A career in dental hygiene not only offers stability, but it allows you the opportunity to greatly enhance smiles around the world! For current dental hygienists, a bachelor’s degree will allow you to further advance your career within the field. From education and research to corporate and clinical settings, being a dental hygienist can mean much more than working in a local dentist’s office. Of course, people in this industry should be comfortable with science and anatomy, and should be wholly unafraid of getting their hands dirty once in a while!
What kind of Dental Hygiene degree should you get?
If you are currently a licensed dental hygienist, you may want to consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. While many degree programs are offered on campuses around the country, your schedule may not allow you to commute or live on-campus. In that case, there are a wide variety of online offerings within this field of study.
If you’ve already earned an associate’s degree or you have a full-time job, you’ll want a flexible and affordable option. Luckily, more and more colleges and universities offer unique online degrees for dental hygienists like yourself. And we’ve ranked the overall Best Online Colleges and Universities for your convenience!
How much money do people make with a Dental Hygiene degree?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dental Hygienists can earn upwards of $74,000 per year – and that’s just with an associate’s degree. Your income can increase simply by earning your bachelor’s degree, depending on your intended career path. Remember, all states require dental hygienists to be licensed and requirements can vary depending on your state of residence.
Additionally, jobs for dental hygienists are expected to grow as much as 20% from now until 2026. This high demand for dental services is predicted to increase due to the aging population as well as advanced research that links oral health to overall health.
What can you do with a degree in Dental Hygiene?
Earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene can open up many doors for graduates. Do you see yourself working in private practice? In a hospital or school setting? While you can certainly work in a dentist’s office, you may wish to teach, work in health management, or even work in medical sales. Having a broader knowledge of dental care and techniques really allows dental hygienists to create a more tailored career based on their individual interests.
What are the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene?
All of the programs we have ranked require their applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, as well as a current license in their state of residence. These online bachelor’s degrees are actually degree completion programs, meaning most of your credits will be transferred in. Once admitted, you’ll be expected to take courses like Oral Diseases, Dental Public Health, Current Issues in Dental Hygiene, and more. Some of the below colleges offer asynchronous courses while others may require students to be online at specific times.
What are the best Dental Hygiene degrees?
Figuring out the best bachelor’s program within any industry can be a job in and of itself! Luckily, the College Choice team has compiled a list of the 15 Best Online Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene for current dental hygienists. These degrees provide the essential skills you’ll need to succeed in and out of the dentist’s office. Not only are the courses within these programs cutting-edge, but they are extremely affordable as well. Small class sizes paired with top professors, these online programs are the best money can buy. Check out our picks below!
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $16,408
The University of Michigan is known as the state’s oldest university as it was founded in 1817. The school currently boasts a total enrollment of over 40,000 students. Home to mascot Biff the Wolverine, the university includes 19 schools and colleges with over 260 unique degree programs. Now, students can evne pursue a 36-credit online Dental Hygiene degree completion program.
This online program can be completed in just two years, following a flexible online schedule. While all requirements can be done online, all students must attend a two-day orientation on campus. Most courses in this e-learning program last just seven weeks. Required courses may include:
- Special Populations
- Research/Evidence Based Practice
- Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
- Leadership and Professional Development
- Oral Diseases: Prevention and Management
In addition, all students in this program must complete a capstone/ePortfolio during their final semester. Completing a certification course in Local Anesthesia and Nitrous Oxide Analgesia is also a requirement for graduation.
The University of Michigan offers admission into this dental hygiene completion program only in the fall semester. All applicants must have already graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program and must hold a current dental hygiene license. Distance students in this program will have access to the university’s library, advisors, financial aid support, and more.
Ohio State University
College Choice Score: 95.08
Average Net Price: $18,042
With more than 200 unique undergraduate degree programs, Ohio State University is a public land-grant institution with all the resources you need to succeed. From a medical center to a hospital and research center, students at OSU are always on the cutting-edge in their respective fields. Interested in dentistry? Check out the university’s online Dental Hygiene Bachelor of Science Degree Completion Program.
This program is intended for licensed dental hygienists, who already hold an associate degree or certificate in dental hygiene. Required courses for this online degree completion program may include:
- Periodontal Therapy
- Practice Management
- Current Concepts in Dental Hygiene
- Research Methods and Interpretation
International students are welcome to apply to this program. While some students earn their degree in just one year, others may take up to five years, depending on the individual’s plan of study. All students must also choose an area of specialization, including Dental Hygiene Education or Expanded Functions. Students can take a creative hand in designing their own area of specialization, depending on their specific career goals.
Ohio State University offers flexible, online course schedules. However, prospective students should note that there will be some synchronous online sessions with designated meeting times. All distance learners will have access to the university’s many resources including online tutoring, advising, and meetings with professors and classmates.
Old Dominion University
College Choice Score: 91.09
Average Net Price: $15,213
Founded in 1930, Old Dominion is a public university located in Norfolk, Virginia. Home to mascot Big Blue, a friendly lion, Old Dominion enrolls over 24,000 students from all over the country. Now, through ODU Online, licensed dental hygienists can pursue an online Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.
This 30-credit online degree completion program is offered through the university’s College of Health Sciences School of Dental Hygiene. Most classes in this program are asynchronous but schedules are ultimately decided by each individual professor. Some classes may be presented in real-time and you will have the ability to interact with both your professor and fellow classmates. All students will have access to 24/7 online tech support as well. Required courses may include:
- Basic Bacteriology
- Impact of Technology
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Research Methods in Health Sciences
- Perspectives on Dental Hygiene Practice
Out-of-state students will pay higher rates of tuition at Old Dominion University than those students who are in-state. However, the university offers financial aid packages, grants, scholarships, and loans to offset tuition costs for eligible students. Prospective students should note that this program is not available for those who reside in the state of Washington.
University of New Mexico
College Choice Score: 89.64
Average Net Price: $11,283
The University of New Mexico offers a creative environment for students studying anything from the sciences to the arts to photography or engineering. In fact, over 27,000 students attend the university and nearly 50% of them take online courses at some point. Now, students can enroll in any one of UNM’s more than 20 online degree completion programs. Check out the university’s Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene.
This 30-credit degree completion program is offered through The University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine and is intended for registered dental hygienists. Each course is just eight weeks long and students may choose to complete the program on a full-time or part-time schedule. Required courses may include:
- Dental Problems
- Dental Public Health
- Current Issues in Dental Hygiene
- Dental Hygiene Research Methodology
Additionally, all students must complete a U.S. and Global Diversity and Inclusion course. Graduates of this program often pursue careers in medical clinics, hospitals, public health, research, insurance, and more.
The University of New Mexico Online offers tuition at a standard per-credit-hour rate, regardless of a student’s residency status. All applicants will be paired with an enrollment coach to assist with the application process. The University of New Mexico has been ranked among the nation’s Top Public Schools by the U.S. News and World Report.
Wichita State University
College Choice Score: 87.94
Average Net Price: $13,541
Located in Wichita, Kansas, WSU is a public research university with a bundle of wheat named WuShock as its mascot. Over 15,000 students are enrolled in programs across Wichita State University’s seven schools and colleges. Registered dental hygienists may enroll in the university’s online bachelor’s degree completion program in Dental Hygiene.
This 32-credit self-paced program can be completed in as little as 15 months but students have up to six years to earn their degree. All students pay in-state tuition, regardless of residency. Requirements can be completed on a part-time or full-time schedule. Courses may include:
- Special Care Populations
- Issues in Dental Hygiene
- Leadership in Self and Society
- Population Health Management in Dental Hygiene
- Curriculum Design, Evaluation, and Management in Dental Hygiene
Applicants should hold a current dental hygiene license and have at least a 2.5 GPA. Admitted students may be eligible to earn up to 28 hours of credit for prior coursework.
Wichita State University has been ranked among the nation’s Best Online Programs by U.S. News and World Report. Online students have access to Wichita State’s academic advising, student support, and many other resources. Plus, online courses are taught by the same professors who teach those classes on-campus.
University of Missouri-Kansas City
College Choice Score: 87.07
Average Net Price: $14,864
Founded in 1933 and home to mascot Kasey the Kangaroo, the University of Missouri-Kansas City is a public research university with over 16,000 students. From dance to medicine and everything in between, this university offers more than 125 unique academic areas. In fact, you can now pursue a Registered Dental Hygiene to Bachelor of Science Dental Hygiene degree completion program online.
This program has a flexible part-time option where most classes are self-paced. All applicants must have an up-to-date dental hygiene state license. Required courses may include:
- Pediatric Endodontics
- Local Anesthesia for the Dental Hygienist
- The Nuts and Bolts of 21st Century Dentures
- Practicing in the Dental Hygiene Public Health Safety Net
- SBIRT: Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment for Substance Abuse
While this is an online program, all students must visit campus at least three times to fulfill certain degree requirements.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City offers in-state tuition for students who reside in Missouri and Kansas. The university also offers what’s called a discounted “Heartland Rate” to students in 15 nearby states. Admissions are rolling, so students who wish to enter this program are encouraged to apply at any point during the year.
University of South Dakota
College Choice Score: 86.94
Average Net Price: $16,647
Located in Vermillion, South Dakota, USD offers both online and on-campus programs for students across all 50 states. The University of South Dakota has a growing online presence, with more than 40 unique and flexible degree programs for students to choose from. For those who hold an Associate’s degree in Dental Hygiene, the university now offers an online Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.
Required courses in this program may include:
- Dental Materials
- Inclusive Patient Care
- Dental Hygiene Leadership
- Current Trends in Dentistry
- Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Sedation
Distance students are expected to log-in to their online courses at least twice a week. Technical support is available 24/7 as well as access to the university’s library, online writing center, and academic advising.
The University of South Dakota is grateful to have been ranked among the nation’s Top Public Schools and Best Online Programs by U.S. News and World Report. Graduates have gone on to work in clinical settings, hospitals, private practices, government, and more. All undergraduate students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
College Choice Score: 86.86
Average Net Price: $10,787
The University of Louisiana Monroe is home to nearly 10,000 students and ULM Online now offers a variety of comprehensive, flexible degree programs. Online courses at ULM are offered in four, eight, and 16-week formats and there are no out-of-state fees. Are you a dental hygienist looking to earn a bachelor’s degree? Check out the university’s Bachelor of Science Degree Completion in Dental Hygiene.
Students in this program must complete at least 63 credits within the major. Applicants to this program should have current licensure in at least one state with a GPA of at least 2.5. Online students are granted access to many of the same resources as those on-campus. Required courses may include:
- Oral Histology and Embryology
- Local Anesthesia and Pain Control
- Dental Materials and Dental Assisting
- Ethics, Jurisprudence, and Practice Management
- Management of the Medically Compromised Patient
U.S. News and World Report have ranked the University of Louisiana Monroe as having one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in the nation. The university offers multiple start dates for this program throughout the year. For working professionals and those juggling family life, this degree is both flexible and affordable.
East Tennessee State University
College Choice Score: 84.60
Average Net Price: $13,926
East Tennessee State University is home to a diverse student body and a wide range of degree programs offered across its 11 schools and colleges. Of the university’s more than 110 degree programs, many can now be earned online. In fact, ETSU now offers an online Dental Hygiene Bachelor of Science Completion Degree.
This program is offered through the university’s Department of Allied Health Sciences and is intended only for those who hold an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene. Students may apply for either spring or fall admission. Required courses may include:
- Issues in Dental Hygiene
- Geriatric Dental Hygiene
- Anesthesia and Pain Control
- Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice
- Community and Rural Dental Health
While all courses may be completed online, all admitted students will be required to attend a one-day on-campus program orientation. While it is not required to complete a minor to graduate from this program, if a student does opt out of minor study then additional general education courses may be necessary.
East Tennessee State University Online makes it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree at their own pace. All online courses are taught by the same professors who teach on-campus. Plus, all online students will have access to the university’s Sherrod Library Services, as well as personal counseling and consultation services.
Oregon Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 84.39
Average Net Price: $16,503
Home to mascot Hootie the Owl, the Oregon Institute of Technology is home to many hands-on learning experiences, as well as online degree programs. From business and health informatics to engineering and communications, students of all interests can find their place at Oregon Tech. In fact, the school now offers an online Bachelor of Science degree completion program in Dental Hygiene.
This online program is ideal for current, licensed dental hygienists looking to earn a bachelor’s degree. The curriculum may include the following required courses:
- Dental Ethics
- Dental Anatomy
- Emergency Procedures
- General and Oral Pathology
- Head and Neck Anatomy, Histology, and Embryology
All students in this program are offered in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency. In addition, each online course includes a distance delivery fee of $65 which supports the online software needed to access courses. Accepted students may start this program in the fall, winter, spring, or summer semester.
Oregon Institute of Technology pairs all students with an academic advisor who will assist with course scheduling and any other issues that may pop up. Online students may choose to take just one course per term, or several depending on their professional and personal schedules. All students are expected to complete at least 45 credits from Oregon Tech during their studies.
Minnesota State University-Mankato
College Choice Score: 84.33
Average Net Price: $13,704
Established in the 1850s, Minnesota State University, Mankato is home to mascot Stomper the Maverick as well as 15,000 enrolled students. Out of 130 major programs, 50 are offered entirely online. Of those offered online, students may pursue a Dental Hygiene Bachelor Degree Completion Program entirely through the university’s distance learning platform.
This online program is extremely flexible and students may choose how many courses they take per semester. An academic advisor will assist each student with course scheduling. The program is made up of 11 courses, totaling 32 credits. Required courses may include:
- Technology in Oral Health
- Dental Hygiene Care Planning
- Current Issues in Dental Hygiene
- Decision Making in Periodontology
- Oral Medicine and Treatment Planning
Full-time students can complete all courses in as little as two or three semesters. MSU Mankato also offers the option of dual enrollment. This is great for those currently enrolled in a two-year dental hygiene program who want to start on their master’s degree prior to graduating.
All online courses at Minnesota State University, Mankato are asynchronous, meaning you don’t need to be online at any specific time. There are no physical requirements, even student orientation is completed online. Eligible students may apply for program-specific scholarships, including the Alice K. Weed Endowment for Dental Hygiene and the MSU Foundation Scholarship.
Farmingdale State College
College Choice Score: 83.92
Average Net Price: $8,364
Farmingdale State College is located in Nassau County, New York and is a part of the New York State University System. Also known as SUNY Farmingdale, this is the most affordable online program on this list. Intended for registered dental hygienists, prospective students may now apply to Farmingdale’s Bachelor of Science online degree completion program in Dental Hygiene.
This program is entirely online with small classes and the option to take courses on a full-time or part-time schedule. As part of the program, all students will complete an applied learning capstone practicum. Additional requirements may include:
- Oral Epidemiology in Public Health
- Practice Management for Quality Assurance
- Health Science Research: Principles and Methods
- Proposals and Grant Management for Health Programs
In addition to classes, all distance learners must participate in the university’s Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association. SADHA promotes student leadership through various campus activities, lunch and learn programs, community outreach, and more.
Graduates of this program have been known to pursue careers in clinical research, dental insurance, geriatric facilities, patient advocacy, and more. All online courses are asynchronous and do not require certain times to access classes. However, all courses do have a start and end date during each semester.
Ferris State University
College Choice Score: 83.14
Average Net Price: $12,973
Ferris State is a public university founded in 1884 and is located in Big Rapids, Michigan. Home to Brutus the Bulldog and over 14,000 students, Ferris State University offers eight degree-granting colleges. Now, students can benefit from all of FSU’s resources without stepping foot on campus. Check out the university’s online baccalaureate program in dental hygiene.
The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program is an online degree completion program intended for licensed dental hygienists. Offered through the university’s College of Health Professions, required courses may include:
- Health Promotion and Wellness
- Dental Hygiene Role Transition
- Gerontology in Dental Hygiene
- Public Health Administration
- Dental Hygiene Informatics
Additionally, all undergraduates must complete a Dental Hygiene Practicum and Capstone. Courses are self-directed and prepare graduates to work in a variety of settings, including long-term care facilities, military bases, veterinary centers, and more. The Department of Dental Hygiene and Medical Imaging accepts students into this program for the fall and spring semesters.
Ferris State University has been ranked among the nation’s Top Public Schools and Best Regional Universities in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report. FSU Online offers students access to online academic support, tech support, career services, financial services, and more.
College Choice Score: 82.72
Average Net Price: $13,381
Founded in 1828, this public research university is located in Augusta, Georgia and offers a variety of degree programs to its more than 9,000 enrolled students. Augusta University offers an extended catalog of programs that can be completed entirely online. Interested in dentistry? Check out the university’s online Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.
This online degree completion program is intended for dental hygiene graduates who have earned at least an associate’s degree. Online tuition rates at Augusta University are the same for all students, regardless of residency. Plus, the university offers a variety of scholarships, loans, grants, and financial aid packages for eligible students. This program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Required courses may include:
- Dental Informatics
- Current Issues in Periodontics
- Dental Hygiene Case Management
- Public Health and Workforce Issues
- Assessment of Recognized Dental Specialties
With annual research awards totaling over $82 million, students at Augusta University have access to the best of the best resources – even online. In fact, distance learners have access to many of the same top-notch resources and programs that those on-campus have access to. Plus, small class sizes ensure plenty of personalized attention to help you succeed.
Northern Arizona University
College Choice Score: 81.93
Average Net Price: $14,901
Northern Arizona University is made up of eight unique colleges, all offering rigorous degree programs and unique course offerings. NAU Online makes it possible for students to earn a high-quality education without having to step foot on campus. The university’s Department of Dental Hygiene now offers an online degree completion program for current, licensed dental hygienists.
This degree completion program awards graduates with a bachelor of science degree and all the tools needed to succeed in the dental industry. Requirements within the major may include:
- Global Oral Health
- Oral Health Research
- Higher Ed: Concepts And Practice
- Healthcare Policy And Management
- Community Health Assessment And Program Planning
Additionally, all distance students must complete a program implementation and evaluation capstone. Depending on your previous experience, some general education requirements may be necessary as well. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA to earn their degree.
Northern Arizona University’s online degree completion program in dental hygiene is nationally recognized by the American Dental Association and is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Graduates of this program have gone on to work in public health, dental hygiene education, research, and more.