10 Best Dental Hygienist Schools in Illinois

Are you looking for the best school in Illinois to get a Dental Hygienist Degree? If yes, this blog post on the best Dental Hygienist schools in Illinois is the right place to get all the information you need!

Approximately one in four Illinois adults (2.48 million) has untreated tooth decay. Tooth decay and oral diseases are among the most prevalent chronic health problems in the U.S. and in Illinois. The good news is that most oral health diseases are preventable or treatable

Untreated cavities and other oral health problems are high among Illinois children — especially children living in poverty and rural areas.

Tooth decay, or cavities, is the most common dental problem among children, yet it is preventable. Tooth decay can begin as soon as a baby’s first tooth comes in.

Once tooth decay develops, it must be treated by a dental professional or it will worsen. Signs of tooth decay are white or brown spots on the teeth.

If left untreated, tooth decay can cause a variety of health problems, including:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Difficulty eating and speaking
  • Reduced self-esteem

Bad oral hygiene can also cause bad breath (Halitosis). Bad breath odor can be a temporary problem or a chronic condition. According to the American Dental Association, at least 50 percent of adults have had halitosis in their lifetime.

Bad breath can be caused majorly by bacteria, dry mouth, gum disease, food, smoking, and tobacco or medical conditions such as diabetes, liver, or kidney disease.

Bad breath can be prevented by brushing/ flossing daily, staying hydrated, denture cleaning, and regular visits to your dentist.

Regular visits to a dentist are one of the easiest ways to get rid of dental decays, that is why this article is written to provide information on Dental Hygienist schools in Illinois that one can enroll in to get a Degree to help in the maintenance of the oral health of the nation.

There are other schools in Illinois that one can enroll in such a

For students Interested in online learning, there are accredited Online High Schools In Illinois, that one can enroll in and learn online.

For students interested in medical courses, there are accelerated Nursing Programs In Illinois that one can get a degree in at a fast pace.

Since we are talking about dental hygiene in this article, we would be focusing on the dental hygienist schools in Illinois and talk about the requirements needed to get enrolled into the different schools.

Requirements for Dental Hygienist schools in Illinois

To become a dental hygienist in the state of Illinois the following s required of you

  • You must be a high school graduate or hold a GED,
  • You must have successfully completed a 2 year dental hygiene program at a CODA-approved school,
  • You must hold a current CPR certificate,
  • You have passed the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination
  • Have completed a clinical exam at any of the Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. (CRDTS), the Southern Regional Testing Agency, Inc. (SRTA), the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB), or the North East Regional Board (NERB).

The average cost of dental hygienist schools in Illinois

An associate degree in dental hygiene costs between $3700 and $41,130 and takes up to 30 months to finish, a bachelor’s degree takes about four years and costs up to $75,230.

Best dental hygienist schools in Illinois (Listing only)

There are more than ten dental hygienist schools in Illinois, but I will be listing the best amongst them below;

  • College of Lake County
  • Carl Sandburg College
  • Lewis and Clark Community College
  • Lake Land College
  • Parkland College
  • William Rainey Harper College
  • Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  • Rock Valley College
  • City Colleges of Chicago Malcolm X
  • Illinois Central College

How to become a licensed dental hygienist in Illinois

The Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS) is the state agency that sets the requirements for dental hygienists’ licensure in the state, stating that dental hygienists may not perform any procedures without first applying for and obtaining a license. The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is responsible for the issuance of licenses to qualified dental hygienists in Illinois.

To attain dental hygienist licensure in Illinois, follow the steps shown in this guide:

  • Earn a Minimum of an Associate’s Degree in Dental Hygiene
  • Pass National and Regional Examinations
  • Submit License Application to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
  • Complete Continuing Education to Retain Licensure

To get more information on becoming a licensed dental hygienist in Illinois, click here

Licensure is renewed every three years. In order to maintain licensure, you are required to complete thirty-six credits from continuing education during this three-year period.

Dental Hygienist Schools in Illinois

Dental Hygienist Schools in Illinois

There are more than ten dental hygienist schools in Illinois, I will take little time to list and explain the best ten, so sit back and read along.

  • Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  • Lakeland College
  • William Rainey Harper College
  • College of Lake County
  • Illinois Central College
  • Lewis and Clark Community College
  • Rock Valley College
  • Parkland College
  • Carl Sandburg College
  • City Colleges of Chicago Malcolm X

1.       Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

This school is home to the oldest dental hygiene school in the state of Illinois, and they offer the state’s only Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene.

Students admitted to this competitive program take classes on their award-winning campus, and current healthcare professionals have the option of earning a bachelor’s degree online.

There graduates enjoy enhanced employment options in the field of dental care and are qualified to pursue careers in research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs.

Students completing a bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene will graduate with 120 hours of academic coursework completed in four years.

Senior students gain dental hygiene teaching experience in a practicum rotation of labs and clinics. Integration of the dental hygiene professional courses over a three-year period allows the student extra supervised clinical practice prior to graduation.

The school’s Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

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2.       Lakeland College

In this school, the Associate Degree in the Dental Hygiene program is an intensive, two-year academic program that includes classroom skills, laboratory, and clinical experience in various healthcare agencies.

The student may apply to take the Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS) clinical examination and National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) for Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) in their final spring semester once approved by the Director of Dental Hygiene.

Upon successful completion of these exams, the graduate may apply for the RDH license. The student is awarded an Associate in Applied Science degree upon completion of the program; however, completion of the Dental Hygiene program does not guarantee RDH licensure.

The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) may refuse to issue a license if a candidate has a criminal history. Please consult with the director of the Dental Hygiene Program to avoid license application hindrances.

Dental Hygiene prepares the student with specialized skills necessary for employment as a dental hygienist. Emphasis is on patient treatment such as removal of calculus, stain and deposits from the teeth, prevention of oral disease, and on the hygienist’s role as a dental health educator.

The hygienist’s services are sought by dentists, schools, prisons, hospitals, departments of health, and industry. The Dental Hygiene program is fully accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.

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3.       William Rainey Harper College

Harper’s Dental Hygiene Program is a full-time, six-semester career program leading to an Associate in Applied Science degree. It is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. This is a limited enrollment program.

In fall 2021, 100% of the graduates of Harper’s Dental Hygiene Program passed both the American Dental Association’s National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the Commission on Dental Competency Assessment’s Clinical Board Examination.

The program in dental hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body of the American Dental Association and is recognized by the United States Department of Education.

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4.       College of Lake County

Dental Hygiene is an Associate in Applied Science degree program accredited by the American Dental Association.

The program is designed to prepare interested Students for career opportunities as a licensed dental hygienist, who working under the direction of a licensed dentist, assists in providing oral health assessment, disease prevention and health promotion.

The  degree requirements will include general education, dental hygiene and science courses. Dental Hygiene is a limited enrollment program.

The Dental Hygiene program has been granted accreditation status by the American Dental Association.

Dental hygienists generally work in a dentist’s office, assisting in providing oral care by cleaning teeth and examining patients for signs of gingivitis and other conditions and teaching patients about preventive care.

The dental hygienist clean teeth and examine oral areas, head and neck for signs of oral disease. They can  also educate patients about oral hygiene, take and develop radiographs or apply fluoride or sealants.

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5.       Illinois Central College

This school offers an associate in applied science degree in dental hygiene. The Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, a specialized accrediting body of the American Dental Association.

Graduates are eligible to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and a regional/state examination for registration as a Dental Hygienist in Illinois, and other states.

The dental hygienist works under the supervision of the dentist in dental offices and other health agencies by performing duties delegated by the dentist in accordance with the Illinois Dental Practice Act or other applicable state practice acts.

Duties include cleaning teeth, exposing x-rays, providing oral healthcare instructions to patients, maintaining patient records, etc. Students receive extensive clinical experiences in the Illinois Central College Dental Hygiene Clinic and selected agencies

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6.       Lewis and Clark Community College

Students in L&C’s  dental hygienist program study assessment; treatment and prevention of oral diseases; electronic dental record keeping and digital radiography; planning community-based oral health programs; advising patients on commercial products, and more.

By the second semester, students will begin seeing patients in their on-campus Paul B. Hanks Dental Clinic, which offers preventive services including exams, digital X-rays, cleanings (deep cleanings included), sealants, and fluoride. The students will also receive hands-on experiences at offsite locations.

With the school’s 5:1 student-to-teacher ratio, the students benefit through personal attention from experienced instructors.

Upon graduation, L&C Dental Hygiene graduates have a 100% employment rate. They are prepared to work in general dentistry, periodontal offices, public health clinics, pediatric offices, and hospital clinic settings. Experienced hygienists may also find employment with retail sales companies and educational institutions.

Dental Hygiene is a two-year selective admissions program. Students must have completed an ADA-CODA Dental Assisting program to apply.

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7.       Rock Valley College

The school offers an associate in applied science degree in dental hygiene. A career in dental hygiene offers opportunities in multiple settings.

Registered Dental Hygienists are part of a dental health team. Dental hygienists work in private and corporate dental offices, where they provide treatment and services that help to prevent oral disease such as dental caries and periodontal disease and educate the client about maintenance of optimal oral health.

They also work in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, schools, correctional facilities, health maintenance organizations and higher education institutions where they serve as faculty members.

Graduates are eligible to take two board exams that lead to state licensure. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) under the auspices of the American Dental Association (ADA).

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8.       Parkland College

To be prepared for a career as a Registered Dental Hygienist in the school, with hands-on training in up-to-date labs, classrooms, and clinics, you must have strong interpersonal skills, good manual dexterity, and a genuine interest in a diverse population of people.

As a dental hygienist in the school,  You’ll learn to provide such clinical services as oral examinations, oral hygiene instruction, radiographs, dental cleanings, pit and fissure sealants, teeth bleaching, infection control and sterilization, and local anesthesia and nitrous oxide sedation.

The Parkland College Dental Hygiene Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the status of Approval without Reporting Requirements. The commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education

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9.       Carl Sandburg College

Carl Sandburg College offers an Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene. Their hands-on program prepares students to become dental hygienists in two years (including one summer).

This limited enrollment program successfully prepares students to take the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination, the respective clinical dental hygiene board examination, and the examination for registration as a dental hygienist in the respective state.

The dental hygiene program has been approved by the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”. The commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Graduates from the dental hygiene program will be eligible to take the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination, the respective clinical dental hygiene board examination, and the examination for registration as a dental hygienist in the respective state.

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10.   City Colleges of Chicago Malcolm X

The school offers an associate in applied science degree in dental hygiene. The Dental Hygiene AAS degree program educates students to provide preventive oral health care services to patients.

Major responsibilities include assessing a patient’s health history, examining the teeth and oral structures, removing plaque biofilm, calculus, and stain from the teeth, taking intraoral radiographs, and educating patients in oral self-care practices.

Graduates are prepared to pass national, regional and state board licensing exams required for dental hygiene licensure.

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Dental Hygienist schools in Illinois – FAQs

How long does it take to become a dental hygienist in Illinois?

Dental hygienist programs require a minimum of two years of study but most programs in Illinois are five semesters or 2.5 years.

What is the salary of a dental hygienist in Illinois?

In 2020, the average salary for Dental Hygienists in Illinois, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $74,680, or $35.91 per hour. The average Dental Hygienist salary in Illinois is $76,640 ($36.84 per hour) as of 2021, but the range typically falls between $66,020 and $78,380

How many dental hygienist schools are in Illinois?

There are 13 colleges in Illinois with dental hygiene programs

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Jessica is a student researcher and content writer with SAN. She's enthusiastic about writing, research, and teaching people.

Aside from writing, she loves Baking, Cooking, Reading, or Watching movies.

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