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Can a Felon Be a Dental Hygienist?

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Like other health care professionals, becoming a dental hygienist requires becoming licensed. While people with a criminal record can attend school to become a hygienist, acquiring the license is a different matter, as many states will not allow felons to become licensed.


All dental hygienists must be licensed in their own state. While each state has different requirements, the American Dental Hygienist Association states that almost all states require a potential hygienist to graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program, pass the written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and also pass a regional or state clinical board examination.

State to State Variances

Each state in the U.S. has its own specific licensing requirements. It may be important to have proof of CPR certification or letters of recommendation from licensed dentists in some states, and to have high school and college transcripts in others. Also, some states are harsher than others when it comes to job licenses for felons. For example, the state of Florida will not issue any job licenses to felons.

Criminal Record

Being convicted of a felony or a serious misdemeanor may cause an applicant to be refused his license. According to the American Dental Hygienist Association, "most states conduct background checks on a case by case basis, and may take into consideration the seriousness of the offense and other factors in making the decision to grant licensure." Again, whether or not a license will be granted to someone with a record varies from state to state.

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