2018 Best Online Colleges for Dental Hygiene Degrees
Online dental hygiene degrees are available at both the bachelor's and the master's levels. Our list of top online dental hygiene programs highlights the schools that provide both academic rigor and affordable tuitions. After earning an online degree, dental hygienists can work in a variety of locations where dental care is provided, such as dental clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Prospective dental hygienists should make sure to attend an accredited school. This will help to ensure that their programs meet national education standards. Additionally, dental hygienists need to be licensed in order to work.
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Dental Hygiene Degrees (23)
2018 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Dental Hygiene Degrees
This list highlights 20 schools that offer online dental hygiene bachelor's degrees for the best value. Ohio State University-Main Campus is ranked #1 due to its low annual tuition of $9,917 and its academic strength score of 79%. Eastern Washington University offers an online dental hygiene bachelor's program for only $8,420 a year. Most notably, all of the colleges on this list are regionally accredited non-profit institutions.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Academic Strength|
|#1 Ohio State University-Main Campus||Annual Tuition $9,917||Academic Strength 79%|
|#2 Wichita State University||Annual Tuition $10,253||Academic Strength 67%|
|#3 Eastern Washington University||Annual Tuition $8,420||Academic Strength 60%|
|#4 University of New Mexico||Annual Tuition $10,896||Academic Strength 68%|
|#5 University of South Dakota||Annual Tuition $10,050||Academic Strength 64%|
|#6 Southern Illinois University - Carbondale||Annual Tuition $11,220||Academic Strength 67%|
|#7 Old Dominion University||Annual Tuition $11,070||Academic Strength 64%|
|#8 University of Louisiana-Monroe||Annual Tuition $12,000||Academic Strength 66%|
|#9 Oregon Institute of Technology||Annual Tuition $12,970||Academic Strength 64%|
|#10 Missouri Southern State University||Annual Tuition $13,228||Academic Strength 64%|
|#11 Ferris State University||Annual Tuition $12,480||Academic Strength 61%|
|#12 East Tennessee State University||Annual Tuition $14,130||Academic Strength 62%|
|#13 Minnesota State University at Mankato||Annual Tuition $16,317||Academic Strength 64%|
|#14 Western Kentucky University||Annual Tuition $16,890||Academic Strength 63%|
|#15 University of Bridgeport||Annual Tuition $16,585||Academic Strength 57%|
|#16 Texas Woman's University||Annual Tuition $18,886||Academic Strength 58%|
|#17 Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences||Annual Tuition $22,010||Academic Strength 66%|
|#18 University of Missouri-Kansas City||Annual Tuition $27,120||Academic Strength 76%|
|#19 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||Annual Tuition $35,406||Academic Strength 87%|
|#20 Mount Ida College||Annual Tuition $35,150||Academic Strength 56%|
Online Dental Hygiene Degree Overview & Career Information
Online dental hygienist programs are available in the form of bachelor's degrees and master's degrees. Bachelor's degrees are typically aimed at those who have earned an associate degree in dental hygiene and who want to gain more skills to advance their career. Master's degrees are available for those who already work in the field and who want to go into education or other leadership roles. There are also master's programs in dental hygiene for those who have a bachelor's in another healthcare or related field but who have no dental hygiene training and who want to start their dental hygiene career.
Online bachelor's degrees in dental hygiene are typically available to those who have already completed an associate degree in dental hygiene and who want to gain more experience and possibly move up into more advanced positions within the field, such as management roles.
A dental hygiene bachelor's program can be found at colleges and universities and typically takes two years to complete, as students begin the program with an associate degree already completed. Admission to a dental hygiene bachelor's program will require an associate degree in dental hygiene and a dental hygienist's license. Tuition will run anywhere from under $11,000 a year to over $22,000 a year.
Classes that students enrolled in one of these programs will take include Contemporary Issues in Dental Hygiene, Community Health and Epidemiology, Dental Hygiene Educational Concepts, Pain Management, Community and Rural Dental Health, and Geriatric Dental Hygiene. Upon completing one of these programs, graduates will be able to work in a variety of locations like hospitals, nursing homes, and dental clinics, as well as in dental hygiene education, and they will be prepared to take on additional responsibilities in their jobs.
Online master's degree programs in dental hygiene are offered by 9 accredited universities.
Prospective online students seeking a master's of science in dental hygiene should be prepared to devote two years to their studies. Admission to one of these programs will typically require that the applicant have a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene or a related field. Some programs allow students who have a bachelor's degree in another field but who have also received accredited dental hygiene training to apply.
Courses that students will take may include Global Healthcare, Clinical and Didactic Educational Concepts, Oral Health Sciences, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and Foundation and Oral Health Services. Student teaching, a practicum, and/or thesis will also likely be required. Upon completing one of these programs, graduates will be prepared to go into education as well as leadership positions. Tuition will vary based on program and may run anywhere from around $13,000 a year to close to $30,000 a year.
Licensing for Dental Hygienists
While requirements vary, all dental hygienists need to be licensed in order to work. The first requirement that all states share is that aspiring dental hygienists must earn their training through an accredited dental hygiene program. They will also need to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and their state's specific board examination. Other potential requirements may include CPR certification, letters of recommendation, and a background check.
The Importance of an Accreditated Online Dental Hygiene Degree
One thing that students should keep in mind when choosing a program is whether or not the school is accredited. There are regional, national, and programmatic accreditation. Regional accreditation is given to non-profit, degree-granting schools by an independent, regionally-based agency that has evaluated the school to make sure it meets certain educational standards. Regional accreditation is important for a variety of reasons, including the ease of transferring credits between institutions, the ability to use federal financial aid, and the assurance that future employers will recognize the diploma as valid. National accreditation is typically granted to non-degree granting institutions such as technical schools. Programmatic accreditation is when an organization that specializes in a certain field accredits programs within that field, such as the Commission on Dental Accreditation, which accredits dental training programs.
- Curriculum. East Tennessee State University. Accessed March 8, 2018. https://www.etsu.edu/crhs/alliedhealth/bsdh/curriculum/default.php.
- Dental Hygiene B.A.S. Degree. St. Petersburg College. Accessed March 8, 2018. https://www.spcollege.edu/dental-bas/#tab=3.
- Dental Hygiene Master of Science Online. University of Michigan. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.dent.umich.edu/about-school/department/pom/dental-hygiene/dental-hygiene-masters-degree-online.
- Dental Hygiene Tuition and Fees. University of Michigan. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.dent.umich.edu/about-school/department/pom/dental-hygiene/dental-hygiene-costs-aid-tuition-fees.
- Licensure. ADHA. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.adha.org/licensure.
- M.S. Degree in Dental Hygiene Program Details. University of Bridgeport. AAccessed March 8, 2018. http://www.bridgeport.edu/academics/graduate/dental-hygiene-ms/.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook - Dental Hygienists. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States of America. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm#tab-4.
- Regionally Accredited vs. Nationally Accredited: What's the Difference?. American Intercontinental University. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.aiuniv.edu/blog/june-2015/regionally-accredited-vs-nationally-accredited.
- Tuition and Fees - Graduate School of Health Sciences. University of Bridgeport. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.bridgeport.edu/finaid/tuition-and-fees/tuition-and-fees-main-page/tuition-and-fees-health-sciences/.