offers the only accredited Dental Hygiene program at a public institution in Maine with tuition nearly 75% less than an in-state private school. UMA offers a three year Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene degree with the option to complete one additional year to earn a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. Class size is limited to 20 therefore students receive careful monitoring of progress in a supportive atmosphere.

A flexible schedule and an appealing income, typically without working nights, weekends or holidays with your education provided at a highly-regarded, state of the art facility are all reasons to select this profession and attend UMA.

How To Become A Dental Hygienist Maine

We have to know that 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.

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