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Dental Hygiene Degree Programs

Article Sources
  • Dental Hygiene By the Numbers, American Dental Education Association, Accessed October 2017, http://www.adea.org/GoDental/Future_Dental_Hygienists/Dental_hygiene_by_the_numbers.aspx#sthash.BlbAjyt3.dpbs
  • Search for Dental Programs, Commission on Dental Accreditation, Accessed October 2017, http://www.ada.org/en/coda/find-a-program/search-dental-programs#t=us&sort=relevancy
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Dental Hygienists, Accessed October 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm
  • Dental Hygiene Overview, West Liberty University, Accessed October 2017, http://westliberty.edu/health-sciences/academics/dental-hygiene/
  • Dental Hygiene, Dixie State University, Accessed October 2017, https://health.dixie.edu/dental-hygiene/
  • Dental Hygienist Degree Program, Herzing University - Minneapolis, Accessed October 2017, https://www.herzing.edu/healthcare/dental-hygiene-degree
  • Dental Hygiene, Vermont Tech, Accessed October 2017, https://www.vtc.edu/academics/program/dental-hygiene-0
  • Dental Hygiene, MCPHS University, Accessed October 2017, https://www.mcphs.edu/academics/school-of-dental-hygiene/dental-hygiene
  • Dental Hygiene, Tennessee State University, Accessed October 2017, http://www.tnstate.edu/dentalhygiene/
  • Dental Hygiene, Penn College, Accessed October 2017, https://www.pct.edu/academics/hs/dental
  • Dental Hygiene, Indiana University Northwest, Accessed October 2017, http://www.iun.edu/dental/programs/classes-dhyg.htm
  • Dental Hygiene, University of New England, Accessed October 2017, http://www.une.edu/wchp/dental/programs/b.s.-dental-hygiene
  • Dental Hygiene B.A.S., St. Petersburg College, Accessed October 2017, https://go.spcollege.edu/dental-bas/
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There are plenty of reasons to become a dental hygienist, and the profession regularly makes the "best jobs" lists put out by publications such as U.S. News & World Report. That's due largely to good job growth and above average wages in the field. Plus, people can be trained to work as hygienists in as little as two years. This makes the occupation ideal for anyone hoping to quickly launch a new career.

Dental hygiene degree programs often result in associate degrees although bachelor's degrees are also available. The Commission on Dental Accreditation has approved more than 325 dental hygiene programs.

If you're interested in online degrees for dental hygiene, be aware these programs are typically intended only for those who already have experience as a dental hygienist. Online dental hygiene degrees are usually degree completion programs and allow someone with an associate degree in dental hygiene to earn their bachelor's degree.

Best Colleges for Dental Hygiene Degree Programs

With hundreds of options, finding the best school for dental hygiene can be a daunting task. Schools.com crunched the numbers and found these institutions were the top schools for dental hygiene based on a methodology that considered program prominence, graduation rates and other factors.

Methodology
1West Liberty University+
ADMISSION RATE
72%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Established in West Virginia in 1837, West Liberty University ranks first among the best schools for dental hygiene degrees. The institution gets high marks for its solid graduation rate, small student-faculty ratio and number of support services. It also ranks seventh for the prominence of its dental hygiene program.

The Sarah Whittaker Glass School of Dental Hygiene houses the program at West Liberty University. Students can earn either an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in the field. A degree completion option is also available.

Students who enroll in either program learn in a newly constructed hall. Both the clinic and classrooms have updated technology. The radiography suite is designed to train students for both conventional and digital x-ray imaging.

Additional Info
2Dixie State University+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

At the number two school on this list of best colleges for dental hygiene degree programs, students will find flexible learning options, multiple student support services and a strong graduation rate. Dixie State University also has an open admissions policy which can be a benefit for those who want to start their college education quickly.

DSU offers a two-year dental hygiene program. Upon completion, students have the option to continue their studies and earn a bachelor's degree as well. The curriculum for both is centered on equipping students with skills in five areas of competency. These include patient-centered care, communication and professional ethics among others.

Although originally founded as an institution of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dixie State University is now a public institution. Its campus is in St. George, Utah.

Additional Info
3Herzing University-Minneapolis+
ADMISSION RATE
93%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
20

Herzing University maintains ten campuses nationwide, primarily in the Midwest and South. Its Minneapolis location, based just outside the Twin Cities, has a particularly strong dental hygiene program and takes the third spot on this list.

The university ranks first for the prominence of its program. That may be, in part, because the region's well-known Lakeland Medical-Dental Academy was one of two institutions to merge and create Herzing University - Minneapolis.

Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene in 36 months from Herzing University - Minneapolis. There is also a bridge program for those who already have an associate degree and are licensed dental hygienists. These individuals can earn their bachelor's degree with one additional year of study.

Additional Info
4Vermont Technical College+
ADMISSION RATE
85%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$48
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
2

Vermont Technical College is a public institution with campuses in Randolph Center and Williston. VTC also maintains nine distance learning sites elsewhere in the state.

At 10-1, the student-faculty ratio at Vermont Technical College is the best among the top schools for dental hygiene. The college is also notable for having the second best graduation rate of the institutions on this list.

VTC offers a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene. The program is designed so the first three years are completed on-campus, providing students with the clinical skills to work as a hygienist. The final year of classes can be completed online. As for online degrees for dental hygiene, current hygienists with an associate degree can earn their bachelor's degree completely online through Vermont Technical College's degree completion program.

Additional Info
5MCPHS University+
ADMISSION RATE
87%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
13

Also known as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, MCPHS University prides itself on being a teaching institution that offers high-quality education to future healthcare professionals. It earned a spot as one of the best colleges for dental hygiene programs because of its graduation rate, among other things. It has the best rate of any school on this list.

At the university's Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene, students have plenty of degree options. Its bachelor's degree is available in regular, pre-dental and accelerated tracks. There are also online dental hygiene degrees including a bachelor's degree completion program and an associate-to-master's degree bridge program.

MCPHS is a private institution with campuses in Boston, Worcester and Manchester.

Additional Info
6Tennessee State University+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

With a proud history as a historically black university, Tennessee State University welcomes students of diverse backgrounds to its two campus locations in Nashville. The school was founded in 1912 and offers 77 majors at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Its dental hygiene degree programs include an associate degree and a bachelor's degree. While Tennessee State University has an open admissions policy, admissions to the dental hygiene program are competitive. However, those who gain access have a track record of success. TSU says it had a 100 percent completion rate in 2015, and 95 percent of its graduates who took the national board examination passed in that year.

Tennessee State University is a public institution.

Additional Info
7Pennsylvania College of Technology+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
5

Pennsylvania College of Technology is an affiliate of Penn State and has a reputation for being a premier technical college. That commitment to quality education applies to its dental hygiene program as well, according to our calculations.

Students in the school's associate and bachelor's degree programs for dental hygiene study in a state of the art clinic. Penn College not only teaches the basics of the profession but also provides real-world experience thanks to the fact its dental hygiene clinic is open to the public. Current hygienists can earn online dental hygiene degrees through the school's bachelor's degree completion program.

Penn College has one of the best graduation rates of the schools on this list of best colleges for dental hygiene degree programs. Its campus is in Williamsport.

Additional Info
8Indiana University-Northwest+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

With a campus in Gary, Indiana University Northwest is one of nine schools within the Indiana University System. The school enrolls nearly 6,000 students and provides flexible learning options. In addition to online courses, night and weekend classes are available. Plus, students have access to support services such as academic advising and career placement.

The school offers both an entry-level bachelor's degree in dental hygiene and a bachelor's degree completion program. The latter is appropriate for those who are already working as licensed hygienists. Students will learn about anatomy and dental practices as well as complete clinical work. The dental clinic at IU Northwest is open to the public.

Indiana University Northwest is a public institution and first started offering classes in 1921.

Additional Info
9University of New England+
ADMISSION RATE
85%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
12

The University of New England says it's small enough to be comfortable and yet big enough to be interesting. That may be one reason dental hygiene students will want to study on its Biddeford and Portland campuses in Maine. Its graduation rate may be another. UNE has the best graduation rate among the top colleges for dental hygiene.

The school's dental hygiene bachelor's degree completion program is intended for those already working in the field who want to expand their knowledge. As part of the program, students will provide care to the public through the Coleman Clinic on the Portland campus.

As home to Maine's only dental school, the University of New England is the largest private university in the state.

Additional Info
10St Petersburg College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
46

Students looking for an affordable education should take a closer look at St. Petersburg College. The school has the best tuition ranking of these top colleges for dental hygiene. St. Petersburg College is known for providing valuable job skills as well as being a top choice for online degrees.

SPC is one of the few schools to offer online degrees for dental hygiene and has Florida's only bachelor's degree in the field. As a degree completion program, it can be earned entirely online by those who are already hygienists. Those who aren't eligible for the bachelor's degree program can earn an associate degree in dental hygiene from the school.

St. Petersburg College is part of the Florida College System and has ten locations in the state.

Additional Info

Dental Hygiene Degree Programs and Common Career Paths

Unlike some degree fields which can lead to a variety of career paths, dental hygiene degree programs are intended for one purpose. They are meant to prepare students to be licensed as dental hygienists.

Associate degree programs in dental hygiene
Although bachelor's degrees in dental hygiene are available, many employers only require an associate degree. At the end of these programs, graduates should know how to assess patients, clean teeth, take x-rays and educate people on good oral hygiene. Graduates from accredited programs need to be licensed by their state before beginning to work.
Dental Hygienist
Hygienists provide direct patient care by removing plaque and tartar from teeth, taking x-rays, applying fluoride and educating people on how to brush and floss correctly.

Career Outlook for Dental Hygienists Majors

People pursue dental care for many reasons ranging from cosmetic to health. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes many people today keep their original teeth longer than was the norm in the past, further increasing demand for dental services. That's good news for hygienists who are needed to support the work of dentists.

JOB TITLE
AVERAGE SALARY($)
EMPLOYMENT
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
Dental Hygienists$73,440204,99018.6%
Orthodontists$228,7805,20018.3%
Dentists, General$173,860105,62018%
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons$232,8705,38017.9%
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
NOT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR?

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Dental Hygiene Degree Programs

Dental hygiene degree programs can be paid for using financial aid from several sources. The government may award loans or grants while most colleges and universities provide their own financial aid packages. Plus, private scholarship programs are offered through organizations such as the ADHA Institute for Oral Health.

Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program
Award repays student loans. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Aug-01

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Reapplication required for renewal.

Advanced Practice Healthcare Scholarship Program
Applicant must be a student who is enrolled or accepted into a dentist, dental hygienist, certified nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialists, or physician assistant program. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$10,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Award is not automatically renewable. Recipient must go through a competitive process to be considered for each award, each cycle.

Student Loan Program for Health, Science, & Mathematics
Applicant must be a resident of North Carolina and demonstrate financial need. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$8,500

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February

 

 

Vermont Dental Hygiene Scholarship
Applicant must be a resident of Vermont who will enroll in a dental hygiene program at an accredited school approved for federal Title IV funding. Academic achievement and financial need must be demonstrated. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$8,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Mar-03

 

 

Professional Organizations

As the largest national organization devoted to the profession, the ADHA represents 185,000 hygienists nationwide and was founded in 1923.
Tracing its roots to 1932, the National Dental Hygienists' Association was founded to address the challenges faced by African-Americans in the field and continues to represent the interests of minority hygienists today.
The ADEA advocates for development of sound education programs for dental professionals at all levels.
Article Sources
Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.

Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.

  1. In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  3. Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  4. Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
    • Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
  5. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  6. Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
    • Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
    • Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
    • Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
    • Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
  7. Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  8. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
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St Petersburg College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
6021 142nd Ave N
City
Clearwater
State
FL
Zip Code
33760
Website
www.spcollege.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
31,767
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$3,347
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
22
Number of Online Programs Offered
46
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
52%
Indiana University-Northwest
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
3400 Broadway
City
Gary
State
IN
Zip Code
46408
Website
www.iun.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
400-510
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
400-510
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
400-500
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
17-23
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
5,486
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$35
Admission Rate
79%
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,963
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
15
Number of Online Programs Offered
4
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
35%
MCPHS University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
179 Longwood Ave
City
Boston
State
MA
Zip Code
02115
Website
www.mcphs.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
460-570
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
490-610
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
470-580
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
21-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,947
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
87%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$30,530
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
16
Number of Online Programs Offered
13
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
21%
Tennessee State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd
City
Nashville
State
TN
Zip Code
37209
Website
www.tnstate.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
7,264
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,112
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
16
Number of Online Programs Offered
4
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
18%
Dixie State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
225 S 700 E
City
Saint George
State
UT
Zip Code
84770
Website
www.dixie.edu/
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
8,503
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$35
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$4,620
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
19
Number of Online Programs Offered
1
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
37%
Vermont Technical College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1 Main Street
City
Randolph Center
State
VT
Zip Code
05061
Website
www.vtc.edu
Test Scores
Recommended
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Rural: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,559
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$48
Admission Rate
85%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$13,490
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
10
Number of Online Programs Offered
2
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
23%
West Liberty University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
208 University Drive
City
West Liberty
State
WV
Zip Code
26074
Website
www.westliberty.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
380-510
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
400-540
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
330-520
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
18-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Rural: Fringe
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,167
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
72%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,702
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
13
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
30%
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
One College Ave
City
Williamsport
State
PA
Zip Code
17701
Website
www.pct.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
5,514
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$15,810
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
18
Number of Online Programs Offered
5
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
18%
University of New England
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
11 Hills Beach Rd
City
Biddeford
State
ME
Zip Code
04005
Website
www.une.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
480-580
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
480-590
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
470-560
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-29
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Midsize
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,800
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
85%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$34,760
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
13
Number of Online Programs Offered
12
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
48%
Herzing University-Minneapolis
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
5700 W Broadway
City
Minneapolis
State
MN
Zip Code
55428
Website
www.herzing.edu
Test Scores
Recommended
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Private for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
288
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
93%
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$13,090
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
11
Number of Online Programs Offered
20
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
26%
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