Common dental school programs include those for dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental educators, dentists and dental surgeons. Dental assisting programs are usually offered at the diploma or certificate level, while dental hygiene programs may be found at the certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree levels. Dental educators usually possess bachelor's or master's degrees, while dentists and dental surgeons need doctoral degrees.
Many of these clinical positions also require state licensure or certification, so programs are usually geared toward meeting such requirements. In addition to getting hands-on training at the school, students often get practical experience in their chosen dental occupation through an externship, internship or clinical rotations.
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill is among the oldest public universities in the country and is one of 16 institutions that comprise the University of North Carolina school system. The university's School of Dentistry offers a comprehensive range of certificate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees through its ten academic departments.
The school offers both a 1-year certificate program and a 4-year bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene. Students take courses in basic nutrition, anatomy, dental hygiene theory, dental pharmacology, dental ethics and clinical dental hygiene. The bachelor's program includes additional courses in periodontics, pediatric dentistry, geriatric dentistry, hospital dentistry and community dental health.
There are two master's programs available in pediatric dentistry and dental hygiene education. Pediatric dentistry students complete courses in pediatric treatment and diagnosis, restorative dentistry, behavior management and pediatric dental emergencies, as well as complete a clinical experience. Dental hygiene education students take courses in educational concepts, research methods, educational seminars and biostatistics, and they complete a teaching internship.
The 4-year Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program consists of two years of comprehensive medical education and two years of extensive clinical experience. Graduates of the DDS program are eligible to take state and national licensing board exams to practice as a dentist.
Fayetteville Technical Community College
This community college is located 60 miles southwest of Raleigh in Fayetteville, NC. It offers two dental programs, including a dental assistant diploma and a dental hygienist associate's degree.
This 47-credit dental assisting diploma program qualifies students for dental assistant certification. It includes clinical practice and courses in such subjects as human biology, dental materials, hazard control, dental radiography and psychology.
The 5-semester dental hygiene associate's degree program prepares students for licensure and teaches them to clean teeth, take x-rays and take patient health histories. Courses include oral pathology, orofacial anatomy, dental hygiene theory and dental health. Students engage in classroom training and a clinical experience.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School||School Type & Setting||Program Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill||4-year, public; small city|| Certificate in Dental Hygiene
BS in Dental Hygiene
MS in Pediatric Dentistry
MS in Dental Hygiene Education
Doctor of Dental Surgery
|$8,591 (in-state), $33,673 (out-of-state)*|
|Fayetteville Technical Community College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Diploma in Dental Assisting
AAS in Dental Hygiene
|$2,394 (in-state), $8,538 (out-of-state)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator