If you’re already practicing as a dental hygienist, earning a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene can further your knowledge and career, in addition to paving the way towards a higher salary potential.
Whether or not you’re already in possession of an associate’s degree, using an accredited online college for dental hygiene is an ideal way to gain more knowledge and theory-based experience that you can use to further your career. With this qualification under your belt, you’ll be poised to achieve some of the highest salary potentials in the industry, all while being better prepared to advise your patients or the wider communities in which you live.
Why Study for a Dental Hygiene Degree?
It’s possible that you’ve already earned an associate’s degree in dental hygiene; after all, these courses are more common than bachelor’s. However, a BS in Dental Hygiene is becoming increasingly popular and more widely available. If you’ve got career aspirations beyond the four walls of dental surgery, then a bachelor’s could be for you.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2018, the median annual wage for a dental hygienist was $74,070. What’s more, employment in this field is projected to increase by 11% between the years 2018 and 2028. This is much faster than the growth rate average for all other occupations, and with a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene, you could be earning some of the highest salaries in your field.
Careers for Dental Hygiene Majors
Your course selection and makeup should depend on the role that you would like to pursue in the future. For example, if you want to work in dental surgery, then you’d be overqualified with a master’s degree. However, if you have an associate’s degree, you won’t be eligible for roles in academia or research in most cases.
Many bachelor’s and master’s programs offer career concentrations as part of the curriculum, allowing you to focus and specialize in a particular field. Careers that might open up to you as a graduate include dental hygiene educator, public health administrator, pediatric dental hygienist, and periodontal dental hygienist.
What Are the Best Dental Hygiene Degrees?
Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. For more information, see our Methodology page.
East Mississippi Community College is one of the very few institutions that can boast having its own radio station. Its dental hygiene program consists of 33-35 semester hours, with enrolled students covering topics such as general biology, anatomy and physiology, an introduction to sociology, microbiology, and nutrition.
The basic course requirements that make up the dental hygiene program are designed in such a way that earned credits can be easily transferred to other accredited colleges or universities. There is ample support on-hand to advise you in the best classes to take that will give you the greatest advantage in your studies or career.
At an undergraduate level, in-state students pay a tuition of $3,200 per semester, which is around 12% cheaper than the national average two-year tuition. For out-of-state students, the cost rises to $6,200, which is nearly double the cost but still cheaper on average.
At USD, you’ll have access to a range of opportunities outside of the classroom, so to speak, both for professional development and to gain real-world experience. This includes interdisciplinary work with peers and faculty, health screenings at community health fairs, and oral health presentations at educational and public sector organizations.
Students at USD are eligible to join the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), with additional opportunities for professional and personal growth. Up to 32 students are accepted to the course each year. Eligibility requires you to have a minimum GPA of 2.5.
Online tuition rates for an undergraduate studying fully online is $351.25 per credit. For students with financial need, there are several sources of funding available, including Federal Direct Loans, subsidized loans, and unsubsidized loans. Subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need, with the government reducing or covering the cost of interest due on the loan.
The University of New Mexico boasts some pretty impressive accolades. For one, the Health Sciences Center is the state’s biggest health care treatment, education, and research center. The School of Medicine and School of Law have also been named in rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
This course is designed for dental hygienists who already possess a valid dental hygiene license, with the opportunity to improve upon existing skills and develop new ones. Students enrolled in this course take part in a variety of activities designed to improve future career prospects.
The school’s accelerated online programs offer a range of courses at a standard per-credit tuition fee, regardless of whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. These fees are $359.86 for undergraduate students (applicable to this course) and $383.54 for graduate programs. There may be additional fees alongside tuition, including a technology fee.
Ferris State University offers more than 190 degree programs and has more than 200 student organizations. The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1, and online learners enjoy the same rigorous learning as students who are studying on campus. Students at the university are known as Bulldogs and proudly boast their colors at regular sporting events across campus.
This program was created to support the American Dental Hygienists’ Association in advancing the field of dental hygiene through the provision of advanced degrees and leadership opportunities. It will prepare you to engage with research activities that lead to the discovery of new theory and practice in the field.
The course consists of 121-123 credits, with undergraduate tuition for U.S. residents and Canadians costing $431 per credit hour. Courses are subdivided into culture competency, self and society competency, diversity competency, problem solving competency, and collaboration competency.
Students at Idaho State are known as Bengals and are highly inclusive; you can even take part in the Spend-A-Day program to see what it’s like to study at ISU. Idaho State University fosters collaborative relationships with local communities and professional organizations, which benefits its focus on preparing you for advancement opportunities and real-world experience gained while studying.
This school’s Master of Science in Dental Hygiene is designed to be inclusive toward non-traditional graduates across the globe. Thanks to online-only instruction, students can earn a graduate degree without compromising their career, residency, or lifestyle. The program prepares you for leadership roles in the dental hygiene field.
If studying nine or more credits, full-time graduate students who are residents of the state pay $3,936 per semester. Non-resident graduate students pay the same rate, too. However, due to fees, the non-resident overall cost is significantly higher at $13,110.98 as opposed to around $4,962.98.
Founded in 1868 with a cohort of 27 students, this institution has undergone a lot of transformation before becoming Minnesota State University – Mankato. At least 50 programs, including both degrees and certificates, are available completely online or as hybrid courses.
Minnesota State’s Dental Hygiene Online Degree Completion Program lets you complete your bachelor’s degree to open up new opportunities in the field of dental hygiene. Rather than working in dental surgery, you may find new career pathways in public health, sales, or education. In 2016, the regional practical exam pass rate was measured at 95.2%.
The university has a commitment to non-resident undergraduate students who enroll exclusively in online courses. This means that as a fully online learner, you may benefit from tuition charges that are no higher than those paid by current Minnesota residents. However, there may be additional fees accompanying the course.
Through the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene at Wichita State, you can complete all your courses entirely online in as few as 15 months. You can also earn up to 28 credit hours towards your degree for any prior coursework completed. It’s a fast and convenient way to earn your bachelor’s degree and advance your career.
For admission, you’ll need a minimum GPA of 2.5. You’ll also need to arrange your official transcripts to provide as part of your application, in addition to showing evidence of your current license to practice dental hygiene.
Tuition runs at $11,716 annually for in-state students who are living off campus. As an online learner, you’ll only pay the equivalent of an in-state student, instead of the higher cost to out-of-state students living off campus of up to $26,896.
Programs at The Ohio State University have been consistently ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report. This includes a No.1 spot in the Online Ranking for Undergraduate Programs, as well as a No.17 spot among the Best Public Universities, No.4 for Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs, No.1 among Ohio’s Public Colleges, and No.17 for Nation’s Most Employable Grads.
Ohio State’s Dental Hygiene Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program is convenient and fully online, resulting in a Bachelor of Science. As a licensed dental hygienist, with an existing associate’s degree or certificate in your field, you’ll be able to develop new knowledge and gain real-world experience.
Tuition at Ohio State varies from one course to another, but the school’s distance-education courses are the exception. Regardless of your residency, all United States residents and graduates pay the in-state tuition fee of $18,336. There’s an additional distance-learning fee of $100 per semester, plus a general fee of $186.
The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor has three separate programs for dental hygienists. The Dental Hygiene Undergraduate Program (BS) lasts two years and prepares you for leadership roles in oral healthcare. The Dental Hygiene Graduate Program (MS) also follows a two year track and is designed for already-qualified graduates in the field.
However, it’s the Dental Hygiene Degree Completion (BS) program that features a fully-online option for licensed dental hygienists who want to pursue a BS. The program gives you a broad education with a number of electives and prepares you for more advanced career opportunities beyond clinical practice.
As part of this program, you’ll complete 120 semester credit hours, comprising 36 degree-completion credit hours, 60 hours from dental hygiene coursework, and 24 credit hours from transfer credits, where available. Students in this program pay the upper-division rate for tuition fees per credit hour.
Old Dominion University has more than 30 years’ worth of experience in providing distance learning. The school has more than 100 online courses and an impressive 97% satisfaction rate among the student body. For the academic year 2019-2020, the college was voted No.1 VA Online College by OnlineColleges.com.
In the dental hygiene program at ODU, you’ll take general education modules like language and culture, human creativity, and philosophy and ethics. You’ll also learn more about dental hygiene theory and practice, including research methods in health sciences, perspectives on dental hygiene, and telehealthcare technology.
The tuition rate for online undergraduate courses is $356 per credit hour for Virginia residents, or $407 for students living outside of the state. A general services fee of $9 applies to each semester taken, plus an online course technology fee of $30 per credit hour, and a $2 ID card fee.
Students at SIU are called Salukis, like the breed of dog, and embody the same mindset and spirit. Diversity plays a huge part in the student body; the inaugural class of 143 students included two African Americans, and the student body today contains around 29% minority students.
The Online Dental Hygiene Management/Education program at SIU is designed for dental hygienists who already hold an associate’s degree. This specialization allows you to study educational theories, styles, philosophies, and techniques that relate to the field of dental hygiene. The main goal of this program is to pave the way for a career in education or management.
As an existing associate’s degree graduate, you’ll apply for the program via the Capstone option, which guarantees completion of your studies in just 60 hours additional coursework. Your acceptance will depend on your high school GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and your college GPA.
With the lowest tuition fee rates in the state of Arizona, the online degree programs at NAU feature some of the best value in the country. Degrees earned online at NAU are fully accredited and have the same level of quality as those delivered on campus.
For current dental hygienists with an associate’s degree, diploma, or certificate in dental hygiene, this program will complement and advance your clinical and theoretical knowledge in multiple areas, like management, sales, public health, and education. If you want to move into a new area of dental hygiene, this could give you the foundation you need.
Online courses are charged at a per-credit basis, giving you greater flexibility. To graduate, you’ll need to complete 120 credits, with the cost per credit hour of online courses standing at $455. There are also additional fees involved, though these reduce when paying for multiple credits simultaneously.
SPC alumni are ranked No.1 in the state of Florida for having the highest entry-level salaries among graduates of community colleges. With career preparation incorporated into the curriculum, over 90% of graduates will find jobs in their field or continue their education.
The Dental Hygiene BAS degree at SPC is the first and sole program of its kind in the state. It’s also one of the largest programs of its kind in the entire United States. As a licensed dental hygienist, you could improve your career opportunities and employability in areas such as sales, public health, and education.
Tuition for courses at St. Petersburg College is split into two categories, with lower division courses (0001 – 2999) costing $111.75 for Florida residents or $386.90 for out-of-state residents; for upper division courses (3000 – 4999), the rate is $122.70 if you’re in-state or $425.79 out-of-state.
University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Bachelor of Science Degree Completion Program in Dental Hygiene is for students who already hold an associate’s degree and are practicing as a dental hygienist. The program gives students an interdisciplinary curriculum that combines behavioral and biomedical sciences. You’ll need to have completed the Dental Hygiene National Board Exam and have licensure in at least one state.
You’ll also be expected to have already completed an associate’s degree in dental hygiene as a foundation for your learning. The course requires 63 hours worth of major requirements, which include studies in biology, chemistry, and mathematics-based learning. You’ll also take core dental hygienist courses to make up the remainder of your credits.
ULM charges around $5,800 for in-state residents at an undergraduate level, which is approximately 20% cheaper than the national average of $7,203. For out-of-state residents, tuition is around $18,000.
Eastern Washington University has been named the No. 1 College of Diversity in Washington by the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. This national accreditation recognizes institutions that show outstanding commitment towards inclusion and diversity. The university dates back to the late 1800s, when it was launched by a $10,000 grant from businessman Benjamin Pierce Cheney.
The school’s fully online Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree-completion program has been created for dental hygienists already holding licensure and have graduated from a two-year program at a community college. Courses are taught through the Canvas learning management system and incorporate critical thinking, research, writing, and analysis throughout.
The online tuition rate for the dental hygiene program is $369.00 per credit, which is higher than the average for other courses at EWU. However, the average salary for dental hygiene professionals is much higher than the average for all other occupations.
Students at Western Kentucky University are known as Hilltoppers, owing to the hilltop campus that’s surrounded by natural beauty. This is backed by a silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and an award from the Princeton Review on its Guide to Green Colleges.
WKU’s online Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program was created for students who already have an associate’s degree in a dental hygiene field from an accredited institution. The program is also fully accredited by the Council of Dental Education/Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.
At WKU, undergraduate students pay $540 per credit hour, while graduate students pay $707 per credit hour. There is no differentiation between an in-state learner and an out-of-state learner, which is a major benefit to studying online. However, there can be an additional course fee or proctored exam fee.
Augusta University goes back a long way; its oldest college, the Medical College of Georgia, dates back to 1828. It has an annual budget of nearly one billion dollars per financial year, with over $100 million in sponsored awards and around $85 million in research awards. The institution is also an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. This is a service under the American Dental Association that helps dental professionals to locate high-quality providers of education in the dental field.
Augusta’s BS in Dental Hygiene is billed at $309 per credit hour, though all fully online courses incur additional, mandatory fees. These include a special institutional fee, immunization tracking fee, and technology fee.
To be eligible for the program, you’ll need a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. Graduates of this course frequently progress to careers in healthcare institutions, industries, research, and education.
The College of Southern Nevada is at the cheaper end of the scale, with a cost of around $3,000 per year for in-state residents; this makes it approximately 58% cheaper than the national average of $7,203 and 68% cheaper than Nevada’s average tuition of $9,425.
With the BSDH Degree Completion Program, you’ll be able to choose whether to specialize in Public Health or Education. On either track, you’ll take core coursework that covers leadership, research, public health principles, and teaching methodology. There will also be general education coursework in philosophy, educational psychology, English, and communication. For this program, you must have taken the TEAS exam. If this was done in another state or institution, then your scores will need to be officially transferred to CSN prior to the application deadline. There’s a handy checklist for students considering CSN that outlines the steps you need to follow prior to registration.
With over 60,000 alumni spread across the globe and a graduation placement rate of around 97%, Pennsylvania College prepares students for success in the real world. It’s been named in multiple U.S. News & World Report rankings, including a No.15 spot among Best Value Schools, No.14 among Regional Colleges North, and No.8 among Top Public Schools.
Penn College offers its Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene on-campus or fully online. Regardless of the study medium you choose, the program’s rigor is the same. You’ll cover courses like an Introduction to Global Health, Dental Practice Management, Dental Public Health, and United States Health Policymaking.
Regardless of whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state resident, any student enrolled in an online degree program receives the in-state tuition rate. This is $489 per credit hour, though there are some additional fees that you can read more about on the school’s website.
Texas Woman’s University offers a BS in Dental Hygiene and Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) to BS Dual-Enrollment Program, though the latter is the only option offered fully online. The online program allows you to simultaneously gain both an AAS and a BS in Dental Hygiene with the convenience of being able to study at a time that suits you.
Available to any student already enrolled at a partnering community college and in a dental hygiene program, this program allows you to simultaneously enroll at TWU. Your studies at TWU will prepare you for a number of career paths, including that of a registered dental hygienist, dental sales representative, or dental hygiene instructor.
You can complete the required 120 credits within two years, with a minimum of 30 credits needed to be earned at TWU. Residents of the state pay a tuition fee of $230.70 per credit hour, while non-residents pay $639.70 per credit hour.
More than ten colleges and schools make up East Tennessee State University, which has around 15,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The athletics community engages in 17 different sports, all under the name of the Buccaneers, who champion the colors ETSU blue and gold.
The Online Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Degree Completion Program instills expertise in a range of areas, including the needs of geriatrics, community and rural health program design, pain management, current approaches to supportive periodontal therapy, soft tissue management, teaching strategies, and skills needed to build an evidence-based practice.
As part of this program, you’ll take a total of 120 credit hours. In-state students pay $601 per credit hour, whereas Tennessee residents pay an increased $801 per credit hour. However, this rate for fully online courses is still cheaper than the usual cost of tuition for out-of-state students, which stands at $1,442.
Luzerne County Community College was founded in 1966 and had 4,920 enrolled students as of Fall 2019. Of these students, around 27% were enrolled in distance learning or hybrid programs. As an online learner, you’ll have access to a digital library of nearly 200,000 ebooks and a modern learning management system.
As part of the Health Sciences school, you can enroll in the Dental Hygiene Associate of Applied Science program, which lasts for two years. The course aims to give students a foundation on which they can progress to more varied careers in the dental field.
You’ll take three different examinations to gain your licensure, which are the Comprehensive Simulated Clinical Exercise, the ADEX clinical exam, and the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Full-time enrollment costs $2,010 for in-county residents, $4,020 for out-of-county residents, or $6,030 for out-of-state residents.
SUNY Canton offers more than 19 degrees and 450 other courses online. But online engagement doesn’t stop there: the eSports teams at this university give you the chance to participate in video game competitions at a collegiate level, even if you can’t get involved with on-campus sports.
The dental hygiene program at SUNY Canton is an introduction to the theory behind dental hygiene. It focuses on clinical professionalism and basic patient assessment. When enrolled in this program, you’ll also be expected to register for DHYG, or Pre-Clinical Dental Hygiene, as well as achieving 75% proficiency in all dental hygiene courses to continue.
As an online student, your tuition fees will be around $8,480 if you’re an out-of-state resident, or $7,070 if you’re in-state. Compared to other competing online institutions, this is far more affordable. For example, you’d pay $31,136 at Southern New Hampshire, $17,050 at Grand Canyon University, and $14,343 at Purdue Global.
The RDH-to-BSDH program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is open to any dental hygienist who holds a credential in the field. You can choose to start your online study during any semester throughout the academic year and make your application solely online.
Courses in this program place emphasis on evidence-based practice in clinical, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. When accessed online, some courses are available 24 hours a day, while others require you to be online at a given time. UMKC also has the only public dental school in Kansas or Missouri, which provides the perfect place for practice.
If you live in Missouri or Kansas, you’ll pay in-state tuition of $299.70 per credit. Residents of 15 nearby states receive a Heartland Rate, which is charged at $449.55 per credit. Alternatively, as an out-of-state student, you’ll pay around $825 per credit.
Oregon Tech Online offers a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene to professional dental hygienists, allowing you to advance your career or open up additional opportunities. The program has a general education core and otherwise focuses on public health, education, and management courses.
Eligibility requires you to meet a number of conditions. You must have already graduated from an accredited program in dental hygiene or have approval from your department. You must also complete the Dental Hygiene National Board Examination. Additionally, you need to be licensed (or eligible for licensure) in your state of residence and meet Oregon Tech’s admissions criteria.
Oregon Tech Online’s tuition fee runs at $257 per credit. Every online course also has a distance delivery fee of $65, which covers the cost of a “seat” in the learning management system, Blackboard; this is how you’ll get access to your course content and submit your assignments.
Online learning is popular at PCC, especially for part-time learners; in fact, around 70% of the student body attends classes part time. In the fiscal year 2018-2019, PCC students also received more than $23 million in financial aid, which is useful information for any student looking for financial support with their education.
Pueblo Community College’s Dental Hygiene Bachelor of Applied Science program is geared toward licensed dental hygienists who already hold an associate’s degree from a U.S. accredited college or university. Career tracks that result from this program include roles within education, public health, sales or research, and program administration.
The BAS degree is made up of four semesters, comprising 27 credits; each online credit hour costs between $263.20 and $401.25 depending on your residency. Online courses are taken in eight week tracks and are taught by master-level instructors who are specifically certified for online teaching.
Clayton State University attracts students from more than 34 U.S. states and 32 countries. Online learning takes place through a learning management system called BrightSpace. Through this platform, you’ll view your class content, submit your examinations or assignments, and communicate with your peers enrolled on the same course.
In this program, you’ll cover dental anatomy, radiology, and hygiene. You’ll also take other modules in areas like like educational strategies and an internship. The program’s goals are to expand distance-learning and experiential-learning opportunities, maintain full accreditation, and increase financial resources for all students enrolled.
In addition, you can choose to enroll in the Basic Licensure Track after completion of 60 hours of lower division requirements, which has an admission program separate to the university’s usual admission. Typically, this track will admit 28 students from 100-125 applicants.
If you’re a hygienist who holds an associate’s degree, then this two-year program will upgrade you to a bachelor’s. With fully online study, it’s a good choice if you want to continue working while you study toward your qualification. You’ll have greater career and educational opportunities than peers with an associate’s degree after graduation.
Study in this program will cover a number of mandatory and elective modules. You’ll cover things like evidence-based decision making, an introduction to chemistry, human growth and development, and advanced periodontics in your first year. In the following year, you’ll look more in-depth at modules like advanced oral health and bioethics.
Overall, the course features a total of 120 credits, with 60 credits taken in each academic year. You’ll need to achieve a grade of C or higher on each DHY or BIO course in order to pass and progress to the next stage of the program.
This course will give you, as a registered dental hygienist, a means to advance your existing education and experience and gain wider employment options. Each program map is individualized, so while we can’t provide you all the modules you’ll study, you’ll get a highly-specific course.
The dental hygienist program at CCD is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offered entirely online. As a Colorado resident, you’ll pay around $6,100 for one academic year; on a per-hour basis, it’s $148.90 per credit hour as a resident of the state, or $610.90 if you’re out-of-state.
It’s worth bearing in mind that there are additional fees you’ll need to pay in this program. For example, expect to pay around $750 for books, plus two fees of $40 each for registration with regulatory bodies. This membership is encouraged so that you’re kept up to date on new policies and news relating to your field.
Anyone with an accredited degree in dental hygiene and who has a current license to practice as a dental hygienist in the U.S. can apply for this bachelor’s. It’s delivered fully online, except for a mandatory internship; however, the internship can be completed in a local community for convenience.
As part of this program, you’ll have to complete eight required courses that include classes like Current Concepts in Dental Hygiene, Special Populations, Supportive Periodontal Therapy, Foundations of Research, Leadership and Management in Healthcare, and Healthcare Education, plus an internship. You’ll also take two electives from a choice of five.
The core curriculum is 60 hours, in addition to 60 credit hours of dental hygienist courses. For admission into the program, you’ll need to provide your current BLS card, your current RDH license, and a copy of your driver’s license. Applications must be submitted by May 1.
What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?
Dental hygienists are trained to use a variety of tools to carry out routine, minor procedures on the teeth. They may remove stains and plaque, carry out ultrasounds, or perform polishing on the teeth. The role requires extensive training, as well as knowledge of other areas like radiography. They may also advise patients on how to better care for their teeth and gums, such as improving diet and nutrition or brushing more effectively.
Dental hygienists work closely with dentists, providing information about patients’ oral health. They may also use fluoride treatments, apply sealants, or perform thorough flossing. If there are suspected issues with bone or gum health, they may also perform x-rays or take molds of teeth to support diagnosis and care recommendations.
What Are the Licensing Requirements for Dental Hygienists?
Getting a college education is just one step toward becoming a qualified dental hygienist; there are licensing requirements, too. Each state mandates these requirements, and they vary from one state to another. In most cases, these requirements can be satisfied by providing evidence of the following:
- Completion of a regional or state-level clinical board examination
- A diploma from a Certified Dental Assistant-accredited program
- Successful completion of the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination – this is one of the most critical requirements for licensure and takes the form of a lengthy written examination
- Evidence of having successfully passed current CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) training.
To maintain licensure on an ongoing basis, you will need to regularly complete continuing professional education and development requirements. These will be set by your state’s Board of Dental Examiners.
How Do I Become a Dental Hygienist?
As a minimum requirement, dental hygienists usually need an associate’s degree in order to practice. These degrees take three years, on average, to complete, and most are commonly found in technical schools, community colleges, and universities. You’ll experience clinical-, laboratory-, and classroom-based instruction, covering topics such as medical ethics, anatomy, and periodontics. Therefore, it would benefit any high school student who wants to pursue this career to take courses in the sciences, in addition to mathematics.
Do Dental Hygienists Need a Bachelor’s Degree?
Whether or not you choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree will depend on your desired career within the field of dentistry. A dental hygienist working as a dental assistant within dental surgery does not need to study beyond an associate’s degree level. However, if you have career aspirations outside of surgery, then it’s possible that you may need to study at a higher level.
Bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene focus in greater detail on the theory and knowledge behind areas like public health and education. In most cases, they also teach research methodology and other critical skills that you’ll need if you want to work in roles within academics or public health. So, if you want to have a wider selection of career opportunities available to you beyond dental surgery, you should consider upgrading your existing associate’s degree to a bachelor’s.
What Job Growth Is Expected for Dental Hygienists?
The need for qualified dental hygienists within the U.S. is set to rise by 11% between the years 2018 and 2028 according to the BLS, as we’ve touched on at the beginning of this list. This percentage is beyond the average growth rate for all other occupations within the United States, which stands at 5% according to the same figures. However, it’s worth researching how those figures translate at a state level for the state in which you reside or want to work in after graduation.
What Are the Salary Expectations for Dental Hygienists?
Salary expectations as a dental hygienist will, again, depend on the level of education that you’ve attained, in addition to the role chosen. The following figures all come directly from the BLS.
In May 2018, the average salary for dental hygienists was $74,820. The lowest-paid 10% of earners in this field earned below $51,930, while the highest-paid 10% earned over $101,820. Those employed in dentist offices earned the highest, with those working in physician offices earning slightly less. The lowest salaries were recorded in government service, with an average salary of around $60,000.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out the 30 Easiest Accredited Online College Programs for Undergrads and the 30 Top Fastest Accredited Online Graduate Colleges!