best schools for dental hygeinist

11 Best Schools for Dental Hygienist in the US

Dental hygiene is a fairly new field that has seen a surge of new people. This is because a lot of schools are churning out professionals in this field. As a dental hygienist, you have an important role to play in preventing and treating oral diseases.

In this article, you will learn about the 11 best schools to start your career as a dental hygienist, and the financial prospects of this field.

How Do I Become A Dental Hygienist In The USA?

The first thing is to get a degree in dental hygiene, either a bachelor’s or an associate’s. 

After that, you seek practical experience and training to pass the national board exams with flying colors. Then pass state-level tests to obtain a license.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Dental Hygienist In The USA?

A dental hygienist program can last up to three years. 

This is an adequate time to learn the necessary abilities, become familiar with the structure of the teeth and gums, study periodontics, understand medical ethics, gain practical experience, and get ready for the license exams.

What Major Is Best For a Dental Hygienist?

Most schools require a major in biology and health sciences.

Dental hygienists at work

Where Are The Best Schools To Become A Dental Hygienist?

Most of these schools will provide you with all it takes to become a successful dental hygienist and we selected the best of them.

1. Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)

This university is perfect for anyone searching for flexibility because it offers part-time and full-time enrollment options, as well as the chance to take some classes online. 

They also provide ongoing dentistry events, continuing education, regional anesthetic webinars, and refresher courses available all year long.

The Ohio State University College of Dentistry is the only dental school in Ohio to offer a dental hygiene curriculum that includes:

  • Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene curriculum that lasts four years at the entrance level.
  • A flexible online program for dental hygienists seeking a bachelor’s degree.
  • RDHs that can prepare you for a future in dental hygiene leadership and teaching and a two-year online master’s degree.

2. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Minneapolis, MN)

The University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry is a great option for students looking to advance their education and graduate with a degree quickly. 

The university provides a three-year accelerated curriculum in addition to the traditional four-year bachelor’s program, allowing you to finish your studies faster.

Their master of science program in dental hygiene is equipped for a career in research or academia. 

There is also a management track that is offered both online and on-campus for students interested in careers as salespeople, marketers, practice management consultants, or entrepreneurs.

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3. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

This is one of the best schools to start your career as a dental hygienist. Their classroom lessons emphasize illness prevention and health promotion, and the hands-on learning helps you to work through issues, interact with dentists, and carry out procedures.

The school offers bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene, enabling students to become the best oral health professionals by equipping them with the knowledge and abilities they need. 

The course covers the following:

  • Essentials for the profession include ethics, values, and skills.
  • How to evaluate the social, dental, and medical backgrounds of patients.
  • The preparations to offer educational, clinical, and advisory services.

4. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI)

The University of Michigan School of Dentistry houses the second-oldest graduate dental hygiene program in the US. It has significantly influenced the area of dental hygiene and helped to set the bar for dental hygiene education.

The university offers three dental hygiene programs:

  • A two-year full-time dental hygiene undergraduate program.
  • An online or on-campus dental hygiene degree completion program for licensed hygienists who want to earn a BS degree.
  • A two-year dental hygiene graduate program that allows hygienists to break into the research industry. 

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5. Texas A&M (College Station, TX)

This school is best for Hygienists with established occupations who desire to advance in their fields. They offer a master’s program in science education for healthcare professionals. 

Their student-centered program will strengthen your background abilities to become a fantastic teacher in your area of specialization.

The goals of the bachelor’s course are to:

  • Support student competency and prepare you for dental hygiene practice.
  • Facilitate learning.
  • Demonstrate participation in teaching, service, and scholarly activity.
  • Provide quality care to patients.

6. New York University (New York City, NY)

The NYU College of Dentistry is a smart choice for students who value flexibility because it allows them to complete their associate degree in three years rather than two.

They can also enroll in a day or night program if they are already working.

The institution offers a fast-track 17-month program for students who desire to accelerate their learning, getting them ready to gain their license 5-7 months sooner than with the conventional program.

They also host online open houses that give you the opportunity to tour the campus, connect with other students, and learn about admission requirements without ever having to leave your house.

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7. University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)

The University of Pittsburgh dental hygiene program blends on-campus learning with online seminars and clinical training for a well-rounded experience, making it one of the best dental hygienist schools for students who desire a lot of hands-on experience.

Undergraduates can pursue an associate of science degree to become dental hygienists, and experienced RDHs can broaden their education by earning a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. 

Additionally, all dental hygiene students are eligible for financial aid and scholarships.

You will be prepared for fulfilling jobs in private practices, teaching, business, research, sales, public health, and the public sector thanks to the curriculum’s variety of educational experiences.

8. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)

The Adams School of Dentistry is the biggest dental school institution in the US. It offers undergraduate courses for students aspiring to become registered dental hygienists (RDH) as well as 22-month graduate programs for experienced hygienists eager to start careers in academia.

Both curricula are made to educate students and prepare them for rewarding employment in a broad and rapidly changing healthcare industry. 

The school prioritizes the development of comprehensive dental hygienists who can handle a range of patients and grow into real leaders.

You’ll have access to a range of experiences throughout the course that are connected to clinical patient care, community dental health, and dental specialties like research, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, and geriatric dentistry.

9. University of Washington (Seattle, WA)

The School of Dentistry at the University of Washington is a good choice for any RDH who wants to advance professionally and get a master’s degree.

It offers one of the only three doctoral programs for dental hygienists in the nation.

Their two-year dental hygiene program emphasizes science, such as oral pathology and oral history, and is designed to help you pursue a career as a teacher. 

During your time there, you’ll participate in a research project, get extensive instruction in a number of basic and applied disciplines, and help care for people with special needs.

This dental hygienist school is one of the few that does not provide entry-level or degree-completion programs, so it is only appropriate for competent hygienists with a bachelor’s degree.

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10. Rutgers University, New Brunswick (New Brunswick, NJ)

Rutgers School of Dental Medicine is the only dental school in New is renowned for its demanding clinical curriculum and commitment to diversity. 

Students get the opportunity to care for some of the most culturally diverse patients in the country here, giving them a solid basis for working in practices in the future. 

One of the benefits of attending Rutgers School of Dental Medicine is the chances it generates off campus. They also plan regular international dental missions to assist students to comprehend the enormous influence dental hygiene has globally.

11. North Dakota State College of Science (Wahpeton, ND)

This dental hygienist school in the US is another that offers students educationally stimulating activities. 

They host “Give Kids a Smile” events every year to give students the chance for practical training. 

This university is a wonderful option for undergraduate students to get their associate degrees. 

They combine clinical dental hygiene skills with biological, behavioral, and social sciences to create an extremely well-rounded curriculum, requiring at least one year of prerequisite coursework.

How Long Is Dental Hygiene School In Texas?

It requires two to three years and 60 to 90 credits of coursework to become a dental hygienist in Texas.

You must complete a recognized college program in dental hygiene in order to become a qualified dental hygienist in Texas.

Can You Become A Dentist After Being A Dental Hygienist?

Yes, you can become a dentist after being a dental hygienist. However, you must first earn a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene before you practice as a dentist. 

What Is The Difference Between A Dental Assistant And Dental Hygienist?

Dental assistants carry out a variety of administrative and clinical activities linked to patient care while dental hygienists do dental health checkups to look for oral problems, clean and polish patients’ teeth, and instruct patients on good dental hygiene.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Dental Assistant?

You will put a minimum of 360 hours of work-integrated learning at dental offices, hospitals, or both.

What Skills Do Dental Hygienists Need?

You will need the following skills to succeed as a dental hygienist:

  • Oral Communication. To treat patients, you will need to talk to them
  • Attention to Detail
  • Compassion
  • Problem Solving
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Conducting Initial Dental Assessments
  • Removing Deposits from Teeth
  • Applying Fluoride Treatments.


Can You Study Dental Hygiene Part-Time?

Yes, there are part-time courses for people working. 

There is also a lot of academic study and hands-on training in GDC-approved dental programs.

What Does A Dental Assistant Do?

Dental assistants get patients ready for oral exams and help other dental professionals, such as dentists, dental therapists, and dental hygienists, treat the mouth, teeth, and gums. Additionally, they handle reception and office work.

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What Dental Specialty Makes The Most Money?

There are three areas of dental medicine that make the most money. They are:

  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeon: $307,999
  • Endodontist: $287,937 average annual salary
  • Orthodontist: $284,763 average annual salary


Studying in one of the best schools for dental hygiene is one, becoming a successful dental hygienist is another.

After getting your degree, always look out for better ways to advance your career, so you won’t be caught in the loop.

Frequently Asked Questions About Schools For Dental Hygienists

Is Being A Dental Hygienist Worth It?

Dental hygienists are in high demand as they are an essential part of every dentist’s office. They also make a good living. 

The national median annual wage for the field is $77,090, or $37.06 per hour, according to the BLS. This varies according to your area, level of expertise, and whether you work full- or part-time.

Where Is The Highest Demand For Dental Hygienists?

California has a high demand for dental hygienists.
There are several factors contributing to that, but one of them is California’s strong and rising demand for dental hygienists. 

Can A Uk Dental Hygienist Work In The USA?

Any dental hygienist who is licensed can operate abroad provided that the nation they intend to work in accepts the practice of dental hygiene by individuals other than dentists.

Can A Dental Hygienist From Canada Work In the USA?

Yes, a dental hygienist from Canada can work in the US.

Is Being A Dental Hygienist Hard?

Yes, dental hygiene can be a tough profession, and it requires a lot of hard work.


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