8 Best Dental Hygienist Schools in Pennsylvania

Have you been searching for dental hygiene programs to enroll in? We have streamlined your search to only the best dental hygienist schools in Pennsylvania to give you a leg up on your application process.

As one of the most rewarding professions in oral health, dental Hygiene has pulled quite a number of attention in recent years.

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. About 15,600 openings for dental hygienists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

If you are yet to understand the role of a dental hygienist, you need to take your mind farther away from the job of dentists because dental hygiene is quite distinct, and can stand on its own.

Dental hygienists are in charge of providing preventative oral care by cleaning patients’ teeth, taking x-rays, educating patients, preparing them for a diagnosis by the dentist, and more.

In order to become a registered dental hygienist in Pennsylvania, one will need to pass the board and licensing examinations. This is where dental hygienist schools come in. At the successful completion of a dental hygiene program in an accredited institution, students are prepared to apply their knowledge of scientific concepts to assess patient needs, recognize problems, establish oral health goals, provide the appropriate dental healthcare services, and evaluate results.

There are many dental hygienist schools and also medical schools in Pennsylvania that can play this role. Most of these schools offer 2-year associate’s degrees in dental hygiene, and the others offer 4-year bachelor’s degrees in this field.

As a state that is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the country, Pennsylvania has been a great choice for both resident and international students alike. However, there are other wonderful options out there if you are looking to expand your choice.

Michigan is renowned to have the best schools in the country as well, and if you are looking out for the best with little or no regard to location, you can also apply to the dental hygienist schools there. Massachusetts is another state you might want to consider for dental hygiene programs.

Requirements for Dental Hygienist Schools in Pennsylvania

To apply for a dental hygiene program in a 2- or 4-year college in Pennsylvania, you will be required to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. You may also need to have a minimum high school grade point average.

Below are some of the application documents that you may be required to submit:

Some dental schools are a bit easier than others. Here is an article that lists the easiest schools to get into.

The Average cost of Dental Hygienist Schools in Pennsylvania

According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, below are the average estimated total cost (In-State/District) of tuition and fees:

  • Associate degree (two years): $22,692 in public institutions and about $42,290 in private institutions.
  • Baccalaureate degree (four years): $36,382 in public institutions and about $77,350 in private institutions.
  • Master’s degree (one to two years): $30,421 in public institutions and about $71,020 in private institutions.

Best Dental Hygienist Programs in Pennsylvania

  • Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene at the University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
  • A certificate in dental hygiene at the University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
  • Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene at Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell
  • Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem
  • Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport
  • Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport
  • Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene at Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia
  • Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene at Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke
  • Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene at Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood

How to Become a Licensed Dental Hygienist in Pennsylvania

In order to become a licensed dental hygienist in Pennsylvania, one must complete the following steps to qualify for licensure:

  • Graduate from a CODA-Accredited Dental Hygiene Program
  • Pass the National Board Written Examination
  • Pass a Regional Clinical Examination
  • Apply for a Dental Hygienist License in Pennsylvania
  • Apply for a Dental Hygiene Local Anesthesia Permit
  • Apply for Certification as a Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner
  • Maintain your Dental Hygienist License

dental hygienist schools in Pennsylvania

 8 Best Dental Hygienist Schools in Pennsylvania

Based on our findings, and in no particular order, below are some of the best dental hygienist schools in Pennsylvania. You can go through them carefully to see which of the school offers programs that meet your demand.

  1. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
  2. Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell
  3. Northampton Community College, Bethlehem
  4. Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport
  5. Harrisburg Area Community College, Harrisburg
  6. Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia
  7. Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke
  8. Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood

1. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus is a public university based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The University offers a certificate program and a bachelor’s program in dental hygiene at its campus in Pittsburgh.

The certificate program’s core curriculum features dental anatomy, radiology, and healthcare ethics courses, as well as additional classes that cover basic sciences such as biology and chemistry, along with nutrition, pharmacology, and public health dentistry.

The bachelor’s degree program in Dental Hygiene is jointly offered by the College of General Studies and School of Dental Medicine. This path includes general education in the basic sciences and liberal arts on top of core dental hygiene requirements.

A bachelor’s degree program in Dental Hygiene will prepare students to expand their career opportunities to other areas, such as education, sales, and research.

The University of Pittsburgh has over 4,019 bachelor’s degree candidates, with a competitive acceptance rate of 59%.

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2. Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell

Montgomery County Community College is a public university based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. The college offers a two-year associate degree in dental hygiene which requires 70 semester hours to complete.

The curriculum includes courses in human anatomy and physiology, oral tissue histology and pathology, dental hygiene theory and practice, dental anatomy, and dental radiology.

During this program, students will receive clinical education in the school’s dental hygiene facility on campus.

3. Northampton County Area Community College

Northampton County Area Community College is a public university based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The college offers a two-year associate degree program in dental hygiene that requires 72 credits to complete.

During the program, students earn undertake rigorous clinical training and cover courses in preventive oral health, oral histology, community dental health, and microbiology.

4. Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport

Pennsylvania College of Technology is a public university based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  The college offers a two-year Associate in Applied Science degree in dental hygiene, a four-year Bachelor’s Degree in dental hygiene, and Continuing Programs in Dental Hygiene.

The bachelor’s degree option is available both on campus and online and requires an additional 38 credits units to what is already required of the associate degree.

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5. Harrisburg Area Community College, Harrisburg

Harrisburg Area Community College is a public university based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The dental hygiene program at this college is a two-year associate of applied science degree that requires the completion of 83 credits for graduation.

From their first year of training, students engage in clinical education and seeing patients. Courses required for the dental hygiene major include pharmacology, periodontics, dental materials, pain control, and medical/dental emergencies.

6. Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia

Community College of Philadelphia is a public university based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As one of the best dental hygienist schools in Pennsylvania, The Community College of Philadelphia is committed to providing students with the required skillsets to become professional dental hygienists. 

Students will be prepared for work in clinical, educational, and oral health settings through rigorous theoretical and hands-on clinical training on campus

At the end of the 83-credit course year, students will be awarded an associate of applied science degree in dental hygiene with which they can qualify to take regional and national exams to obtain their license.

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7. Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke

Luzerne County Community College is a public university based in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. The college offers a two-year associate of applied science degree in dental hygiene that requires 79 credit hours to complete.

The 6-semester program is designed to equip students with relevant skills and necessary qualifications to obtain a license to practice dental hygiene in Pennsylvania.

The college also provides continuing education courses for dental hygienists on topics like coronal polishing and local anesthesia.

8. Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood

Westmoreland County Community College is a public university based in Youngwood, Pennsylvania. The college is one of the best dental hygienist schools in Pennsylvania and offers a two-year associate of applied science degree in dental hygiene.

During the five-semester program, students will undertake clinical education that requires 78 credits units to complete. Topics covered include nutritional biochemistry, histology, embryology, and oral pathology.

Conclusion

Although choosing a dental hygiene program in Pennysylvania is not as daunting as it sounds, it is highly recommended that you do a little introspection before you can move on with the application process. Find out the things you look forward to achieving from your study; analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the programs available; check the formats of the programs, i.e, online or on campus; and determine how much time you can dedicate to studying, as this will help you decide whether you need a full-time or part-time program.

Most importantly, find out if the program of your choice is accredited and recognized by the Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry and the National Dental Hygiene Board, which is a requirement for obtaining the licensure you need to work as a dental hygienist in the state.

Dental Hygienist Schools in Pennsylvania – FAQs

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

It all depends on the type of program. A bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene can take up to 4 years to complete, whereas an associate degree will take approximately 2 years.

What is the salary of a dental hygienist in Pennsylvania?

The average salary of a dental hygienist in Pennsylvania is $78154 in 2022.

How many dental hygienist schools are in Pennsylvania?

There are currently over 20 dental hygienist schools in Pennsylvania.

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