Where Can I Find Dental Hygiene Programs in Tennessee?

Find out which Tennessee schools offer dental hygiene programs. See requirements, prerequisites and school information, and learn about admissions and tuition for a dental hygiene education in Tennessee. Schools offering Dental Hygiene degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Tennessee schools offer dental hygiene degree programs that prepare you for licensing through dental coursework and offer degree completion core academic courses concurrently. Dental hygiene coursework may include topics such as anesthesia and pain control, neck and head anatomy and radiology interpretation along with fundamentals of dental hygiene. Clinical rotations will be required as part of your program to give you a real-world experience similar to what you will see on-the-job.

What You Need to Know

Dental hygiene programs in Tennessee are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. The 2-year associate's degree program requires a high school diploma or GED; you may also need to complete prerequisite coursework to apply. Students receive classroom instruction, lab training and clinical rotation assignments. Admission may be highly competitive. Graduates are qualified to sit for licensure exams.

Bachelor's degree programs in dental hygiene are 4-year or 2+2 programs; you'll need either a high school diploma or GED for the full 4-year program or an associate's degree in dental hygiene for the 2+2 option. You'll also participate in classroom, lab and clinical training. These programs also prepare graduates for licensing exams.

Master's degree study is intended for licensed dental hygienists with a bachelor's degree who are interested in teaching carers. This is an online program with a limited residency requirement. Distance learners can complete the practicum component locally. Students who are local to the school and can take classes on campus can apply for a graduate assistantship. Keep reading to see if any of these programs are a good fit for you.

Dental Hygienist Associate's Degree Programs in Tennessee

Chattanooga State Community College

Chattanooga State Community College is located in a midsize city. Admission to the dental hygienist associate's degree program is highly competitive. If you've completed all prerequisites and general education courses ahead of time, you may receive preferential treatment in the program admission process.

Your program curriculum will include such subjects as human anatomy and physiology, pain management, microbiology, dental hygiene theory, sociology and psychology. You'll also complete a number of practical clinical sessions with lab manikins or human clients. Graduation makes you eligible to sit for state and national licensure examinations.

  • Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: Two years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $3,973 per year for state residents; $15,373 per year for nonresidents (costs as of 2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent; must complete one high school chemistry course or college-level introduction to chemistry with a grade of B or better.
  • Requirements: Must sit for Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS); can complete general education and prerequisite courses prior to acceptance; attendance at a dental hygiene information session is highly recommended
  • School Type: 2-year, public; approximately 9,300 students (all undergraduate)

Tennessee State University

The 2-year program at Tennessee State University (TSU) leads to an Associate of Applied Science. You must attend a mandatory summer session between the two academic years. In addition to general education courses, instruction in dental hygiene includes classroom, laboratory and external clinical rotation sections.

  • Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: Two years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $7,112 per year for state residents; $19,832 per year for nonresidents (costs as of 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: High school diploma or GED; 2.50 minimum high school GPA; one year each of high school biology, chemistry and algebra; letter of recommendation from high school science teacher; one character reference letter of recommendation; ACT/SAT scores
  • School Type: 4-year, public; approximately 7,100 undergraduates, about 2,000 graduates

Dental Hygienist Bachelor's Degree Programs in Tennessee

University of Tennessee - Health Sciences Center

With a population of nearly 700,000, Memphis, which is the county seat of Shelby County, is home to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). The UTHSC offers the only Bachelor of Science program in West Tennessee. The committee for admissions recommends that you have at least some observational experience in dentistry, and you may be required to sit for a personal interview.

In a 2 plus 2 program, you complete prerequisite courses the first half, followed by admission to the dental hygiene curriculum. The last two years cover such topics as head and neck anatomy, oral disease prevention and community dental health. The summer between your junior and senior years involves a transitional clinical session and instruction in anxiety and pain control. Upon graduation, you're eligible to sit for the state, regional and national licensure examinations.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: Four years (2 plus 2 program)
  • Tuition: $8,289 per year for state residents; $23,064 per year for nonresidents (costs as of 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: High school diploma or GED; must complete 58 credit hours of pre-professional college-level courses prior to program enrollment
  • School Type: 4-year, public

Tennessee State University

TSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene as a degree-completion program. A number of the advanced dental hygiene courses in the program require that you hold national and/or state licensure. Upon graduation, you're eligible to practice as a clinical dental hygienist or teach dental hygiene.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: Two years (degree-completion program)
  • Tuition and Fees: $7,112 per year for state residents; $19,832 per year for nonresidents (costs as of 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: Must hold a dental hygiene A.A.S. and be a registered dental hygienist; two letters of recommendation from dental hygiene faculty; minimum 2.0 GPA in dental hygiene courses
  • School Type: 4-year, public; approximately 7,100 undergraduates, about 2,000 graduates

East Tennessee State University

Through its Department of Allied Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. The facilities include X-ray machines, a processing dark room and a 22-unit clinic, among others. In addition to general education courses, a summer semester between your junior and senior years is included.

Through the program, you'll study neck and head anatomy, anesthesia and pain control, radiology interpretation and complete clinical rounds. If you hold an associate's degree in dental hygiene, you may opt to earn a bachelor's degree by way of the ETSU online degree-completion program.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: Four years or 2-year degree-completion program
  • Tuition and Fees: $8,153 per year for state residents; $24,977 per year for nonresidents (costs as of 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: Must have graduated from high school; for completion program, need to have associate's degree in dental hygiene
  • School Type: 4-year, public; approximately 11,600 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate students

Dental Hygienist Master's Degree Program in Tennessee

University of Tennessee

UTHSC offers a program leading to a Master of Dental Hygiene, which is intended for dental hygienists who want to teach. Conducted primarily online, you're required to attend a 1-week orientation session during the summer prior to your first semester. Subsequently, you must attend a 1-week advanced workshop each summer if you're a continuing education student.

With the approval of the faculty, you may complete your required internship and practicum sessions at a facility near your residence or where you work. If you elect to pursue the degree on a full-time basis as an on-campus student, you may be eligible for a graduate assistantship.

  • Program Name: Master of Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: Need to complete within five years (33 credit hours)
  • Tuition: $12,205 per year for state residents; $27,578 per year for nonresidents (costs as of 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: Must have graduated from an ADA-accredited dental hygiene program; need a baccalaureate degree; 3.0 cumulative GPA in dental hygiene coursework; must hold a valid license to practice dental hygiene in at least one state
  • School Type: 4-year, public

Dental Hygiene programs are offered at undergraduate and graduate degree levels in Tennessee. Master's and bachelor's degree programs are offered through the University of Tennessee - Health Science Center; East Tennessee State University offers a bachelor's program; Tennessee State University offers bachelor's and associate's options; and Chattanooga State Community College offers an associate's degree for dental hygiene students.

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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