25 Best Dental Hygiene Schools 2020
Students looking to earn a bachelor's in dental hygiene will find the 25 best options on this list. These schools had the highest median salaries for alumni one year after graduation. The top-ranked school is Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. University of Southern California, located in Los Angeles, is not far behind. All schools on this list had dental hygiene graduates with median annual incomes above $55,000.
Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Median Debt||Median Salary|
|#1||Forest Grove (OR)||$44,298||$24,376||$69,900|
|#2||Los Angeles (CA)||$56,225||$27,750||$69,400|
|#4||Multiple Locations||$26,635 - $34,835||$33,207||$68,200|
|#7||Klamath Falls (OR)||$28,668||$20,439||$62,300|
|#11||Loma Linda (CA)||$29,372||$20,462||$59,600|
|#14||New Orleans (LA)||$25,361||$15,000||$59,000|
|#18||Kansas City (MO)||$20,207||$20,000||$57,600|
|#19||Wichita Falls (TX)||$11,183||$23,909||$57,300|
|#21||San Antonio (TX)||$12,719||$18,508||$56,400|
|#24||West Haven (CT)||$39,270||$23,281||$55,400|
2020 Best Colleges Highlights
Learn more about the top colleges for a Bachelor's in Dental Hygiene degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.
Established in 1849, Pacific University is a liberal arts school located in Forest Grove, Oregon. A two-year Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene (BSDH) program is offered for students who have already completed their prerequisite coursework; it is only offered as a full-time course option. Students study in state-of-the-art classrooms and gain experience in clinical facilities. The program also includes work in a 16-chair dental hygiene clinic with a focus on patients who have limited access to dental care. Students also gain experience working in a community hospital, clinics, and a long-term care facility.
Courses include dental radiology, Spanish for dental professions, periodontics, cariology, oral medicine, pain management, dental hygiene care for diverse populations, and restorative dental procedures. The dental hygiene program accepts 32 students per year. A total of 82.5 credits are required at PU to complete the program; combined with 48 credits of prerequisite coursework, totaling 130.5 credits earned for the degree.
Located in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is the oldest private research institution in California. The Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene provides coursework in the basic sciences as well as ethics, values, and skills necessary for a dental hygienist. USC students learn to evaluate patients’ medical and dental histories in order to provide the best care possible, and they are also trained in disease prevention and nutrition.
The program is spread over five trimesters and requires 88 units to complete. Courses include oral biochemistry, oral radiology, periodontal diseases, head and neck anatomy, infection control, pain and anxiety control, principles of pharmacology, and geriatric and special patient care. Approximately 35–40 applicants are admitted to the program each year. Previous coursework is transferable; there is no time limit for completion, but it is recommended that it be no more than five years before applying for the degree. Throughout the program, students work in the university’s faculty-supervised clinic, and they also gain experience by offering free service programs at health fairs and other community events.
Established in 1807, the University of Maryland — Baltimore was the founding campus of the University System of Maryland and has one of the oldest schools of dentistry in the nation. The Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene at UM is one of five dental hygiene programs offered at the university. It is a 2+2 program, meaning applicants must have already completed 57 credits of prerequisite coursework within five years of applying to the program.
The program can be completed in two years. A total of 122 credits are required for the degree; the remaining 65 are completed at UM. Core coursework includes dental anesthesia and sedation, general pharmacology, methods and materials, head and neck anatomy, microbiology, oral pathology, oral radiology, periodontics, and advanced clinical practice. Students get hands-on experience at various sites that are affiliated with the university. The curriculum includes a blend of online classes, structured classroom instruction, live clinics, and live lab sessions.
Established in 1909 in Los Angeles, West Coast University now has three campuses in California as well as locations in Texas and Florida. WCU’s Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene combines classroom instruction, clinical education, and community service so that students receive both structured classroom education and hands-on experience working in real-world settings. After several months of class instruction and working with simulations, students work at WCU’s Dental Hygiene Clinic under the supervision of dental hygienists and dentists to provide care for both adults and children. They gain experience in medical and dental history evaluation, oral inspection, nutrition counseling, X-rays, fluoride treatment, periodontal screening and therapy, and many other areas.
Most classes are held on campus, but some general education and prerequisite classes are available online. The program is available at the WCU’s Orange County campus. A total of 124 credits are needed to complete the degree, and it is spread over seven semesters/140 instructional weeks. The program can be completed in as little as 34 months.
Established in 1971, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is a public medical institution located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; it is the health sciences branch of the University of Oklahoma. The university’s College of Dentistry offers eight programs in dentistry, including a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene. The program requires 60 credits of prerequisite coursework and two years of study at UOHSC. Potential students can check the university’s website to see if their previous credits will transfer. The degree program is available at the Oklahoma City location as well as three other Oklahoma locations — Bartlesville, Ardmore, and Weatherford — via distance learning.
Courses in the four-semester program include, among other subjects, head and neck anatomy, dental morphology, oral diagnosis, oral radiography, preventative dentistry, periodontics, pharmacology, and pediatric and geriatric dentistry. The last semester includes a clinical rotation and a senior capstone seminar. Graduates are eligible to take examinations that lead to licensure as dental hygienists.