The Best Online Dental Hygiene Schools: 2021

Explore top schools, review online courses, curriculum, financing options, and the licensing you’ll need to get your career started. Take your first steps toward a degree in dental hygiene today.

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Expert Review

Jennifer McGivney

- Bio

Jennifer McGivney is a licensed dental hygienist with a decade of experience working in dental care. She began her career as a dental assistant before going on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene from Loma Linda University.

last updated

Last Updated: 09/21/2021
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When you enroll in an online dental hygiene program, you need to be confident you’re going to receive the training necessary to land a job after graduation. Because it can be difficult to know which school to choose, EduMed has created the Best in 2021 initiative for students to review the best and most affordable online dental hygiene schools around the country. With data and information that’s updated quarterly, future dental hygienists get the most up-to-date info on schools that we have vetted for cost, quality, and flexibility. See who’s making a difference for 2021.

or
About the ranking

X

Methodology for EduMed’s 2021 Best Online Programs

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

Affordability

  • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Valencia CollegeOrlando, FL Public $ 1

The Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene program at Valencia College provides the coursework and training for eligibility to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE)as well as Florida or regional exams for registered dental hygienist licensure.Students complete four prerequisite courses before starting their two-year dental hygiene course of study. The curriculum consists of dental hygiene classes and labs along with required general education courses. Degree requirements are primarily attended in person on VC’s Orlando campus. However, some prerequisite and general education courses are available in either fully online or hybrid formats. Students also complete hands-on training at select off-campus clinical sites each semester. The program begins every summer.

Program Highlights:

AS in Dental Hygiene

  • Credits: 88 (including prerequisite coursework)
  • Length: 2 years (not including prerequisite coursework)
  • Cost: $103.06/credit (in-state); $390.96 (out-of-state); $10,000 (est.)/instruments, uniforms, books, and other costs)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CODA (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
13%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
2 Florida State College at JacksonvilleJacksonville, FL Public $ 1

FSCH’s Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene program is typically completed in two years over seven semesters, including one semester of prerequisite courses and attendance in summer semesters. Most required dental hygiene and professional courses are offered on FSCJ’s North Campus, but a very limited number of dental hygiene courses are available online. Several required general education and professional coursework classes are also available either fully online or partially online. General education courses not offered online may be taken on any of FSCJ’s campuses. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NBDHE and other computerized and clinical exams required for Florida dental hygienist state licensure.

Program Highlights:

AS in Dental Hygiene

  • Credits: 88 (including prerequisite coursework)
  • Length: 2 years (not including prerequisite coursework)
  • Cost: $104.88/credit (in-state); $401.27/credit (out-of-state); $218.55/credit (eligible Georgia residents and online out-of-state); $10,000 (est.)/instruments, uniforms, books, and other costs
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CODA (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
11%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
3 University of WyomingLaramie, WY Public $ 1

Through a cooperative agreement with Sheridan College in Northern Wyoming, the University of Wyoming offers a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program where students first earn an AAS in Dental Hygiene at Sheridan before completing additional upper-level dental hygiene courses through UW to earn bachelor’s degrees. The bulk of dental hygiene courses for both the Sheridan AAS degree and the UW BS degree programs are taken in-person on the Sheridan College campus with hands-on clinical experiences attended at off-site facilities in the Sheridan local area. However, most required and elective general education courses for both the AAS and BS degrees are available fully online, allowing students to earn both degrees without attending UW’s campus in Laramie.

Program Highlights:

BS in Dental Hygiene

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $153/credit (Sheridan, Wyoming residents); $206/credit (Sheridan, WUE eligible); $363/credit (Sheridan, out-of-state); $154/credit (UW, Wyoming residents); $639/credit (UW, out-of-state); $10,000 (est.)/instruments, uniforms, books, and other costs
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC; CODA (AAS program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
67%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
4 Broward CollegeFort Lauderdale, FL Public $ 1

Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, takes a unique approach to dental hygienist training with its Associate Science in Dental Hygiene program. The two-year, full-time program employs a “1+1” format where students spend the first year of their studies earning BC’s Applied Technology Diploma (ATD) in Dental Assisting that qualifies them to work as dental assistants in Florida. Students then complete additional dental hygiene and general education coursework in their second year to earn the AS in Dental Hygiene degree. Associate degree graduates are eligible for the NBDHE and the other exams required for Florida dental hygienist licensure.

A substantial portion of the dental assisting/hygiene coursework is in-person on BC’s A. Hugh Adams Central Campus in Davie.However, several general education and a small number of dental assisting and dental hygiene courses are offered online in either fully online or hybrid formats. Non-online general education courses may be taken on any of BC’s campuses. Students also attend hands-on training activities in local clinical settings.

Program Highlights:

AS in Dental Hygiene

  • Credits: 88 (including prerequisite coursework)
  • Length: 2 years (not including prerequisite coursework)
  • Cost: $117.90/credit (in-state, on-campus); $373/credit (out-of-state, on-campus); $122.90/credit (in-state, online); $243.40/credit (out-of-state, online); $10,000 (est.)/instruments, uniforms, books, and other costs
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CODA (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
10%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
5 Miami Dade CollegeMiami, FL Public $ 1

The Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene program from Miami Dade College is full-time and requires two to three years depending on the amount of prerequisite coursework needed. All dental hygiene courses require attendance weekdays on MCC’s Medical Campus in Miami. However, all required non-science general education courses are available entirely online. Graduates are awarded the Dental Hygiene AS degree and are eligible to sit for the NBDHE and Florida state exams for state dental hygienist licensure. The program begins yearly in August. Admission is limited and based on the number of required general education and science courses completed by the applicant at the time of selection. GPA is also considered.

Program Highlights:

  • AS in Dental Hygiene
  • Credits: 88 (including prerequisite coursework)
  • Length: 2 years (not including prerequisite coursework)
  • Cost: $118.22/credit (in-state); $402.51/credit (out-of-state); $10,000 (est.)/instruments, uniforms, books, and other costs
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CODA (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
33%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
6 St Petersburg CollegeClearwater, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
19%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
7 Bellingham Technical CollegeBellingham, WA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
39%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
8 Palm Beach State CollegeLake Worth, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
19%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
9 Weber State UniversityOgden, UT Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
10 West Los Angeles CollegeCulver City, CA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
11 Shasta CollegeRedding, CA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
1%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
12 Santa Fe CollegeGainesville, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
4%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
13 Eastern Florida State CollegeCocoa, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
12%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
14 Gulf Coast State CollegePanama City, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
24%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
15 Florida SouthWestern State CollegeFort Myers, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
15%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
16 Utah Valley UniversityOrem, UT Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
39%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
17 State College of Florida-Manatee-SarasotaBradenton, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
18%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
18 Indian River State CollegeFort Pierce, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
13%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
19 Pensacola State CollegePensacola, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
18%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
20 Foothill CollegeLos Altos Hills, CA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
10%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
21 University of New Mexico-Main CampusAlbuquerque, NM Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
77%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
22 Pasco-Hernando State CollegeNew Port Richey, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
7%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
23 The University of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan Antonio, TX Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
24 Texas Woman’s UniversityDenton, TX Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
44%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
25 Daytona State CollegeDaytona Beach, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
16%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
26 University of Arkansas-Fort SmithFort Smith, AR Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
47%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
27 Idaho State UniversityPocatello, ID Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
69%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
28 Cypress CollegeCypress, CA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
or
About the ranking

X

Methodology for EduMed’s 2021 Best Online Programs

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

Affordability

  • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Lone Star College SystemThe Woodlands, TX Public $ 1

Lone Star College’s Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene program is offered exclusively on the school’s Kingwood Campus where students attend all dental hygiene-specific coursework. Most required science and general education courses are available online and presented asynchronously. The entire program is typically completed through five consecutive semesters, including one summer semester. Graduates are eligible for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) and Texas State Clinical Board exam, both of which must be passed to obtain licensure as a dental hygienist in Texas. Admission requirements include completion of all prerequisite coursework (14 credits) and the Pre-Entrance HSRT exam which may be taken at the Kingwood Campus Testing Center. Class size is limited to 24 students yearly, and the program begins yearly in the fall semester.

Program Highlights:

AAS in Dental Hygiene

  • Credits: 68 (including prerequisite coursework)
  • Length: 2 years (not including prerequisite coursework)
  • Cost: $90.00 (in-district and in-state); $202.00 (out-of-district and in-state); $257/credit (out-of-state); $10,000 (est.)/instruments, uniforms, books, and other costs
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CODA (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
7%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
2 Houston Community CollegeHouston, TX Public $ 1

The Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene program at Houston Community College offers a fully integrated course of study leading to NBDHE, state board eligibility, and licensure as a dental hygienist in Texas. The two-year, full-time program is primarily on-campus. Students attend all dental hygiene lectures, labs, and clinical classes in-person at the JB Coleman Health Science Center near the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Classes are typically weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Students are responsible for supplying their own patients (meeting specific oral health or disease criteria) for all clinical classes. The program’s curriculum includes general education and science courses, many of which are available in fully online or hybrid formats.

Admission requirements include 14 credit hours of prerequisite coursework and the HESI Admission Assessment Exam. Program space is limited with student selection based on factors that include performance on prerequisite coursework and program interview.

Program Highlights:

AAS in Dental Hygiene

  • Credits: 68 (including prerequisite coursework)
  • Length: 2 years (not including prerequisite coursework)
  • Cost: $84.50 (in-district); $180.50/credit (out-of-district); $227.00 (out-of-state); $10,000 (est.)/instruments, uniforms, books, and other costs
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CODA (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
7%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
3 Santa Rosa Junior CollegeSanta Rosa, CA Public $ 1

Residents in the Sonoma County region of California can obtain the knowledge and training required for state licensure as dental hygienists by earning an Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene degree from Santa Rosa Junior College. The program consists of 58.5 units of didactic coursework, labs, and hands-on clinical practice structured completed in two years (five semesters plus one summer session). All dental hygiene program requirements are in-person on the school’s Santa Rosa Campus. However, students must also complete a substantial general education component equal to 41 units of coursework to be awarded the Dental Hygiene AS degree. A major portion of that required general education coursework is offered through fully online or partially online classes. The dental hygiene program is full-time, and it is strongly suggested that all students complete all general ed requirements before the start of the dental hygiene curriculum.

Program Highlights:

AS in Dental Hygiene

  • Credits: 99.5
  • Length: 3 years
  • Cost: $18,000 (est.)/program cost
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: ACCJC, WASC (school); CODA (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
44%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
4 Middlesex Community CollegeBedford, MA Public $ 1

The Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene program at Middlesex Community College provides students in the Bedford/Lowell area with the competencies and requirements necessary for dental hygienist licensure in Massachusetts and other states in the New England region. The two-year (four semesters with no summer session) curriculum combines coursework, labs, and hands-on clinical training in a range of dental hygiene subjects along with a small number of general education courses in math, philosophy, and science. A small number of additional prerequisite courses must be completed before admission into the AS program.

Most degree requirements require in-person attendance during the day on MCC’s Lowell campus. However, didactic coursework in some of the dental hygiene courses is online as are several of the required non-DH courses. Although not a specific requirement, students are encouraged to complete all non-DH-required coursework, especially science courses, before starting the full-time dental hygiene curriculum.

Program Highlights:

AS in Dental Hygiene

  • Credits: 75 (not including prerequisite coursework)
  • Length: 2 years (not including prerequisite coursework)
  • Cost: $252.00/credit (in-state); $279.00/credit (non-Massachusetts New England); $505/credit (outside New England); $10,000 (est.)/instruments, uniforms, books, and other costs
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: NEASC (school); CODA (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
30%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
5 Sacramento City CollegeSacramento, CA Public N/A 1

Sacramento City College’s Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene is a primarily traditional on-campus program where students complete most of their degree coursework in daytime classes on SCC’s main campus. However, several required prerequisite/general education courses and a surprising number of dental hygiene subject classes and labs are offered with online components, many fully online in an asynchronous format. Graduates are eligible for the NBDHE and state boards leading to dental hygiene licensure in California and potentially other states as well. The program is open to applicants with a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must also complete 14 prerequisite science and non-science courses that may be taken at SCC or other accredited schools. Seating is limited to 24 students with selections made by lottery.

Program Highlights:

AS in Dental Hygiene

  • Credits: 91 to 97 units (including prerequisite coursework)
  • Length: 2 years (not including prerequisite coursework)
  • Cost: $46.00/credit (in-state); $370.00/credit (out-of-state); $10,000 (est.)/instruments, uniforms, books, and other costs
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: ACCJC (school); CODA (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
6 Chabot CollegeHayward, CA Public N/A 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
7 Mount Wachusett Community CollegeGardner, MA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
36%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
8 Quinsigamond Community CollegeWorcester, MA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
10%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
9 Cape Cod Community CollegeWest Barnstable, MA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
22%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
10 Springfield Technical Community CollegeSpringfield, MA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
24%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
11 San Juan CollegeFarmington, NM Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
36%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
12 Diablo Valley CollegePleasant Hill, CA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
2%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
13 Cabrillo CollegeAptos, CA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
8%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
14 Mesa Community CollegeMesa, AZ Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
29%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
15 Cerritos CollegeNorwalk, CA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
16%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
16 Tulsa Community CollegeTulsa, OK Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
46%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
17 Amarillo CollegeAmarillo, TX Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
14%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
18 Bristol Community CollegeFall River, MA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
19 Hillsborough Community CollegeTampa, FL Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
11%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
20 Pasadena City CollegePasadena, CA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
3%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
21 Taft CollegeTaft, CA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
33%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
22 Del Mar CollegeCorpus Christi, TX Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
23%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
23 Fresno City CollegeFresno, CA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
6%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
24 Northeast Mississippi Community CollegeBooneville, MS Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
68%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
25 Pima Community CollegeTucson, AZ Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
11%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
26 Collin County Community College DistrictMcKinney, TX Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
4%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Related programs worth a look:

Profiling Online Dental Hygiene Programs

Finding the right program is never easy. You can look at the data and read reviews, but the devil is in the details. To help aspiring dental hygienists narrow down their options, we’ve thoroughly researched three online dental hygiene programs, looking for curriculum goals, cost structures, admissions requirements, and more. Get the inside scoop on three of today’s dental hygiene programs with courses available online.

Lone Star College

Lone Star College

Lone Star College offers an associate’s degree program that is designed to help future dental hygienists enter the workforce quickly. The school provides small class sizes so students get the individualized attention they need from instructors to get the most out of the program. In addition, the school has state-of-the-art equipment for the hands-on training part of the program, including ultrasonic and radiographic technologies. Armed with these tools, students take coursework in community dentistry, dental materials, periodontology, and medical microbiology to get the intensive training they need to enter the field.

In order to gain admission into Lone Star College’s program, prospective students must complete prerequisite classes in chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and sociology. In addition, applicants must have an overall minimum grade point average of 2.0 and they are required to attend an information session at the school during the application process. After being formally admitted, students are required to undergo a background check and earn a CPR certification.

As of early 2020, the tuition to attend Lone Star College’s dental hygiene program is about $800 per semester. Students are able to get assistance to help defray the cost with grants and loans, as well as work-study and book advances.

St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg College offers dental hygiene programs on the associate and bachelor’s levels that train students to work in a variety of settings, including dental offices, public health clinics, and nursing homes. Students in the associate’s degree program, which takes two years to complete, receive a strong foundation in dental hygiene through courses in orofacial anatomy, dental pharmacology, dental materials, and preventive dentistry. This coursework is rounded out with some general education classes, which include psychology, mathematics, and speech communication. During the clinical portion of the program, students learn how to work directly with patients and acquire skills like using dental instruments properly and treatment planning.

Those who enroll in St. Petersburg College’s bachelor’s degree program, which is conducted completely online, get a more advanced education in dental hygiene. This is a degree completion program designed to give licensed hygienists additional training to move up the ladder in their careers. Coursework in this program covers areas like issues in dental hygiene, entrepreneurship, health care law and ethics, and advanced periodontics.

As of January 2019, students in the associate’s degree program at St. Petersburg College were charged $19,788. Those who enrolled in the school’s bachelor’s degree program paid $6,091 if they were in-state students and $18,214.60 if they were out-of-state students.

The University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico offers an online dental hygiene master’s degree that allows students to gain advanced decision making and problem solving skills and learn how to conduct original research. This program also has a clinical component where students participate in an internship to sharpen the abilities they learned during their courses.

In order to be admitted, prospective students must have a current dental hygiene license, a dental hygiene degree from a school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, and a minimum grade point average of 3.0. As of early 2019, the University of New Mexico charged a tuition rate of $277.82 per credit, as well as $69.82 for fees to in-state students. Those who enrolled in the school from other locations were charged $937.96 per credit tuition and $69.82 for fees.

What Dental Hygiene Programs Are Fully Online?

Those who have completed entry-level education in dental hygiene have the option to enroll in a fully online degree program. This is a convenient alternative for those who may be working full-time jobs or raising families, and they get the same quality education that their on-campus counterparts receive. The following are examples of some of these fully online dental hygiene programs.

Degree Completion Program

Degree completion programs are for licensed dental hygienists who have already completed a certificate or associate degree program and want to get further training that opens more doors for them in their career. In order to be admitted into these programs, students are generally required to have an active license in the state, a minimum grade point average of 2.5, and relevant work experience.

These programs, which can take about two years to complete, build on dental hygienists’ prior knowledge and skills by offering coursework in advanced industry science and practices. Through this combination of evidence-based theories and advanced techniques, students leave the program with stronger decision-making, communication, and leadership skills that can help them qualify for higher-level jobs and command larger salaries. As a result, students can get employment in a variety of settings including dentists’ offices, hospitals, public health agencies, or private companies after graduation.

Master’s Degree

Many professionals who grow into their role as dental hygienists eventually desire to take on more responsibilities—even beyond the one’s they learned on the bachelor’s degree level. For these people, a master’s degree program can prepare them for leadership roles in the field—whether they want to teach the next generation of dental hygienists, perform research that improves clinical practices, or take a managerial role in a health care facility. In order to be admitted into a graduate-level program, prospective students are required to have a dental hygiene bachelor’s degree, a 3.0 minimum grade point average, a current license, and a certain minimum score on the GRE or TOEFL. Also, schools may require applicants to have a certain amount of clinical experience.

Students in master’s degree programs learn advanced concepts related to oral microbiology and pathology, periodontics, immunology, and histology. In addition, they will obtain skills that allow them to move up in their careers, such as research, leadership, teaching, and written and verbal communication skills. After taking two years of coursework, students may be required to complete a thesis based on their own independent research.

Entry-level Dental Hygiene Courses with Online Components

In order to prepare to take the licensing exam and find employment, future dental hygienists should enroll in entry-level programs that gives them clinical experience and teach them the basic theories of the field. These programs are often attractive to those who want to start a new career, so they are offered in the online and hybrid formats that allow them to conveniently fit their classwork into their work schedules.

Those who enroll in programs that are conducted completely online can take all of their classes through their school’s learning management system. As a result, they can watch lectures, collaborate with professors and peers, access course material, hand in assignments, and take tests online. However, in order to get the clinical experience they need to put the ideas they learned into practice, they will be required to participate in laboratory work on campus, as well as internships in a dental office. On the other hand, students who enroll in partially online dental hygiene programs complete most of their work on campus, but they do have the opportunity to complete some of their classwork online.

The following are examples of the different degree levels that train dental hygienists.

Certificate

Through a combination of clinical experiences and academic instruction, students who enroll in certificate programs can prepare for a dental hygiene career in about two to three years. These programs can be competitive, so schools expect students to demonstrate high academic performance, as well as a strong desire to work in a dental office to help the community, in order to be admitted. Some of the admissions requirements may include earning a CPR certification, completing a high school diploma or its equivalent, and participating in a criminal background check. In addition, students may be expected to complete prerequisite classes in microbiology, chemistry, and anatomy before they can be officially admitted into the program.

Although these programs are not as common as associate degrees, dental hygiene certificates are a good choice for those who want intensive training. After they complete their certificate, graduates can go on to work in general dental practices, nursing homes, hospitals, and public health clinics.

Associate

Like certificate programs, associate degree programs are designed to train students to earn their license and land entry-level jobs by teaching basic patient care skills. In order to be admitted, students should also have a high school diploma and CPR certification, as well as a background check.

Although the dental hygiene curriculum is similar to certificates, associate’s degree programs also have additional general education requirements in areas like sociology, mathematics, and psychology. Students in these programs are also expected to complete a certain number of clinical hours that include in-class simulations and real-world experiences in a doctor’s office.

Bachelor’s

Dental hygiene bachelor’s degrees are generally for those who want to train for career advancement, although in some cases, programs accept students who don’t have previous experience. These programs, which take four years to complete, allow people with an active dental hygiene license to get more advanced skills than they learned in their associate’s degree program, as well as help those who have never studied this discipline develop the capabilities they need to enter the field.

Core Dental Hygiene Classes

The exact curriculum of a dental hygiene program can vary from school to school, however, they are all designed to teach students the skills they need to pass their licensing examination and have a successful career. In addition, students on different levels will find different types of classes available. The following are examples of some of the coursework that can be found in these programs.

Oral-Anatomy

Oral Anatomy: This course is designed to lay the foundational knowledge of all the services students will provide to their patients. The curriculum covers parts of the oral cavity, as well as the neck and head, and instructs students on how to navigate tools in these areas. In some cases, this course may have classroom and laboratory components.

Pharmacology

Pharmacology: Pharmacology classes focus on the medications used to treat dental problems. Students learn the different types of medications found in a dental practice, how medications are administered, and the positive and negative effects of these drugs. The course may also discuss controlled substances and addiction in order for students to get a full understanding of the ramifications of using certain types of drugs.

Periodontology

Periodontology: Students who take this class learn about periodontal anatomy and physiology, and how to identify diseases that are in this area of the body. They also get experience performing assessments, treating periodontal problems, and educating patients about disease management.

Research-Principles

Research Principles: This class covers the principles and methods of conducting evidence-based research. The curriculum addresses how to craft a hypothesis, plan and design a study, execute the research, and analyze and present data. Students may also learn about the ethics associated with conducting original research, as well as the technology tools researchers use during the course of a study.

Restorative-Dentistry

Restorative Dentistry: The principles, procedures, and tools of restorative dentistry are covered in this course. Students get hands-on experience of restorative dentistry practices, including how to select and prepare materials that are used on patients.

Community-Dentistry

Community Dentistry: Students who want to work in a public health setting can take this class to learn about the role that community dentistry can play in a specific location. The course covers how public health programs are developed and implemented from start to finish. In addition, the class may cover how to perform a statistical analysis of community dental health data.

Other-courses-include

Other courses include:

  • Dental Ethics
  • Oral Radiology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Dental Materials
  • Dental Office Practice
  • Patients With Special Needs
  • Biochemistry
  • Patient Records
  • Dental Specialties
  • Clinical Practice

How to Finance an Online Dental Hygiene Program

Like students in other types of academic programs, those enrolled in dental hygiene schools have the opportunity to obtain financial aid for their education—such as loans, grants, and scholarships. In some cases, funding may be available directly from a student’s school: For example, the University of Hawaii, the University of South Dakota, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City are among the schools that offer scholarships to its dental hygiene students. In addition, professional organizations for members of the field may also offer funding to support the next generation of dental hygienists. For example, the American Dental Hygienists Association Institute for Oral Health has scholarships, fellowships, and grants available. Students who need additional funding may be able to receive federal subsidized or unsubsidized loans.

Dental Hygiene Scholarships & Grants

There are several sources of education funding available to those studying dental hygiene. The following are some examples of scholarships and grants students may be eligible to receive.

For more information on funding options, check out our full guide on financial aid for medical and healthcare students.

Getting Your Dental Hygienist License

Dental hygiene professionals are required to obtain a license before they can legally hold down a job in the field. In order to do this, people are required to complete a program that has been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Individual states may also have additional requirements, such as passing a state examination.

Step 1: Complete an Accredited Dental Hygiene Program

The Commission on Dental Accreditation, or CODA, is the only agency that accredits dental hygiene programs. Accreditation is important because it certifies the quality of a degree program, so in order to do this, the organization evaluates schools based on their curriculum, academic policies, and facilities for hands-on training.

Step 2: Pass the NBDHE Exam

The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination is a two-part multiple choice test, which is made up of 350 questions, designed to gauge students’ understanding of the concepts and techniques they learned in their degree program. The first section of the test includes 200 questions that cover community health and research, dental hygiene science, and clinical services. In the second part of the test, students are presented with case studies that describe challenges dental hygienists face and are asked how to handle these scenarios.

Step 3: Pass Regional or State Clinical Exam

In addition to the NBDHE, prospective dental hygienists are required to pass a clinical examination in order to demonstrate their understanding of the hands-on training they received. Some states have their own test, while others use tests that are provided by the Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA), the North East Regional Board (NERB) of Dental Examiners, the Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA), the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB), or the Central Regional Dental Testing Services (CRDTS).

Step 4 (Varies): Fulfill Additional State Requirements

Individual states may have additional dental hygienist licensure requirements, such as obtaining a Basic Life Support certification, passing a jurisprudence exam, or completing infection control training. Professionals may also be expected to undergo criminal background checks and child abuse clearance.

Dental Hygienist Career Outlook & Salary Potential

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for dental hygienists are expected to grow by 20 percent between 2016 and 2026, which amounts to 40,900 additional positions for students to land after graduation. The agency reports that this job growth can be attributed to older people being more likely to keep their natural teeth than previous generations.

Other medical support professions will also experience growth during this time period. For example, dental assistants will see a 19 percent increase in jobs, medical assistants will have 29 percent more positions, and the growth for physician assistants will be 37 percent.

How Much Can You Make as a Dental Hygienist?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2016, the median annual salary for dental hygienists is $72,910. In addition, the top 10 percent of earners made $100,170, while the bottom 10 percent earn $50,870.