Careers in dental hygiene are projected to grow by 20% over the course of the next six years according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dental hygienists have a unique opportunity to earn a competitive salary of $73,000 after completing a two-year dental hygienist associate’s degree program. Dental hygienists provide oral care by cleaning a patient’s teeth, examining the mouth and gums for injury or infection, and teaching the patient how to properly care for their teeth. This rewarding field is climbing, and we listed some of the best college programs on our Top 20 Dental Hygienist Associate’s Degree Programs 2021.
Our Top 20 Dental Hygienist Associate’s Degree Programs:
- Sante Fe College
- Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
- Pennsylvania College of Technology
- Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
- Southwestern College
- University of Wyoming
- Ferris State University
- West Liberty University
- Pearl River Community College
- Taft College
- Mohawk Valley College
- New York University
- Eastern Florida State College
- Western Kentucky University
- Rowan University
- Concorde Career College
- PIMA Medical Institute
- University of Bridgeport
- Carrington College
- University of New Haven
Our Top 20 Dental Associate’s Degree Programs 2020 consists of schools featuring quality dental hygiene programs. We looked at many colleges offering dental hygiene programs and chose our top 20. Our schools are a mix of online, hybrid, and on-campus schools. These schools were ranked based on their graduation rate and ROI (according to each school’s net price and average dental hygienist’s salary.) We highlight each school’s special rankings from sources such as the U.S. News and World Report and Best Colleges.
Reviewing the Top Dental Hygienist Associate’s Degree Programs
#20 University of New Haven
Dental Hygiene, A.S.
West Haven, Connecticut
The University of New Haven offers an extensive 3-year associate’s degree in Dental Hygiene. Its thorough program gives students the highest chances of successfully passing all of the necessary board exams. This program effortlessly affords students to move on to a bachelor’s degree in one more year. Completion of this on-campus program is based on 100 credits, consisting of the university’s core courses along with dental hygiene specific courses. Some of these include Dental Hygiene Concepts I with Laboratory, Oral Facial Structures, and Periodontology. Featuring an experiential learning environment where students will practice their clinical rotations at places like a U.S. military dental clinic, school-based dental clinic, Driggs Elementary School, a Federal Correctional Institution, and more.
#19 Carrington College
Dental Hygiene Associate’s Degree
Carrington’s accredited Dental Hygiene Associate’s degree can be finished in under 2 years. There are 4 locations where this can be completed, in California, Idaho, and Arizona. These two years are full of learning oral hygiene, and the Boise campus also includes psychology and communication skills. This associate’s degree consists of 83 credits and takes about 80 weeks to complete. Courses include Head and Neck Anatomy, Oral Anatomy, Embryology and Histology, Introduction to Psychology, and Introduction to Sociology. Carrington takes time to ensure that graduates will be prepared to pass the Dental Hygiene National Board, along with local licensing exams.
#18 University of Bridgeport
Dental Hygiene Associate’s
The Fones School of Dental Hygiene collaborates with the University of Bridgeport to deliver an extensive two-year education. Students graduate with a firm grasp of dental science theory, along with hands-on experience through clinical rotations at local hospitals and other facilities. These clinical hours will be directly overseen by the Fones School faculty. This affordable degree program is delivered full-time only. Students will be given all their dental instruments at the beginning of their 1st year. These are included with the cost of the program.
#17 PIMA Medical Institute
Dental Hygiene Associate’s
PIMA offers a 23-month Dental Hygiene Associate’s Degree Program in Houston, Albuquerque, and Seattle. The 90 credits will include learning theory, being in the laboratory, and clinical hours. Some of the courses include Psychology, Medical Emergencies, Head and Neck Anatomy, Dental Hygiene, Periodontics, Pharmacology for Dental Hygiene, and more. Students will learn how to assess and care for teeth and gums, as well as teach patients. They will also learn preventative care by taking X rays, applying sealants, and giving fluoride. PIMA offers financial aid and career planning services.
#16 Concorde Career College
Dental Hygiene Associate’s
Concorde’s Dental Hygiene Associate Degree program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and can be finished in a short span of 17 months. Generally, the program is nine 10-week sessions. The courses are rigorous, not only consisting of dental hygiene, but also Dental Law/Ethics, Medical & Dental Emergencies, Oral Embryology & Histology, Nutrition, and more. Since dental hygiene is an intense study, getting into this program is competitive. Students will be asked to have a high school diploma or GED and pass the required exams to qualify for one of the 24 spots. The outcome of completing this quality program is a good grasp of dental hygiene and the necessary social skills to make an impact on communities through dental health.
#15 Rowan University
Associate’s in Dental Hygiene
Glassboro, New Jersey
Rowan’s Dental Hygiene AAS is accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. It requires a strong understanding of science and requires that core classes like Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology be completed within 10 years of starting the program. Learning will be done through classroom learning, clinical, and laboratory studies. It is necessary to have online access, due to the program’s use of it. The completion of the program will be after achieving 75 credit hours. Some courses include Dental Pharmacology, Pain Control, and Local Anesthesia, and Dental Public Health. Rowan will prepare students to enter the dental hygiene workforce or continue on to higher education.
#14 Western Kentucky University
Dental Hygiene Associate Degree
Bowling Green, Kentucky
WKU has 8 lofty goals for students completing its Dental Hygiene program. Some of these are for graduates to perform in their careers as highly ethical and moral professionals. WKU wants to see its graduates being involved in community growth, be skilled in their profession, hone their skills in problem-solving, and gain an understanding in a myriad of other disciplines. After completing the 17 credits of prerequisites, there are 66 more credits to complete through core courses. Some courses include Oral Anatomy, Dental Radiology I, Pain Control in Dentistry, and Fundamentals of Public Speaking. WKU’s dental program is accredited by the Council of Dental Education/Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.
#13 Eastern Florida State College
Dental Hygiene A.S.
After completing EFSC’s Dental Hygiene A.S., its graduates are given the opportunity to take the Dental Hygiene National Board Exams. They will also be given the Expanded Functions Certificate and Local Anesthesia Administration Certificate to be able to practice tasks and give local anesthesia as per the Florida Board of Dentistry. Students must maintain a “C” average in the core courses to stay in the program. Good command of science is necessary for this degree program. To graduate, students will complete 88 credits consisting of classroom and clinical hours. A sample of the courses includes Pharmacology and Pain Control, Dental Hygiene Clinic 1, Expanded Functions for Dental Auxiliaries, and Dental Radiography Laboratory.
#12 New York University
Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree Program in Dental Hygiene
New York, New York
One of the largest private schools in the nation, NYU finds itself on top lists for its programs frequently. Not surprisingly, it offers an intensive and competitive AAS Degree Program in Dental Hygiene. This program can be taken in a variety of ways, depending on each student’s qualifications. The Advanced Standing Track can be completed in 12 months. This is for well-qualified students. There’s a 17-month track and two more that will be completed in 2 and 3 years. Part of the curriculum is hands-on clinical experience through NYU College of Dentistry, working alongside dental students and dental hygiene faculty. Radiology Lecture and Laboratory, Preventive Dentistry and Public Health, and Oral Anatomy are a few of the courses. Graduates of this 78-credit-hour program will be ready to take their clinical board exams and dental hygiene national boards.
#11 Mohawk Valley Community College
Dental Hygiene Associate’s Degree Program
Rome, New York
Mohawk Valley Community College offers this Dental Hygiene A.A.S Program as a hybrid delivery. Both the General Education and Dental Hygiene Theory courses are taken online. This allows unlimited access to information, as well as flexibility. MVCC collaborates with Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare Dental Health Center and St. Luke’s Home for the second year’s clinical experience. Student’s get the unique opportunity to work with members of the Veteran’s Association, giving them a rich experience in communication. MVCC has a 100% success rate on the national exams. It’s driven to prepare its students to provide excellent oral care with compassion.
#10 Taft College
Dental Hygiene Associate’s Degree
After successful completion of its general education courses, Taft invites its students to join its affordable Dental Hygiene Associate Degree Program. It takes conscientiousness seriously, and students are required to complete each of the courses well before moving onto the next. Taft is in compliance with the Commission of the Community Colleges and The Dental Practice Act. Students will learn many skills, including professional ethics, dental cleaning, and preventative care; diagnosing and assessing; and more, leading up to the readiness to take and pass the national and clinical board exams. Of the 45 credit hours, a couple of the courses are Community Dental Health and Patient Mgmt/Geriatrics.
#9 Pearl River Community College
Dental Hygiene A.A.S.
Students looking for an affordable dental hygienist school can come to Pearl River Community College. Its Dental Hygiene A.A.S program teaches the ins and outs of dental hygiene. After completing core courses, students can move on to the Dental Hygiene courses. Completion of the 4 semesters with classes like Dental Hygiene Clinic I and Dental Medical Emergencies will result in an Associate in Dental Hygiene Degree. Graduates will be ready to care for others and their teeth, and can expect to make between $22-30/hr.
#8 West Liberty University
Associate of Science Degree – Dental Hygiene
West Liberty, West Virginia
The West Liberty University Sarah Whitaker Glass Dental Hygiene School offers associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees in Dental Hygiene. Students will complete their clinicals in a brand new building called Campbell Hall. This fully accredited program by the Commission on Dental Accreditation uses Dentrix dental practice management software throughout its courses. WLU boasts of a high pass rate on the CDCA/ADEX Clinical Exam and the National Board Examination. This dental hygiene program will be completed after a total of 82 credit hours. West Liberty University preps its students to successfully complete the board exams from WV Dental Board, Ohio State Dental Board, and the PA State Board of Dentistry.
#7 Ferris State University
Associate’s Degree Dental Hygiene
Big Rapids, Michigan
Ferris State has a Dental Hygiene Associate Degree program that is rigorous and takes 3 years to complete before readiness to take the board exams. The program is considered excellent throughout the nation, not surprisingly, because its dental hygiene program is one of the largest. This 30-seat program starts in the fall and is completed after 6 semesters. Students will gain knowledge and skills such as patient evaluations, oral examinations, performing x-rays, giving local anesthesia, and much more. Enrollment is limited, making sure that Ferris State graduates the finest students. Graduates can expect to make $26-30/hourly in Michigan as dental hygienists.
#6 University of Wyoming
Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
University of Wyoming’s Sheridan College has its Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene available to 24 students a year. Sheridan College collaborates with the University of Wyoming to offer a bachelor’s degree to whoever wishes to continue their education. This program is one of the top in the Rocky Mountain region. It utilizes off-site clinics along with its full on-campus hygiene clinic. This is an accredited two-year program including courses like Head, Neck and Oral Anatomy & Physiology; Dental Materials Lab; US & WY Const. Requirements; and Office Practice. After completing its 64-credit program, students will be ready to take their boards.
#5 Southwestern College
Dental Hygiene Associate in Science
Chula Vista, California
Southwestern’s Dental Hygiene Associate in Science is a competitive program consisting of 53 credits in dental hygiene taken after required prerequisites. The current estimated cost of this affordable degree is between $11,000-$12,000 with California residency. SWC is a blended format, so some of the education can be completed online. Graduates can go onto working in general or private practices, as well as in hospitals, institutions, or federal programs. Courses like Dental Radiography and Interpretation and Pain Control are combined with clinical hours. Students are required to pass each class with a 75% or higher to move on. Every student will need to provide patients, such as family and friends, to use during practice.
#4 Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
Dental Hygiene A.A.S.
Asheville, North Carolina
AB Tech campus is located in lovely Asheville, North Carolina. This high-quality, low-cost program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and upon completion, graduates are qualified to take the national and regional exams. Students will be required to complete 72 credit hours packed with courses, clinicals, and labs. Courses will include classes like Orofacial Anatomy, Dental Pharmacology, Nutrition/Dental Health, Materials and Procedures, and Professional Development. Graduates of the program will have the skills to professionally care for the dental hygiene of their patients.
#3 Pennsylvania College of Technology
Dental Hygiene (DH) Associate of Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.)
Penn College offers an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene, as well as a 100% online BS for students wishing to further their education. Students should have a firm grasp of science and mathematics, as this program is heavy in these subjects. Penn College strives to graduate its students with the skills to provide oral care to a diverse community of all ages. This program consists of 4 semesters and can be completed in two years. A sampling of the classes students will take is Dental Radiology, Microbiology, Dental Materials and Specialties, and Community Dental Health. Upon completion, graduates will be ready to take the national and regional exams and work in quite a number of different work environments.
#2 Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
Dental Hygiene-Associate of Applied Science Degree
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College collaborates with Valdosta State University to offer this affordable Dental Hygienist program. Academic classes are taken at VSU, while clinicals are completed at the Wiregrass campus. Graduates will earn their degree from Valdosta State. WGTC is selective, offering only 14 spots in its program. This program is accredited and strives for excellence in its extensive teaching. The curriculum is made up of courses totaling 92 credit hours. Courses are Oral Biology, Preclinical Dental Hygiene, Pharmacology and Pain Control, Periodontology, and many more. Upon completion, graduates will be required to take their national boards and regional exam.
#1 Santa Fe College
Dental Hygiene, A.S.
Santa Fe College is ranked #1 Highest Performance Rating In The State. It also made it into the #1 spot on our list. Its motto is A World Full of Smiles. There are two ways to complete the program. The traditional route consists of 35-40 hours a week. This gets completed in 2 years after finishing the 88-credit requirement. The Bridge program lasts 15 weeks and is offered to students who’ve finished an American Dental Association accredited dental assisting program prior to study and are certified by the Dental Assisting National Board. This program is accredited by The Dental Hygiene Program and by the American Dental Association. Its cost is $106.77 per credit hour for in-state students.