List of All U.S. Colleges with a Dental Hygiene Major

It may not sound like the most glamorous job in the world, but dental hygienists play an important role. In fact, not only is this a vital position in the healthcare sector; it’s also a lucrative and often fulfilling one. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for these professionals was $76,220 in 2019.

 

Along with cleaning patients’ teeth, dental hygienists teach people about oral hygiene and assist dentists with treatment. Want to go into the field? Learn what the job entails and how to join the profession.

 

Overview of the Dental Hygiene Major

 

Many people who study dental hygiene earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS). You’ll take courses in topics like:

 

  • Dental anatomy
  • Nutrition
  • Oral hygiene and dental cleaning
  • Oral disease and conditions
  • Periodontology
  • Preventative care
  • Pharmacology
  • Radiography

 

Others enroll in a bachelor’s degree program, in which you’ll participate in a general education curriculum in addition to taking the courses that are part of an AAS program. You’ll also take courses like:

 

  • Anatomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Dental science ethics
  • Dental science theory
  • Local anesthesia
  • Pathology
  • Physiology
  • History of oral hygiene

 

Some of these will be required as part of an AAS program. 

 

A bachelor’s degree will expand your career options. Some students start in an associate’s program and transfer to a bachelor’s degree program after receiving their AAS. Either way, you’ll be required to gain clinical experience as part of your program.

 

People who pursue this career should have strong skills in communication, critical thinking, problem-solving. They should also be empathetic and patient and have good attention to detail, all while maintaining professionalism in the office. 

 

All dental hygienists must be licensed, which involves passing a national and regional examination and meeting the additional state requirements. That said, you don’t need to earn an advanced degree to practice. However, it is possible to earn a Master of Science in dental hygiene, which will enable you to expand your career opportunities and conduct research, teach, or manage in the field.

 

You’ll need to meet additional continuing education requirements in order to remain licensed. These, again, vary by state.

 

Dental hygienists usually work in private dental practices, although some work in hospitals, clinics, government agencies, the military, nursing homes, and schools of dentistry, among other locations. The profession is expected to grow quickly according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with many opportunities emerging in the field.

 

What to Look for in a College as a Dental Hygiene Major

 

The program is accredited by the American Dental Association.

 

The ADA is the largest dental association in the country. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) operates under it and is the accrediting body for dental education programs of all types, including dental hygiene. You’ll need to attend an ADA-accredited program in order to eventually earn your license to practice.

 

The school offers opportunities for clinical experience.

 

Clinical hours are also necessary for licensure, but additionally, they give you exposure to your future career and allow you to gain hands-on experience in your future career. Look for a school that has a clinic on-campus or a facility nearby where students can practice. 

 

There is strong advising for the dental hygiene track.

 

Some colleges offer advising for pre-professional tracks, including dental hygiene. You’ll be assigned an advisor who will help you manage and track the completion of your requirements and work on courses that are mandatory for licensure. This can be enormously helpful in terms of both having support and ensuring that you’re on track to complete your degree.

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

List of All U.S. Colleges With a Dental Hygiene Major

 

School

City

State

Augusta University

Augusta

Georgia

Creighton University

Omaha

Nebraska

East Tennessee State University | ETSU

Johnson City

Tennessee

Eastern Washington University | EWU

Cheney

Washington

Indiana University Northwest | IU Northwest

Gary

Indiana

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences | MCPHS

Boston

Massachusetts

New York University | NYU

New York

New York

Northern Arizona University | NAU

Flagstaff

Arizona

Ohio State University | OSU

Columbus

Ohio

Old Dominion University | ODU

Norfolk

Virginia

Oregon Institute of Technology | Oregon Tech

Klamath Falls

Oregon

Pacific University

Forest Grove

Oregon

Pennsylvania College of Technology | Penn Tech

Williamsport

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island College | RIC

Providence

Rhode Island

Southern Illinois University Carbondale | SIU

Carbondale

Illinois

Tennessee State University | TSU

Nashville

Tennessee

Texas A&M University

College Station

Texas

Texas Woman’s University | TWU

Denton

Texas

University of Hawaii at Manoa | UH Manoa

Honolulu

Hawaii

University of Louisiana at Monroe | ULM

Monroe

Louisiana

University of Louisville

Louisville

Kentucky

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor

Michigan

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities | Minnesota

Minneapolis

Minnesota

University of Mississippi | Ole Miss

University

Mississippi

University of Missouri-Kansas City | UMKC

Kansas City

Missouri

University of New Haven | UNH

West Haven

Connecticut

University of New Mexico | UNM

Albuquerque

New Mexico

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | UNC

Chapel Hill

North Carolina

University of Pittsburgh | Pitt

Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania

University of South Dakota | USD

Vermillion

South Dakota

University of Southern California | USC

Los Angeles

California

University of Southern Indiana | USI

Evansville

Indiana

University of the Pacific

Stockton

California

University of Washington

Seattle

Washington

University of Wyoming

Laramie

Wyoming

Virginia Commonwealth University | VCU

Richmond

Virginia

West Virginia University | WVU

Morgantown

West Virginia

Wichita State University | WSU

Wichita

Kansas

Youngstown State University

Youngstown

Ohio

 

Notice a school that’s missing? Email us and let us know!

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

 

Ready for a dental hygiene program? First, you’ll need to ensure your academics are up to par. This is typically the first aspect of your application colleges will consider, using the Academic Index to filter out applicants.

 

You’ll also want to show how your goals align with the school’s objectives. For a dental hygiene major, consider joining science- and healthcare oriented activities, such as biology club and volunteering at a clinic.

 

And, if you want to learn your real odds of admission to top dental hygiene programs, check out our Chancing Engine (it’s free). You’ll also receive tips for improving your profile to increase your likelihood of admission!

Want more tips on improving your academic profile?

We'll send valuable information to help you strengthen your profile and get ready for college admissions.


Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.