Selecting the best Dental Hygiene Program for you
There are currently 328 programs offering entry level associate degrees in dental hygiene throughout the USA listed on the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) website.
Most of these programs are CODA accredited.
Associate degrees are available through junior colleges, technical schools, and specialist dental schools.
Some programs also offer certificate and bachelors degrees.
- Selecting the best Dental Hygiene Program for you
- Dental Hygienist Programs in your State
- Dental Hygienist Degrees Options
- Accredited Dental Hygiene programs
- What kind of schooling do you need to be a Dental Hygienist?
- What kind of classes will I study as part of my Dental Hygiene degree?
- How many years does it take to become a dental hygienist?
- What is the cost of Dental Hygienist school?
- Financial aid for Dental Hygiene students
- Online Dental Hygienist programs
- Choosing the best Dental Hygienist Program
- How do I get started?
Featured Schools Near Me
Listed below are some of the top Dental Hygiene and/or related programs nearest to you. Simply click on a school and enter your details to receive program and admissions information on their programs in your area. It’s fast and it’s free!
Please Note: If you do not see a school below which matches your preferences you can also use the search tool in the sidebar to get matched to a school in a few easy clicks.
Dental Hygienist Programs in your State
To browse schools by state simply click on your State below to view accredited schools and programs in your area.
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Dental Hygienist Degrees Options
Entry Level Dental Hygiene Programs
An entry level dental hygiene program will prepare you to work in a clinical setting as a dental hygienist. Degree options typically comprise of a 2 year associates degree – which usually results in an Associate of Applied Science, or a 4 year bachelors degree – resulting usually in a Bachelor of Science qualification.
There are some certificate level course options as well as options to undertake your studies on a part time basis.
An associate and bachelors degree program in dental hygiene will each typically have a mandatory credit requirement.
Degree completion programs
There are also programs which allow entry for already licensed dental hygienists to further their education and earn a bachelors degree in dental hygiene or closely related areas.
Accredited Dental Hygiene programs
Dental hygienist programs accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) are recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) for maintaining a high standard of education and preparedness for clinical practice.
A CODA accredited program requires at least 2,932 curriculum hours including at least 659 hours of supervised instruction in clinical dental hygiene.
In order to work as a dental hygienist in most states in the USA it is a prerequisite that you have obtained a qualification from a CODA accredited program at a recognized institution.
As well as obtaining a CODA accredited degree prospective dental hygienists will also need to successfully pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam (NBDHE) as required by the majority of states.
Requirements do vary for each state. You can find details of each state’s requirements and accredited programs by state below.
What kind of schooling do you need to be a Dental Hygienist?
Standard requirements for admission into a dental hygiene program usually include a high school diploma or equivalent with particular emphasis on maths, science, and english.
You may also be required to;
- Obtain additional college credits
- Pass an entrance exam
- Complete an entry interview
- Obtain medical and legal clearances
What kind of classes will I study as part of my Dental Hygiene degree?
A dental hygiene degree curriculum can comprise a mixture of general education classes, general science classes and specific dental science and dental hygiene classes.
General science classes include;
- Health and Nutrition
Dental science classes include;
- X Ray and radiology
- Dental anatomy
- Head and neck anatomy
- Pharmacology and pain management
Dental hygiene classes include clinical practice and patient care modules such as;
- Oral health studies
- Emergency dental care
- Infection control
- Equipment management and maintenance
- Specialist dental care for children, adolescents, geriatrics, etc.
Many colleges have their own labs and clinics which provide the opportunity for students to gain valuable clinical experience on campus.
Most dental hygiene programs will also require students to complete work experience in a public setting. This is a critical component of training given that clinical experience is required to meet licensing requirements.
How many years does it take to become a dental hygienist?
The majority of programs will last between two and four years. Once you graduate you will be eligible to take the national and/or state or regional exams. Having completed all these requirements you can then apply for state licensing. Once approved you will be recognised as a registered dental hygienist (RDH).
What is the cost of Dental Hygienist school?
Dental hygiene programs will vary in cost depending on location and type of school.
If you attend a local community college in your state then costs will be lower. If you choose to attend a private college then costs will be greater.
The American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) estimates that the average cost of tuition for a 2 year associates degree (in state) at $22,692.
Additional to this you will need to allow for the cost of books and study supplies, as well as rent and accommodation costs if necessary.
Financial aid for Dental Hygiene students
Financial aid may be available directly through your college or university. The ADHA Institute for Oral Health also offers scholarships, grants and fellowships.
Click below to receive an up to date list of companies and organisation offering scholarships and grants for dental hygiene students.
Online Dental Hygienist programs
Can you become a dental hygienist online?
Because of the necessary hands on clinical training and experience required there are no online associate degrees in dental hygiene.
Some colleges do offer online completion studies for those wishing to further their qualifications from associates degree to a bachelors degree. These online programs tend to be offered by 4 year universities.
Choosing the best Dental Hygienist Program
Important points to consider when selecting a school include;
- Is the School fully accredited?
- What percentage of students who graduate are successful in securing their license to practice as a Dental Hygienist in their chosen State?
- How long does the program last or take to complete?
- How much of the course will be classroom based, online, lab based and work experience based and how does this fit with your expectations?
- Does the School have good laboratory facilities and other resources to support your studies?
- Does the School offer any financial assistance or scholarships?
- Does the School offer any assistance with securing employment?
How do I get started?
Getting started is easy. Simply fill in your zip code below to begin by taking a look at schools near you offering dental hygiene programs.