Dental hygienists should enroll in and complete an accredited dental hygienist program. To become a dental hygienist, you need to apply to a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). In most cases, only those students who enroll in accredited programs are eligible for government funding. Graduation from an accredited program is one of the criteria needed for licensure and certification examinations in dental hygiene.
Accredited Dental Hygienist Programs
Accreditation by CODA(https://www.ada.org/en/coda/accreditation) ensures the best quality education for the applicants. CODA makes sure that all programs certified in institutions cover four key areas: General education- Oral and written communication, psychology, and sociology Biomedical sciences- Anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, biochemistry, chemistry, immunology, microbiology, and nutrition. Dental sciences- Radiography, tooth morphology, oral pathology, periodontology, dental materials, and pain management. Dental hygiene science- Oral health education, health promotion, patient management, dental emergencies, infection control, and the legal and ethical principles of dental hygiene practice.
Admission requirements: Admission requirements for any program for dental hygiene depend on the school. Many programs need a GPA of 2.5 or higher in your high school diploma. It is common for programs to require a CPR certification before beginning clinical practice.
Types Of CODA Accredited Dental Hygienist Programs
Associate’s degree: This degree is for students who have no previous experience in the field. You can complete it in 2-3 years. You can earn an associate’s degree at technical or community colleges. Along with the curriculum, an associate’s degree will also entail that you complete clinical training. Bachelor’s degree: This program is for licensed dental hygienists who want to advance their education beyond the entry-level. A bachelor’s degree can take four years to complete. These programs are for dental hygienists whose interests lie in a more specialized care and may be looking for opportunities to increase their base dental hygienist salary(interlink-Dental Hygienist Salary Page). You will have to complete classroom courses in dental hygiene and take part in supervised clinical practice. These degree-completion programs are for students who already have their dental hygiene license. A bachelor’s degree helps you learn about research and leadership skills. You can earn your bachelor’s degree online as well. These online programs take about 15-18 months to complete. Post-graduation: The program is ideal for professionals who want advanced training. A master’s degree takes 16 months to complete. As a master’s degree holder, you can work in higher-level roles like oral disease prevention specialists or dental health education program leaders. Another requirement is to complete a capstone project. Admission requirements for a Master’s degree vary from those other degrees: GPA of 3.0 or higher Proof of a current dental hygienist license Specific scores on the GRE Letters of recommendations Possible career statement or a current resume You will be able to enjoy the flexibility of taking courses at your convenience through online programs. You may still need to go on-campus or complete on-the-job training. The only exception to this is when you complete your associate’s degree with clinical practice. In this case, you don’t have to take in-field training for your bachelor’s degree.
Dental Hygienist License
After you graduate, you will have to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE)(https://www.ada.org/en/jcnde/examinations/national-board-dental-hygiene-examination). This test consists of 350 questions and has two parts: discipline-based and case-based components. The scoring ranges from 49–99, with 75 as the minimum score for passing. After you pass the NBDHE, you have to appear for a clinical exam. This exam tests your knowledge of necessary dental hygiene procedures. Every state has its clinical-based exam. It is also common for licensure associations to require you to take a drug and law exam. After you pass all the required exams, you will completed the steps to become a registered dental hygienist(interlink-How To Become A Dental Hygienist) (RDH). Dental hygienist license renewal After you earn your license as a registered dental hygienist, you must renew it once every 1-3 years. This process makes sure that you stay up to date on the latest advancements in dentistry. You may have to prove that you have completed the necessary continuing education hours. These include CPR certification and infection control exams.
On-Campus Dental Hygienist Schools
THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (USC) Location: Los Angeles Program: Bachelor of Science (BS) in dental hygiene Duration: 2 years Tuition: $79,599 for the first year. $53,066 for the second year Accreditation: Commission on Dental Accreditation
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan Tuition: $15,262 Duration: 2 years Program: Bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE Location: Salt Lake City, Utah Duration: 2 years Program: Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in dental hygiene Tuition: $25,000 Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY Location: Minneapolis Duration: 3 years Program: Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Tuition: $58,047 Accreditation: Commission on Dental Accreditation
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY Location: New York City, New York Tuition: $56, 828 Duration: 2 years Program: Bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
THE COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA Location: Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada Duration: 2 years Program: Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene Accreditation: Commission on Dental Accreditation Tuition: $19,920
VALENCIA COLLEGE Location: Orlando Duration: 2 years Program: associates degree in dental hygiene Tuition: $6000 Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE (UT) Location: Memphis, Tennessee Duration: 4 years Program: Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene. Tuition: $32,498 Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Hybrid & Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Northern Arizona University
This online course offers a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (BSDH) degree. It aims to enhance the student’s clinical knowledge. You will get to study courses in management, education, and public health. All courses are offered online. This program also offers unique externships serving patients in on Loma Linda University
It is an 18-month Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene degree (BSDH) that imparts dental hygienists’ skills and knowledge. This program will prepare you for management and administrative roles in many settings.
Minnesota State University
Minnesota State University offers a two-year Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene (BSDH) degree. It is for those working part-time or full time and may need flexibility in their course-completion schedules.