How do I Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Programs?

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  • Written By: Nychole Price
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2018
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In order to become a dental hygienist, you are required to complete a rigid dental hygienist program. This program takes an average of two years to complete with the end result being an associate's degree. There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing among the various dental hygienist programs. Dental hygienist programs are offered at community colleges, state universities and private colleges.

Community colleges are among the most popular of the dental hygienist schools, due to their low cost. Entry into these dental hygienist programs requires the completion of several prerequisite courses that may take six months or longer to complete. These prerequisite classes vary from college to college. The biggest advantage to taking dental hygiene courses at the community college level involve the various financial aid programs available by the federal government and the state. One disadvantage to applying for the hygiene program at the community college is the overwhelming number of applicants, which often causes long waiting periods.

Some people prefer to complete the dental hygiene program at a state university because there is not as long of a waiting period, due to fewer applicants. Many of the universities also offer a bachelor's degree program, which is beneficial if you are interested in further advancing your career. Although an applicant is often able to get in to the program faster, he or she may be required to take more prerequisite courses and the cost is substantially higher.


Private colleges are most popular among people who work, or have a strong desire to get into the program quickly. Many private colleges offer evening and weekend programs, making their programs ideal for people who must work while completing the dental hygiene courses. There are also many private colleges that allow the student to take the prerequisite courses as part of the dental hygiene program. The biggest advantage to applying for the dental hygienist programs offered at private colleges is that the student is often able to start immediately. The downside is that the programs tend to be very expensive, though financial aid and loans are available to those who qualify.

All of these dental hygienist programs are considered equal when it comes to applying for a job in the dental field. Just like any other career field, it is advisable to gain as much experience as possible in order to be more competitive when it comes time to apply for a job. This can be done by working as a dental assistant or registered dental assistant.



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