Going to the dentist may not be fun for some, but dental hygiene can severely impact one’s health and life. When people go in for regular cleanings, they are taken into the hands of dental hygienists. Using state-of-the-art cleaning tools, dental hygienists work to make sure that your teeth are squeaky clean. Oral cleanliness is next to godliness! But hygienists don’t just clean your teeth, they also examine your mouth and teeth for cavities, signs of decay, or injury. They take x-rays, assist dentists with oral procedures, and educate their patients on proper oral hygiene.
Dental Hygiene is a field that requires high skill and a passion for helping others. Although it does not take as many years as a dentist to become a hygienist, adults still must pass all of their clinical skills. For many, the first step in becoming a licensed dental hygienist is to go to school to get their Bachelor of Science degree. Keep reading to see College Choice’s ranking of the best 40 programs in the nation.
What type of Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene should you get?
There are generally two types of BS degrees in Dental Hygiene: an entry-level program and a completion one. The entry-level program is a four-year degree for students entering right after high school. The four-year program consists of two years of prerequisite courses and two-years of major courses. The completion degree is a two-year program that is for students who possess an associate degree or for those who already have their dental hygienist license but who wish to get an official degree.
While some schools offer both programs, many offer only the two-year completion degree. Students should check to see if they meet the prerequisite qualifications before applying. Because Dental Hygiene is a professional program that is often geared toward adults, some programs may be taken either on a full- or part-time schedule. This is a great option for those who are already working professionals.
Looking for a similar degree? Check out our ranking of the most affordable online Health Services degrees.
How much money does a Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene make?
The majority of those who graduate with a BS in Dental Hygiene go on to become dental hygienists. This career offers a great starting salary, with many experienced professionals eventually making close to six figures. According to PayScale, the national average salary is $60,000. However, the median pay as of 2019 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is $74,820. The top 10% of earners make about $101,330.
It should be noted that it is not always necessary to possess a BS in Dental Hygiene to become a successful, licensed dental hygienist. Sometimes only an associate degree is needed, provided they have mastered all the necessary clinical skills. However, a BS is always good to have as it gives one more overall knowledge and increased chances to train side by side with already licensed staff. Obtaining a BS is also good just in case one would like to train for other dental-related positions.
What can you do with a Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene?
Although pursuing clinical practice is the most common career path, it is not the only option! Clinical dental hygienists will typically work in dental practices, hospitals, or nursing homes. However, they can also work in public health, corporate offices, education, and research. For instance, many corporations within the oral health industry will need people to research and develop future products. Colleges and universities may need research done about oral hygiene trends throughout the years. While some of these positions may require further education, a BS will provide one with enough experience for most entry-level positions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs in dental hygiene are expected to experience a growth of about 20% from 2016 to 2026. This increase is most likely due to the fact that as more of our population ages, the more need there will be for oral hygiene and health attention among patients. This growth is much higher than the national average for other positions, ensuring that students will most likely find a job right after graduation.
What are the requirements for a Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene?
Programs that offer a BS in Dental Hygiene can be very strict about prerequisite requirements. Students will need to take courses in topics such as mathematics, chemistry, biology, and psychology. lower-division courses will take about two years to complete. After completing the prerequisites, students are usually not automatically admitted to the program, but rather must apply.
During the last two years of the program, students will take upper-division courses that are specifically related to Dental Hygiene. They will also be required to complete several clinical experiences either at their local school clinic or in a local facility. Students will work alongside already licensed dental hygienists as well as dentists. Upon graduation, they will be able to sit for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as apply for specific state licensure.
University of Southern California
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $32,892
Who are the USC Trojans? The University of Southern California Trojans are students and faculty who are fortunate enough to learn and teach in one of the most prestigious private universities on the West Coast. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, USC offers all the benefits of living in a diverse city. The Dental Hygiene program was established more than 80 years ago. Several of its alumni have gone on to become leaders in the health field.
Learn from an internationally-recognized school by enrolling in an undergraduate degree at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry. The BS in Dental Hygiene teaches students basic clinical knowledge so that they will be able to work in a variety of settings upon graduation. Below are some key highlights of the program:
- Fall, summer, and spring trimesters
- Average class size of 202
- Average overall GPA of 3.33
- 88 credit hours
More than 70% of this program’s graduates are employed in dental offices. Other graduates have also gone on to the Master’s degree.
New York University
College Choice Score: 99.92
Average Net Price: $36,256
Become part of one of the largest private universities within the state by enrolling at New York University. NYU was established in 1831 at a time when the city was rapidly growing. It started with only 158 students during its first semester but has grown to an enrollment of over 50,000 presently. The College of Dentistry was founded in 1865 and is the third oldest dental school in the nation. The college not only contributes to excellent research within the field but also gives quality patient care.
NYU’s BS in Dental Hygiene program not only promotes the ethical clinical practice, but also scholarly activity. This is the only program of its kind within the state of New York. Therefore, students get a unique one-of-a-kind exposure to the field at an early start.
- Specialty area rotations (i.e. orthodontics)
- Completion time: three to four years
- Some online courses available
This program can also be taken part-time. Instead of graduating in May, students will graduate in September. Classes are usually held in the evenings.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
College Choice Score: 98.82
Average Net Price: $16,408
Established in 1817, the University of Michigan has since gone on to tremendously impact the state. Its main campus is located in the city of Ann Arbor, the No. 1 college town in the nation according to Forbes. Michigan is among the state’s top four employers, with an estimated economic impact of about $10.4 billion. Not only is it the No. 1 public research university according to the National Science Foundation, but it also offers the No. 1 dental school in the world as stated by the Shanghai Ranking.
Michigan’s BS in Dental Hygiene is a two-year program that begins every spring semester. This entry-level program exposes students to clinical practice, research, and health administration. Some available classes are:
- Special Patients
- Oral Anatomy
- Histology & Embryology
Sophomores who meet the prerequisite requirements will be admitted into the degree. The program recommends certain electives to better prepare oneself for the Dental Hygiene core curriculum.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
College Choice Score: 97.02
Average Net Price: $11,100
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was chartered in 1789 and is proud to be the oldest public university in the nation. It was the only university in the 18th century within the country to award degrees. Today UNC-Chapel Hill offers 77 undergraduate programs, with an enrollment of over 18,800. In 1950, the School of Dentistry was founded, making it the first in the state. For about 62 years it was the only operable school of its kind in North Carolina. Every year students perform over $3.6 million worth of dental services within the state, as well as internationally.
Take the challenge and apply to UNC-Chapel Hill’s competitive BS in Dental Hygiene program. After completing all general education requirements, a total of 61 to 62 credit hours will be taken in the Dental Hygiene Professional School. Students have access to some of the following opportunities:
- Dental hygiene licensure
- Community-based clinical work
- Undergraduate research
There are several reputable student organizations available to join, including the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the American Association of Dental Research.
Ohio State University-Main Campus
College Choice Score: 94.14
Average Net Price: $18,042
Ohio State University operates six campuses across the state, with its main one located in the city of Columbus. Innovation is a key characteristic of OSU. The university conducts research in several fields, maintaining meaningful relationships with local businesses and industries. In particular, its medical center is known for its great service and research pertaining to infant mortality. Likewise, the College of Dentistry also conducts intensive research in areas such as infectious diseases and cancer research. The U.S. News & World Report ranks OSU as the No. 8 most innovative school in the nation.
OSU is the only school in the state to offer an undergraduate degree in Dental Hygiene. This very flexible program is offered online and can be taken part or full-time. Upon graduation, students will earn their BS in one of three specializations:
- Dental Hygiene Education
- Expanded Functions
- Individualized Program
There is no out-of-state tuition – all students pay the same regardless of residence due to the fact that this is a distance education program. The only difference is that Ohio residents will pay a slightly less distance learning program fee of $100 versus $105 for non-residents.
Texas A & M University-College Station
College Choice Score: 93.11
Average Net Price: $19,554
Texas A&M University had its roots as an agricultural and mechanical school, hence its current name. It was the state’s first public university, with its campus being one of the many that were enacted under the Morrill Act. Since its founding, Texas A&M has had numerous recognitions for its excellence in programs and research. It is also a highly affordable university, having been ranked the No. 1 best value public university within the state according to Money. Its Dental Hygiene program is offered on its main campus in College Station.
The Caruth School of Dental Hygiene offers a BS degree for future licensed hygienists who wish to work in a variety of clinical settings. At least 60 credit hours must be completed in order to apply for the program. Some characteristics of the degree are:
- Meets Texas state licensure requirements
- Transfer students welcome
- Direct experience with patients
This school has been offering Dental Hygiene programs since 1955. It has been a place that has promoted and educated the community on oral health for decades.
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
College Choice Score: 92.15
Average Net Price: $16,808
Learn from a nationally-recognized dentistry school at the University of Minnesota. More colloquially known just as Minnesota or UNM, its flagship campus is located in the Twin Cities. The School of Dentistry is proud to educate 73% of the state’s dentists and 49% of hygiene educators. Patients come first here, and research done is always used to benefit people. Every year, over 105,000 patients are treated on its Twin Cities’ campus clinic.
Get educated with Minnesota’s year-round, accelerated BS in Dental Hygiene degree. Students will partake in courses and group clinical work to prepare themselves for this rewarding field. Highlights of the degree include:
- Completion time: three years
- Study abroad programs available
- Dental Hygiene-specific scholarships
UMN is ranked No. 1 in dental and dental hygiene service. The university is known to help the economically disadvantaged receive quality oral care.
West Virginia University
College Choice Score: 87.42
Average Net Price: $11,486
West Virginia University is a land- and space-grant public university. Its flagship campus is located in Morgantown but there are other divisions and campuses throughout the state. Since its founding in 1867, WVU has had many accomplishments. It has produced several successful student scholars and has had 19 faculty members honored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Annually, WVU has over $127 million worth of research grants, reflecting its high research activity classification.
WVU’s BS in Dental Hygiene program offers a liberal arts curriculum combining both practical and classroom opportunities. This is a four-year program consisting of about 133 or 134 credit hours. Graduates will be prepared for the following careers:
- Clinical practice
This program is the first integrated Dental Hygiene program in the nation due to its liberal arts nature. It was also designated as a Program of Excellence by the West Virginia Board of Governors in 2014.
Farmingdale State College
College Choice Score: 84.91
Average Net Price: $8,364
Looking for a school that will truly prepare you for your future career? Farmingdale State College boasts a high student employment rate within only six months of graduating, with 90% of its 2016-2017 graduates finding employment in such a short amount of time. Its campus is part of the State University of New York system, focusing on programs primarily in the applied science and technology sector. About 10,000 undergraduates are currently enrolled. In the U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 ranking of the best regional colleges in the North, Farmingdale ranks No. 19.
Upon completion of the BS in Dental Hygiene program, students will be able to apply for licensure in the field. They will also be able to seek certification in local infiltration anesthesia and nitrous oxide analgesia. Some courses that can be taken are:
- Medical Microbiology
- Essentials of Clinical Practice Theory
- Oral Pathology
Undergraduates have the opportunity to join the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association. This organization conducts professional programs and community outreach events.
Oregon Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 84.31
Average Net Price: $16,503
The Oregon Institute of Technology offers an affordable education in primarily STEM-related fields. As the state’s polytechnic university, Oregon Tech is proud to partner with leading industries to give students the experience they need before stepping out into the workforce. Over 97% of its undergraduates are employed within six months of graduation, with an average starting salary of $60,000. According to the U.S. News & World Report, Oregon Tech is No. 2 on its rankings of the Top Public Western Regional Colleges.
Grow professionally through several hands-on opportunities by enrolling in Oregon Tech’s BS in Dental Hygiene degree. Immediately undergraduates will receive clinical experiences both on and off-campus. Other key highlights include:
- International externships for seniors
- Ability to rack up clinical hours for licensure
- Offered on the Klamath Falls Residential Campus, Chemeketa Community College, and online
Not only will students be eligible to become a registered dental hygienist, but they will also be able to gain an expanded practice permit within the state of Oregon. This permit means that they will be able to provide more care to patients without the supervision of a dentist.
Northern Arizona University
College Choice Score: 84.15
Average Net Price: $14,901
You can live in one of the top college towns in the nation in the city of Flagstaff, AZ. Northern Arizona University’s program in Dental Hygiene is offered through its main Flagstaff campus but also operates other campuses throughout the state and online. Founded in 1899, the school survived several tumultuous periods of U.S. history such as the Great Depression and World War II. It wasn’t until the 1950s when NAU reached university status. Currently, there are a total of 95 undergraduate degrees offered.
NAU offers the only BS in Dental Hygiene within the state. This four-year degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours. Throughout the program, students will gain an equal understanding of both theory and practice.
- Accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
- Liberal arts component
- 18-chair dental hygiene clinic, five-chair radiographic facility
As part of the hands-on experience portion of the program, students can work in education and in clinics serving marginalized populations. There is a two-week externship that can be completed within the state or in other locations such as Hawaii, Peru, or Guatemala.
University of New Mexico-Main Campus
College Choice Score: 83.17
Average Net Price: $11,283
Many will recognize the University of New Mexico’s campus, with its distinct architecture inspired by the historic Pueblo Native American culture. UNM was established in 1889 and is located in the heart of Albuquerque. It is proud to be a Hispanic-Serving Institution that welcomes students of all backgrounds. Although its Dental Hygiene degree is located on its main campus in Albuquerque, UNM also operates several other campuses throughout the state.
UNM’s School of Medicine offers the BS in Dental Hygiene program. This five-semester program offers a close-knit community of eager learners. In general, each class contains only about 24 students. Here are some main features of the degree:
- New Mexico residents are given first priority for acceptance
- Competency-based curriculum
- Offered online in part and full-time formats
The program starts every spring semester. The coursework consists of general topics, actual clinical practice, and even an option to complete a thesis in order to be admitted directly into the MS program.
University of New Haven
College Choice Score: 81.97
Average Net Price: $33,665
The University of New Haven is proud to be a leading private university with dedicated faculty and hard-working students. New Haven was founded in 1920 on Yale University’s campus. Over 7,000 students are currently enrolled across its 82-acre campus located in Connecticut. Several of its programs are interdisciplinary in nature and career-focused. For the past nine years, the U.S. News & World Report has ranked New Haven favorably among its ranking of Best Colleges in the North.
New Haven’s undergraduate Dental Hygiene program is very flexible, offering three different formats: a three-year associate program, a four-year bachelor’s program, or an online completion program. Each option targets slightly different populations which allow students to complete the degree that fits their schedule.
- Several internship locations
- Cutting-edge technology in laboratories
- More than 85% of undergraduates receive financial aid
The three-year associate program is for those who are not quite ready to get a full bachelor’s degree. The online program is targeted to those who already have an associate degree.
University of Bridgeport
College Choice Score: 81.45
Average Net Price: $22,981
Receive a career-oriented education by enrolling at the University of Bridgeport, a private institution located in Connecticut. Three colleges make up Bridgeport: the College of Engineering, Business, and Education; the College of Arts and Sciences; and the College of Health Sciences. It was founded in 1927 as a junior college to fill the void of having no institute of higher education in the nearby area. Bridgeport eventually gained university status after World War II. Its campus is located only an hour from New York City.
Those who hold an associate degree in Dental Hygiene are encouraged to apply to Bridgeport’s BS program. This highly individualized program allows students to take certain courses that meet their career goals. Several people have even minored in other subjects while pursuing their degree.
- 60 to 90 transfer credits accepted
- For-credit internships
- Service-learning opportunities in the community
Dental Hygiene students are still able to study abroad. Bridgepoint offers several travel programs where students can take courses that will directly go towards the degree on their home campus.
Ferris State University
College Choice Score: 81.20
Average Net Price: $12,973
Gain the small-town college experience at a mid-sized institution with Ferris State University. Located in Big Rapids, MI, students enrolled on its main campus get to witness the beauty that the city has to offer. Ferris State operates 190 different degree programs, with an average student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. Hands-on learning is emphasized here, with about 70% of its students participating in an internship during their program.
Ferris State offers a fully-online BS in Dental Hygiene for those who possess an associate degree or those who are already licensed dental hygienists. Because it is a distance learning program, courses can be completed from virtually anywhere. Some courses may include:
- Community Program Assessment and Planning
- The U.S. Health Care Systems
- Public Health Administration
The SR Education Group ranked this program favorably on its ranking of the Best Online Colleges in 2019 due to its affordability and quality training. Ferris State as a whole is ranked the No. 22 best public school in the nation according to the U.S. News & World Report.
University of Missouri-Kansas City
College Choice Score: 81.01
Average Net Price: $14,864
Take courses on a vibrant campus with over 16,000 other students at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. UMKC is the largest and most comprehensive university within the Kansas City area. It offers more than 125 academic programs from the undergraduate level to the doctoral level. UMKC is proud to make the city a better place, particularly through its medical services. One of its services includes the School of Dentistry that was founded in the early 1880s. For the past 125 years, the school has served the local community through orthodontics, periodontics, and general dentistry practice.
Enroll in the entry-level Dental Hygiene program and work alongside DDS students. As well as receiving actual hands-on training within the practice, students are also exposed to other similar careers such as research and teaching. UMKC offers the only public dental school in Missouri.
- Ability to shadow current dental hygiene students
- Program for registered dental hygienists to complete their BS degree
- Begins every August
Students should enter into the program with all prerequisite courses already completed. The program should take about two years to complete, with classes occurring in the fall and spring, as well as in one summer session between semesters.
College Choice Score: 80.62
Average Net Price: $29,503
In the summer of 1848, Pacific University was established as a small building known as Old College Hall. In 1896, the school was gifted a bronze Chinese statue which later became its mascot. Today, Pacific is known as the “Boxer,” a mythical Chinese character that often resembles a dog. Pacific students embody the Boxer Spirit by encouraging everyone to develop meaningful relationships with their peers and community. Pacific is ranked as the No. 1 private research university in the Pacific Northwest, according to the National Science Foundation’s 2017 Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Expenditures Survey.
Advance your technical skills through Pacific’s BS in Dental Hygiene degree. Throughout the two years, students will deal with diverse groups of patient populations. Students can shadow not just dentists, but other health professionals as well.
- Access to the Dental Hygiene Clinic
- 130.5 credit hours
- Fall, spring, and summer courses
Spring and summer sessions are 15 weeks each and summer sessions are only eight weeks. Students will be required to take two summer sessions after their junior and senior years.
Wichita State University
College Choice Score: 80.56
Average Net Price: $13,541
At Wichita State University, all students are exposed to applied learning. Whether it be through research, an internship, or just experience working in the community, students will be prepared for leadership roles beyond the campus. Wichita is located in the largest city in Kansas. Its 330-acre campus has rapidly expanded, with several new buildings and campus life initiatives. The university offers more than 450 internships with local employers.
Whether you choose the entry-level BS in Dental Hygiene or the degree completion program, students will further their knowledge of oral hygiene and clinical practice. The curriculum focuses on the assessment of patients’ needs, and thus participants will be required to work alongside dental professionals. Some common courses are:
- Clinical Radiology
- Ethics and Jurisprudence
- Pain Management
- Head and Neck Anatomy
Students have access to the WSU Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation Dental Hygiene clinic. This facility is the state’s largest clinic of its kind, serving about 5,000 people annually.
Youngstown State University
College Choice Score: 80.53
Average Net Price: $10,637
Youngstown State University has humble roots, beginning in 1908 when the local Young Men’s Christian Association formed a law school. After adding several colleges and changing names, YSU eventually gained university status in 1955. The school offers over 115 undergraduate programs today which range from studies in the arts, the medical field, and even STEM-related majors. YSU is conveniently located between the cities of Cleveland, OH and Pittsburgh, PA.
Students can major in Dental Hygiene while also receiving certifications in practices such as local anesthesia. Students will take a total of nine semesters of coursework. Students do not learn theory exclusively, they also have the opportunity to practice clinical skills such as:
- Exposing radiographs
- Recording medical histories
All students will be awarded membership to the YSU Student Chapter of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. This group focuses on scholarly work as well as community service.
University of Southern Indiana
College Choice Score: 80.45
Average Net Price: $13,130
Graduates of the University of Southern Indiana are highly successful and ready to take on their careers. USI boasts a high pass rate for several professional certifications, including ones in Dental Hygiene. Not only do students boast high scholarship, but also an immense passion for their work. USI offers low-cost treatments to the community through its clinic. Many of the clinic’s workers are young students who are anxious to get a head start in their careers.
USI’s BS in Dental Hygiene degree is a highly competitive program where only about 24 students are accepted annually. Students work in small classes to develop the clinical skills needed for the field. Below are some highlights of the degree:
- No interviews required during application process
- 100% pass rate in 2017 for board examinations
- Membership with the American Dental Hygienists’ Association
There are over ten scholarships listed on the Dental Hygiene major website. Several of them are specifically for dental-related studies. For instance, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association gives a $100 cash award to a student a part of its USI Student Chapter.
Eastern Washington University
College Choice Score: 80.02
Average Net Price: $11,393
Explore the beautiful Northwest region of Cheney where Eastern Washington University’s campus is located. Only a 20-minute drive from Spokane, Cheney provides an ideal college town life for many, offering a more rural suburb experience with a plethora of outdoor activities. Because EWU is so close to the city, students also have access to Spokane which offers a more metropolitan location, as well as access to more internship opportunities. The Colleges of Distinction recognized EWU in the 2017-2018 school year for its excellent degrees, undergraduate research, and student experience.
EWU has two undergraduate degree options for Dental Hygiene: an entry-level program and a fully online BS degree completion program. The BS degree is for already licensed dental hygienists who hold an associate degree. Other features of the program are:
- 40 upper-division credit hours
- Classes via the Canvas online learning platform
- Serve at a non-profit clinic directly in the community
The BS completion degree can be taken part or full-time. Part-time students can expect to finish within three years, while full-time students will finish in only two. The majority of students continue to work professionally throughout enrollment.
University of Detroit Mercy
College Choice Score: 79.91
Average Net Price: $20,904
Join Michigan’s largest Catholic university at the University of Detroit Mercy. It was established in 1877 by the Society of Jesus to educate the individual both intellectually and spiritually. Due to its Jesuit history, students today are encouraged to explore their faith while pursuing their degree. Detroit Mercy is a high-ranking institution, having been ranked among the best Midwest colleges by the U.S. News & World Report for the past 18 years. It is also a best value school and is highly-favored by veterans due to its extensive network of support.
Enroll in the School of Dentistry’s BS in Dental Hygiene program. This highly structured degree will be completed in two years after students complete their two years of prerequisites. Classes are offered Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
- Learn from dentistry professionals
- Complete service-learning activities
- Treat patients within the School of Dentistry
In the past, students have worked in the community to provide health education to local schools, volunteered at dental clinics, and worked within the special-needs community. They will be required to follow the program’s technical standards, such as being able to acquire necessary patient health documentation and use critical thinking skills to solve problems in a timely fashion.
University of the Pacific
College Choice Score: 79.72
Average Net Price: $32,715
Located in Northern California’s Bay Area, the University of the Pacific is the oldest chartered university within the state. This nationally-ranked private campus operates 11 schools and colleges, with several programs within the health field. UOP’s School of Dentistry was founded in 1896 and is proud to offer the best oral health care within the region. It is estimated that the school provides about $500,000 worth of uncompensated dental care to specifically marginalized local populations.
Upon graduation of UOP’s BS in Dental Hygiene degree, students will be prepared to take on not just the position of a licensed dental hygienist, but also positions in teaching, administration, and public health. Students can apply for the program as a freshman or as a transfer student.
- Clinical work at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
- Completion time: three years (year-round program)
- Only full-time offered
Students can advance to the upper-division portion of the curriculum directly if they complete all prerequisite work with a GPA of at least 3.0. Advancing early can be done by completing coursework during the summertime, allowing them to graduate earlier as well. It can also be done early if students have taken college-level coursework throughout their high school years.
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
College Choice Score: 79.63
Average Net Price: $9,744
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, more commonly referred to as IUPUI, is a public research university that merged many of its programs in 1969. It is known as the state’s premier research institution, championing many research and sustainability initiatives. IUPUI’s School of Dentistry began in 1879 and is the place where 80% of the state’s dentists are trained. The school has produced more than 13,000 alumni since its founding. IUPUI is ranked as a top 200 university by the U.S. News & World Report.
There are two degree options: a BS in Dental Hygiene and a BS in Public Health Dental Hygiene. The Public Health program is for part-time students who may want to pursue a career not directly within Dental Hygiene.
- 120 total credit hours
- Three tracks for BS in Dental Hygiene: Education, Health Care Administration, Public Health
- Ability to gain licensure after graduation
This program is also offered on its Fort Wayne campus, offering two tracks: Community Dental Hygiene and Dental Hygiene Sales and Leadership. As both tracks require slightly different electives, it is helpful to track one’s degree requirements through its online iGPS degree map technology.
University of Wyoming
College Choice Score: 79.01
Average Net Price: $13,441
Those who attend the University of Wyoming know the school as UW and is pronounced “U-Dub”. The university’s campus is located in Laramie, which was ranked as one of the best cities to retire in by Money in 2011. UW was established in 1886 near the Rocky Mountains. Students have access to small classes, wonderful on and off-campus activities, and top research facilities. It is especially recognized for its Cowboy mascot, which can be seen riding on the back of a bucking horse. In 2010, several magazines, such as the Princeton Review, ranked UW among their list of the best adventure colleges.
The 120 credit hour Dental Hygiene program at UW results in two degrees: the Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene, and the BS degree. Graduates will have the knowledge and skills necessary to take the National Board of Dental Hygiene exam and the separate state licensure exam. Some courses that are offered are:
- Pain Management
- Ethics and Law in Dental Hygiene
- Community Dental Health
There is an education practicum course for future educators wishing to teach. This will be taken the last year of the program and only by permission of the instructor.
University of New England
College Choice Score: 77.77
Average Net Price: $33,204
The University of New England offers holistic education, emphasizing student experience. Experiences here range from taking a variety of interesting courses to participating in undergraduate research opportunities or studying abroad. UNE is a private university in Maine that has three campuses. Two of those campuses are within the state, and one of them is in Tangier, Morocco. UNE is Maine’s largest private university and the biggest provider of healthcare professionals.
By enrolling in UNE’s BS in Dental Hygiene degree, one will receive a traditional liberal arts education while gaining the theoretical knowledge and clinical skills needed for the field. While the first four semesters of general education courses are taken on the Biddeford Campus, the last four semesters are held on the Portland Campus. Key highlights of the degree are:
- 12-16 hours weekly patient care
- Transfer associate students welcome
- On-campus twenty-chair clinic
The on-campus dental clinic that students get to work in serves about 5,000 patients annually. The Oral Health Center not only offers cleanings, but also helps patients with dentures, bridges, implants, and more.
University of Hawaii at Manoa
College Choice Score: 77.53
Average Net Price: $15,479
Located in the beautiful capital of Honolulu, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is the oldest and largest campus within the state’s university system. In keeping with its local historic heritage, the school offers many programs such as Hawaiian and Pacific Islands studies. Not only does UH Manoa provide quality programs, but it also does at an affordable price. Its tuition is about $4,000 lower than the national average for a public university, contributing to the state’s low student debt rate. UH Manoa is ranked among the top 100 universities within the nation according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
Looking for an accelerated program that will get you your degree faster? UH Manoa’s BS in Dental Hygiene can be completed in only three years in its cohort program. Upon graduation, students can sit for the National Board Of Dental Hygiene’s examination to obtain licensure.
- Entry-level four-year program for high schoolers
- Only undergraduate program in the state
- Personal academic advising
The on-campus dental hygiene clinic operates through August and May. The clinic offers services for only $25 to the community and is a great place for students to get hours working with licensed faculty.
Utah Valley University
College Choice Score: 75.37
Average Net Price: $6,690
Founded in 1941, Utah Valley University is the largest public institution of higher learning within the state. It follows a “dual-mission model,” meaning it emphasizes both top-quality education programs and research. About 40,000 students are currently enrolled who represent over 70 countries. UVU was originally founded as a vocational school and later became a technical institution. Over the years the institution has changed in order to meet the growing educational needs of the region. The university currently serves the Wasatch, Summit, and Utah counties, which are known for an astounding range of outdoor activities.
UVU offers a BS in Dental Hygiene completion program for those who already possess an associate degree. This completely online program is taken in the fall, spring, and summer semesters for two years. Other key characteristics include:
- 99.9% licensing board pass rate
- 4:1 student-to-faculty ratio
- Serving the community through outreach events
One community outreach program involves students spending two days a week in local elementary schools, providing x-rays and other services to grades second through sixth.
University of Maine at Augusta
College Choice Score: 74.89
Average Net Price: $11,752
No school serves the state’s higher education needs more than the University of Maine at Augusta. UMA operates two main campuses, eight centers, and about 56 community learning sites. It enrolls approximately 5,500 students, making it the third-largest university within the system. UMA hopes to transform the lives of students through its liberal arts programs and civic engagement. According to a survey done from 2015 to 2018, 89% of students would recommend UMA.
Earn your BS in Dental Hygiene in only three years at UMA. With as little as 20 students per class, everyone gets the attention they need from faculty. Classes are offered on its Augusta and Bangor campuses, as well as online for select courses. Some topics of coursework include:
- Local anesthesia
- Dental radiography
- Patient assessment
Upon graduation, students are able to work as a registered dental hygienist through the Expanded Functions Dental Assistant program. This two-semester program is great for learning more clinical skills.
West Liberty University
College Choice Score: 74.54
Average Net Price: $12,293
Get an affordable education at West Liberty University, a public institution located in West Virginia. West Liberty has its roots as a teacher’s college, with the goal of producing the next public school teachers. Today the university offers more than 70 different degrees. Classes maintain the small school feeling with an average student-to-faculty ratio of only 15:1. Several scholarships are available to those who need it. In 2019, West Liberty was featured in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges ranking.
West Liberty’s BS in Dental Hygiene is comprised of 120 credit hours, with 62 of those hours specifically focusing on clinical Dental Hygiene coursework. This degree is housed in the Sarah Whitaker Glass Dental Hygiene School, which opened in 1938.
- 100% clinical exam pass rate
- High-end technology in all classrooms
- Major-specific scholarships
This program’s clinic is located in a newly constructed building. There are nine treatment rooms equipped with advanced x-ray technology. Students also have access to similar technology within their classrooms.
Weber State University
College Choice Score: 74.13
Average Net Price: $11,098
In 1889, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints founded the school, which was then called Weber Stake Academy. The school is named after the county that it is located in. It wasn’t until 1991 that the school gained university status, officially becoming Weber State University. Weber offers more than 225 degree and certificate programs on multiple campuses and through online distance learning. As a university that offers very flexible degrees, about 58% of its student population is part-time, with the average attendee age of 26 years old.
Experienced professionals who already hold an associate degree, dental hygiene license, and have completed the board examination can apply to the BS in Dental Hygiene degree. In addition to the required associate degree courses, seven additional credit hours for the major are required for a total of 120 credit hours. Current courses offered are:
- Advanced Community or Clinical Work Experience
- Principles and Application of Evidence
- Baccalaureate Thesis
A unique thing about Weber’s program is that students in this field can participate in undergraduate research. There is an endowment specifically to fund projects and travel to professional conferences.
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 73.94
Average Net Price: $6,544
Since its beginning as an adult vocational school, Lake Washington Institute of Technology has always cared about providing practical education to young adults. Located near the city of Seattle, LW Tech offers primarily professional certificates in various STEM-related areas. It is the only public institute of technology within the state. Its undergraduate Dental Hygiene program is housed through the School of Health Sciences.
Earn your Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene at LW Tech. This program focuses on clinical skills, and thus students will have several opportunities to train outside of the dental clinic. Upon graduation, these are some of the skills students will have acquired:
- Implement fluoride therapy
- Expose, develop, and evaluate radiographs
- Remove sutures
Several outside scholarships are available for students who are part of an underrepresented minority or are enrolled in a STEM-related field. Interested applicants should go to the school’s scholarship webpage.
Dixie State University
College Choice Score: 73.82
Average Net Price: $13,838
Dixie State University is proud of its old west history – the school is located in a territory that was first developed by travelers who were migrating to the west. Dixie State was established in 1911 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but was taken over by the state in 1935. It is an affordable school that has a 100% acceptance rate. In addition, 84% of its students are offered some form of financial assistance. In sports settings, Dixie State teams are known as the Trailblazers.
Dixie State’s BS in Dental Hygiene degree is a two-year program that is offered full time. Classes follow the semester system in the fall and spring. Summer courses may be taken online.
- 24 students admitted annually
- Ability to register for board and clinical exams, plus Utah state licensure
- 121 credit hours
It is required that students only take three courses online during the summer of the second year: Biostatistics, Research Methodology, and Leadership & Group Dynamics. All summer courses are offered online, allowing students the freedom to still travel while being on top of their degree.
Indiana University at South Bend
College Choice Score: 73.25
Average Net Price: $8,331
What is life like as a Titan at Indiana University South Bend? With over 100 majors and 70 student organizations to choose from, students receive a holistic, well-rounded education. Although a large campus with over 5,000 enrolled students, individuals can still take advantage of tight-knit communities. For example, the Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences offers its Dental Hygiene program but also puts on many community outreach activities. In addition to IU South Bend’s campus containing over 100 classrooms with advanced technology, it also offers a health and wellness center and community dental clinic.
Whether you are just starting your undergraduate education or already have a license and want to finish your degree, IU South Bend’s degree in Dental Hygiene is right for you. After completing four years of coursework including prerequisites and major requirements, students will earn their BS.
- Fall or spring admission
- Yearly academic advising
- Required three credit hour service-learning class
During the service-learning experience, students will find their own location to volunteer. In the past, some sites included: rehabilitation centers, research institutes, and nursing homes.
College of Southern Nevada
College Choice Score: 70.77
Average Net Price: $7,488
The College of Southern Nevada is a community college located within the Las Vegas region. Although the school primarily offers associate degrees and certificate programs, they also offer seven Bachelor’s degrees. One of those degrees is in Dental Hygiene offered within its School of Health Sciences. CSN is the largest and most ethnically diverse college within the state, operating a total of three campuses. Although a large institution, students take advantage of a small student-to-faculty ratio of 23:1.
Get a BS in Dental Hygiene with either a Public Health or Education specialty. The Public Health plan may be better for those who wish to work more broadly in the health care system, while the Education specialty is more focused on community teaching. A sample of courses available include:
- Introduction to Teaching Methodologies
- Educational Psychology
- Leadership and Group Dynamics
- Professional Ethics
The program requires 16 credit hours to be taken directly in the specialty. Both specialties are considered a “limited entry health sciences program,” meaning that only a select few are able to be accepted. One specific qualification for this type of program is that students must complete a workshop before applying.
Pennsylvania College of Technology
College Choice Score: 70.54
Average Net Price: $21,006
For the past 100 years, the Pennsylvania College of Technology has been a leader of innovation and technical, hands-on training. Penn College was founded as a vocational school as an effort to fight unemployment rates during the Great Depression. It received its current name in 1989 after becoming a technical institute. Due to its outstanding programs and teaching, Penn College has received numerous outstanding rankings. The U.S. News & World Report ranks them the No. 3 Most Innovative School in the nation.
Earn your BS in Dental Hygiene either as an entry-level student or an already licensed hygienist at Penn College. This degree also comes with a concentration in Health Policy and Administration. Check out the below features:
- Select courses offered online
- Ability to take degree part or full-time if already licensed
- Transfer credits accepted
Students must wear designated uniforms when participating in the labs and clinics. These uniforms can be purchased online or in-person at the College Store.
Purdue University Fort Wayne
College Choice Score: 70.33
Average Net Price: $10,924
Purdue University of Fort Wayne is a public university that is part of the Indiana University school system. Its metropolitan location provides unique cultural experiences as well as many internship opportunities. Fort Wayne is the second-largest city within the state. Its 688-acre campus enrolls over 10,000 students across its eight colleges and schools. IPFW is committed to positively impacting the state through research and is estimated to contribute a total economic value of $11 billion.
IPFW’s BS in Dental Hygiene is a four-year program with one year of prerequisites and three years of major courses. Those who hold an associate degree are also welcome to apply in the degree completion program. There are three specialty concentrations:
- Dental Hygiene Education
- Community Dental Hygiene
- Dental Leadership and Sales
Students will be required to take nine credit hours of concentration courses.
Looking for guaranteed small class sizes? This program has a maximum cap of only 30 students per class to ensure all students have direct access to faculty.
University of Alaska Anchorage
College Choice Score: 69.52
Average Net Price: $12,543
Become apart of the state’s largest institution of higher education at the University of Alaska Anchorage. UAA was established in 1954 as a community college but became a four-year institution in the late 60s. Since its founding, it has retained strong pride in its Alaskan heritage and urges all students to develop awareness about the state’s history and native cultures. 91% of UAA’s students are in-state residents. Although this is the largest campus, the university remains student-centered by having a small student-to-faculty ratio of only 14:1.
Learn the necessary entry-level skills to become a successful dental hygienist. This BS in Dental Hygiene degree is perfect whether you are just starting or have state licensure. Throughout the program, students will go through several clinical seminars and practicums to make sure they are ready. Other classes available are:
- Dental Radiography
- Anatomy of the Orofacial Structures
- World Food Patterns
This program prepares students to sit for the National Board examination and the state of Alaska licensure test. Those wishing to gain licensure in another state should talk to the department before enrolling.
University of Louisville
College Choice Score: 68.54
Average Net Price: $17,008
Throughout its over 200 years of history, the University of Louisville has gone through several developments. From starting as a seminary to later becoming a major public research university, UofL shows how passion and hard work can create a nationally-recognized institution. The city of Louisville is the largest metropolitan area within the state of Kentucky. The university operates 12 colleges and schools, with its Health Sciences Center located in a prime location downtown. This center contains four schools and several hospitals, including the School of Dentistry.
Join this four-year program and earn your BS in Dental Hygiene. During the first two years, general education classes are offered on its Belknap Campus. After applying for the major, all upper-division courses are held on the Health Sciences Campus. Learn clinical skills such as:
- Bleaching discolored teeth
- Removing stains and plaque
- Teaching oral hygiene
First-years are able to enter into the program beginning with lower-division courses either in the fall, spring, or summer. UofL also accepts transfer students, provided that they meet the prerequisites.
University of Hawaii Maui College
College Choice Score: 60.39
Average Net Price: $10,662
Be the envy of many by enrolling at the University of Hawaii Maui College, and study your passion on the beautiful Maui island. Although the college primarily offers associate degrees and certificates, some Bachelor’s programs are available. UH Maui began as a vocational school in 1931, serving not only Maui but also the islands of Molokai and Lanai. It is a relatively small school, with only a little over 3,300 undergraduates. One of UH Maui’s most notable Bachelor’s programs is its Dental Hygiene degree, which helps to offer many low-cost oral hygiene services at the Daniel K. Inouye Allied Health Center.
After completion of the associate degree, students are welcome to apply for UH Maui’s two-year BS in Dental Hygiene program. Courses are offered in the fall and spring semester, as well as in one eight-week summer session between years. Sample courses include:
- General Psychology
- Local Anesthesia & Pain Control
- Dental Materials
- Applied Pharmacology
Students will be allowed to give some of the following services at the clinic under supervision: root planing, coronal polishing, radiographs, and sealants.