Pennsylvania-based students may choose to earn an education in dental hygiene resulting in an associate's degree; a certificate programs and a bachelor's degree in the field are also offered. Degree programs include general education requirements in addition to classroom instruction and lab training in dental hygiene; clinical experiences are common in most programs. Minimum grades in major classes may apply.
Community College of Philadelphia
The Community College of Philadelphia offers an associate degree program in dental hygiene at its Philadelphia campus. This program lasts two years and provides students with the skills they need to work with patients in clinical and educational oral health settings. Students learn about assessing patient needs, performing procedures and using dental equipment. Hands-on clinical training is required and can be completed on campus. Graduates are prepared to take both regional and national exams to obtain licensure and become professional dental hygienists. Students must earn 83 credits to obtain this degree.
Harcum College in Bryn Mawr has a dental hygiene program that requires the completion of 85 credits. Attendance during the summer sessions is mandatory, and students can complete the six-semester program in two years. Students must receive a minimum grade of C in every dental hygiene and science course. Classes in the program include topics in dental radiology, dental anatomy, periodontics and pharmacology.
Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg
At the main campus in Harrisburg, this community college offers a dental hygienist associate degree program that requires completion of 83 credits for graduation. Students start their clinical education and see patients during their first year of training. The rotations they attend during their second year include one site that treats adults and a second site that treats children. Courses required for the dental hygiene major include pharmacology, periodontics, dental materials, pain control and medical/dental emergencies.
Luzerne County Community College
Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke offers an associate degree program that trains dental hygienists through classroom, laboratory and clinical training. This is a 79-credit program that prepares students for the exams required to obtain a license to practice dental hygiene in Pennsylvania. Students can graduate from this 6-semester program in only two years by attending classes during the summer. This school also provides continuing education courses for dental hygienists on topics like coronal polishing and local anesthesia.
Jenkintown-based Manor College provides a dental hygiene program that requires students to maintain at least a C average in order to continue to each subsequent level. The curriculum covers topics such as nutrition, oral communication, dental anatomy, community dentistry and medical sociology. Graduates who want to expand their skills and learn to install dental fillings can enroll in the college's EFDA (expanded functions dental assisting) program. Continuing education courses are available at this school as well.
Montgomery County Community College
The dental hygiene associate degree program at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell requires 70 semester hours for program completion. Students receive their clinical education in the school's dental hygiene facility on campus. The curriculum covers subjects like human anatomy and physiology, oral tissue histology and pathology, dental hygiene theory and practice, dental anatomy and dental radiology.
Northampton County Area Community College
Bethlehem's Northampton County Area Community College provides an associate degree program with dental hygienist training. Students earn 72 credits in classroom and clinical training to receive this degree. The curriculum includes courses in preventive oral health, oral histology, community dental health and microbiology.
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Located in Williamsport, the Pennsylvania College of Technology offers associate and bachelor's degree programs in dental hygiene, in addition to continuing education courses. Students in the associate degree program can earn the degree in two years by attending for five consecutive semesters. The Bachelor of Science program is a degree completion program and 38 additional credits beyond an associate degree. Admission to the dental hygiene bachelor's degree completion program requires graduation from a dental hygiene program, a passing grade on the Dental Hygiene National Board exam and a dental hygiene license.
University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus
The University of Pittsburgh offers a certificate program in dental hygiene and a dental hygiene bachelor's program at its campus in Pittsburgh. Core curriculum in the certificate program features dental anatomy, radiology and healthcare ethics courses. Additional classes cover the basic sciences, including biology and chemistry, along with nutrition, pharmacology and public health dentistry. The College of General Studies and School of Dental Medicine jointly offer the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. This program provides students with an education in the basic sciences and liberal arts on top of core dental hygiene requirements. This program prepares students to expand their career opportunities to other areas, such as education, sales and research.
Westmoreland County Community College
Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood has an associate degree program in dental hygiene that requires students to complete 78 credits of coursework. Topics include nutritional biochemistry, histology, embryology and oral pathology. There are also courses on head, neck and dental anatomy. Clinical education is also required. This program can be completed in five semesters.
A license is required to work as a dental hygienist in Pennsylvania. Aspirants in the field must first complete an accredited dental hygiene program and then pass the Northeast Regional Board and National Dental Hygiene Board exams.
All of the programs in the following section are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Dental Hygiene Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Community College of Philadelphia||2-year, public; large city||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,920 in-district, $9,360 in-state, $13,800 in-state*|
|Harcum College||2-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||Associate's Degree in Dental Hygiene||$22,060*|
|Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg||2-year, public; small city||Associate in Arts in Dental Hygiene||$6,015 in-district, $7,500 in-state, $8,940 out-of-state*|
|Luzerne County Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,770 in-district, $8,700 in-state, $12,630 out-of-state*|
|Manor College||2-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene,
|Montgomery County Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,920 in-district, $9,420 in-state, $13,560 out-of-state*|
|Northampton County Area Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$3,990 in-district, $8,700 in-state, $12,840 out-of-state*|
|Pennsylvania College of Technology||4-year, public; small city|| Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene,
Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
|$15,810 in-state, $2,470 out-of-state*|
|University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus||4-year, public; large city|| Dental Hygiene Certificate,
Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
|$18,192 in-state; $28,958 out-of-state*|
|Westmoreland County Community College||2-year, public; rural fringe||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,830 in-district, $8,670 in-state, $12,330 out-of-state*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator