Dental hygienists examine and clean patients' teeth and educate them about oral health. Students in Washington can find dental hygiene programs at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Dental hygiene programs include clinical experiences in addition to classroom instruction and lab training. Individuals who opt to earn a two-year degree may have the option of transferring the credits to a baccalaureate program. Master's degrees students often complete a thesis in addition to practicum requirements.
Bellingham Technical College
Located in Bellingham, this technical college offers a dental hygiene associate's degree program. Besides academic coursework, students participate in clinical experiences at the college's on-campus clinic. Students can complete the program in seven quarters. Graduates might opt to transfer to a bachelor's program.
Those who have completed a dental hygienist program can pursue the college's dental expanded function dental auxiliary certificate program to gain additional knowledge and skills in restorative dentistry. This 18-credit program takes three quarters to complete.
Students at Clark College in Vancouver have two dental hygiene associate's degree programs to choose from. The Associate in Arts program is 184 credits and is designed for students who want to transfer their credits to a bachelor's degree program. Students enrolled in the Associate in Applied Science program are required to take 161 credits.
Courses in both programs include dental public health, restorative dentistry, oral medicine, oral radiology, pain control and oral medicine. Students gain experience at the on-campus dental hygiene clinic.
Columbia Basin College
Columbia Basin College sits in Pasco. The dental hygiene associate's degree program requires 131-136 credits and consists of general education requirements, support courses and major coursework. In addition to classes, students are required to complete six clinical dental hygiene technique courses and labs.
Eastern Washington University
Situated in Cheney, Eastern Washington University offers dental hygiene programs at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Courses in the bachelor's degree program include dental anatomy, radiography, pain control, preventive dentistry and community dental health. Students are also required to complete eight clinical dental hygiene and three restorative clinic courses.
The university also offers a bachelor's completion program for dental hygienists who already have an associate's degree. This hybrid program combines classroom instruction with online coursework.
The dental hygiene master's degree program combines academic coursework with two practicums and a thesis. Students learn about health care leadership, research and technical writing.
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
At Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland, students can earn as associate's degree in dental hygiene. The program requires 120 credits and offers students an opportunity to gain experience at the school's on-campus clinic and at off-campus locations.
Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom
Pierce College sits in Lakewood and has a bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene. Students are typically take 25-30 class hours each week. The program offers an on-campus dental hygiene clinic.
Seattle Central Community College
This Seattle-based community college awards an associate's and Bachelor of Applied Science degree in dental hygiene. About half-way through the program, students earn an associate's degree; completing all 195 credits awards the BAS degree. In addition to seven clinical requirements, students take courses in dental radiology, head and neck anatomy, emergency management, preventative dentistry, pain control and restorative practice.
Shoreline Community College
At this community college in Shoreline, students earn 182 credits to complete the school's two-year associate's degree program in dental hygiene. Students learn to perform procedures and work with patients. Course topics include systemic disease, dental radiology, pain control, medical emergencies and other topics.
University of Washington - Seattle Campus
Just northeast of downtown Seattle in the U District, the University of Washington offers master and doctoral programs for dental hygienists. These advanced programs require application to both the oral biology program the student is interested in and the Graduate School. Specific degree options include a Master of Science in Oral Biology with a required thesis, a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene with a required capstone project, a Doctor of Philosophy in Oral Biology that focuses on research, and a combined Doctor of Dental Science/Doctor of Philosophy in Oral Biology.
Yakima Valley Community College
Located in Yakima, this community college offers a Bachelor of Applied Science program in dental hygiene. Students are required to take courses and participate in clinical experiences. The program ensures students understand how to communicate with patients, promote oral health and perform dental procedures.
To work as a dental hygienist in Washington, an individual needs to graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association. Students also must pass state-approved exams, including the National Board Examination.
The programs discussed below all have CODA accreditation.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Dental Hygienist Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Bellingham Technical College||2-year, public; small city|| Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene,
Dental Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary Certificate
|$3,389 in-state, $8,728 out-of-state*|
|Clark College||4-year, public; midsize city|| Associate in Arts in Dental Hygiene,
Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
|$3,456 in-state, $8,794 out-of-state*|
|Columbia Basin College||4-year, public; midsize suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,194 in-state, $6,189 out-of-state*|
|Eastern Washington University||4-year, public; fringe town|| Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene,
Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Degree Completion Program,
Master of Science in Dental Hygiene
|Undergrad: $7,866 in-state, $22,272 out-of-state*
Graduate: $10,924 in-state, $25,398 out-of-state*
|Lake Washington Institute of Technology||4-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$3,880 in-state, $9,218 out-of-state*|
|Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom||2-year, public; small city||Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$3,643 in-state, $8,981 out-of-state*|
|Seattle Central College||4-year, public; large city|| Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
|$3,891 in-state, $9,083 out-of-state*|
|Shoreline Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Art and Science in Dental Hygiene||$3,730 in-state, $6,451 out-of-state*|
|University of Washington - Seattle||4-year, public, large city||Master of Science in Oral Biology
Master of Science in Dental Hygiene
Ph.D. in Oral Biology
DDS/Ph.D. in Oral Hygiene
|Graduate: $15,207 in-state, $27,255 out-of-state*|
|_Yakima Valley Community College||4-year, public; small city||Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,225 in-state, $4,626 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator