Dental Hygienist Schools & Education Programs

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Dental Hygienist Schools & Education Programs

Dental hygienist schools offer courses and education programs designed to prepare students to enter the job market as professional dental hygienists, and to perform according to the typical dental hygienist job description. These schools may be campus-based, partially online or entirely online. They may offer associate’s degrees, certificates or diploma programs, and offer courses covering a wide variety of dental, science, and skill-related topics.

About Dental Hygienist Schools

Since employers in the dental field hold increasingly high standards for dental support personnel, completion of a formal dental hygienist education program is highly recommended before joining the workforce as a dental hygienist.

Most dental hygienist schools offer two-year associate’s degree programs, or one-year certificate programs. Some universities offer four-year bachelor’s degrees in the field as well, which includes significantly more education and may lead to stronger career opportunities. Generally, an associate’s degree is sufficient for practicing in a private dental practice as a dental hygienist.

Another school option dental hygienists may have is getting their education online from one of the online dental hygienist schools available. These programs typically offer the same course content as traditional dental hygienist schools, with the in-person learning experience substituted for online scheduling flexibility and greater affordability.

Entry Requirements for Dental Hygienist Schools

Although entry requirements for dental hygienist schools vary, most programs require that you:

  • Are at least 18 years of age
  • Have obtained a high school diploma or a GED
  • Have taken some high school courses in math, biology, English, and chemistry
  • Maintained at least a “C” average in high school
  • Achieved satisfactory college entrance exam scores

In addition, many dental hygienist schools require that the applicant complete one year of college prior to admittance. This is more true for certificate programs, which build on existing postsecondary education.

Typical Courses in a Dental Hygienist Program

Although course requirements differ between dental hygienist schools, most programs offer core courses such as:

  • Dental Practices
  • Periodontology (gum disease)
  • Histology (tissue structure)
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Dental Hygiene
  • Radiography

More advanced programs, which contain some general education course content, may also contain courses such as:

  • Psychology
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Sociology
  • Nutrition

You may see our page on dental hygienist courses for more information.

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