Bachelor's Degrees in Dental Hygiene

Earning a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene prepares you to perform various routine dental procedures. Get information about classes offered, licensure requirements and employment outlook. Schools offering Dental Hygiene degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Can I Get a Bachelor's Degree in Dental Hygiene Online?

If you are just starting out and want a career in dental hygiene, you need to find a campus-based program where you can complete the required hands-on clinical coursework. However, if you are already working as a dental hygienist and you want to complete your education and get a bachelor's degree, there are programs available where you can complete the requirements online.

Degree Options Programs are typically campus-based, but online degree-completion programs are available
Common Courses Oral anatomy, dental emergencies, periodontics, radiology, nutrition
Licensure All dental hygienists must be licensed; most states require passing the ADA written exam and clinical exam
Mean Annual Wage (2018)* $74,820 (for dental hygienists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 20% (for dental hygienists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Classes Will I Take?

In order to become a dental hygienist, you need to learn specific dental procedures, as well as take classes in subjects related to oral health. Classes may include:

  • Oral anatomy
  • Radiology
  • Periodontics
  • Nutrition
  • Dental emergencies
  • Pain control

If you are already working as a dental hygienist and enroll in a degree-completion program, you usually take classes in general education, such as English and math, as well as study advanced clinical concepts in oral hygiene. Coursework in a degree-completion program can include statistics and healthcare delivery.

Will I Need a License?

All dental hygienists must obtain a state license and most states require that you attend a school that has been accredited. Most states require that you pass the American Dental Association's (ADA) written exam and a clinical exam following completion of an education program in order to qualify for licensing (www.ada.org). The ADA's written exam covers three main topic areas: the scientific basis of dental hygiene practices, dental hygiene services and community health. The exam is computer-based and is administered at proctored locations throughout the country.

What Is the Career Outlook for Dental Hygienists?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary of dental hygienists was $74,820 in 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicted that the employment of hygienists would grow by 20% between 2016 and 2026. This high rate of growth would be due in part to an increase in the need for preventive dental care as the overall population ages. Also, more dentists were expected to hire hygienists to take care of routine office visits so they could concentrate on other areas of their practice.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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