2- and 4-year schools in Tennessee offer dental hygiene programs at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. These programs are designed to either allow students to immediately enter the workforce or to transfer to a higher degree program. Students have hands-on opportunities to gain experience by working on and off campus, and by participating in practicum and clinical courses.
Chattanooga State Community College
Based in Chattanooga, this college enrolls over 8,100 students. The school offers an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene program through its Department of Nursing and Allied Health. It prepares students to work in private practices, health departments, hospitals, or nursing homes. The five-semesters required include courses in anatomy and physiology, dental hygiene applications, pain management, and nutrition.
East Tennessee State University
The Department of Allied Health Sciences at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City administers the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program. Dental facilities include an on-site clinic, laboratory, darkroom, and x-ray machines. This four-year program involves general education courses during the first two years, followed by core dental hygiene studies, such as dental radiology, oral pathology, dental anatomy, and histology. In this full-time program, dental hygiene majors receive clinical instruction in the department's dental clinic and participate in clinical rotations at dental clinics in Sevierville, Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol.
Hiwassee College is located in Madisonville and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school has an Associate of Applied Science degree program in dental hygiene. The college boasts a fully equipped dental hygiene clinic that provides students the chance to work with ultrasonic scalers, digital x-rays, and intra-oral cameras. The program provides students with hands-on experience working in both the school's dental clinic and the local health department.
Roane State Community College
While Roane's main campus is in Harriman, the dental hygiene program is offered at the college's Oak Ridge campus. In the allied health sciences division's Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene Technology program, dental hygiene students complete 78 credits, including general education and dental courses such as dental materials, dental science, and pain control. Roane State has a 100% job placement rate for graduates of the dental hygiene program.
Southern Adventist University
This private school in Collegedale is associated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church and has an Associate of Science degree in pre-dental hygiene. Required courses include anatomy and physiology, chemistry, microbiology, health professions, and dentistry. While this pre-dental hygiene program doesn't satisfy academic requirements for licensure, it is designed to be transferable to a four-year program.
Tennessee State University
This Nashville school has a student population of more than 8,100. Tennessee State provides two degree programs for students interested in dental hygiene. The Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene is a two-year program that prepares students for entry-level dental hygiene positions. Students complete 79 credit hours of courses, as well as clinical rotations and labs. The school also offers a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree completion program for licensed dental hygienists. It includes an externship and teaching practicum, in addition to dental hygiene courses.
University of Tennessee
Located in Knoxville, the University of Tennessee's College of Allied Health Sciences has a bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene. Students in this four-year degree program take two years of general coursework before beginning professional coursework in the third and fourth years at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. The dental hygiene coursework emphasizes the study of oral disease prevention, dental pharmacology, and periodontology, among other topics. This program also contains clinical instruction in the Department of Dental Hygiene's dental clinic.
In Tennessee, a dental hygienist must be licensed by the state Board of Dentistry. In order to obtain a license, hygienists need to graduate from a training program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association and pass a licensing examination. Tennessee students have a variety of school options that provide dental hygienist and pre-dental hygienist training. The pre-dental hygiene program won't qualify graduates for state licensure, but the other six schools are all CODA-accredited and prepare students for the exam. Profiled below are the seven public and private not-for-profit Tennessee schools that have relevant programs, as well as a comparison table showing each school's offerings and tuition information.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Dental Hygiene Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Chattanooga State Community College||Two-year, public; midsize city||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,063 (in-state); $15,727 (out-of-state)*|
|East Tennessee State University||Four-year, public; small city||Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene||$8,935 (in-state); $27,199 (out-of-state)*|
|Hiwassee College||Four-year, private not-for-profit; fringe rural||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$19,571*|
|Roane State Community College||Two-year, public; distant town||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene Technology||$4,443 (in-state); $17,349 (out-of-state)*|
|Southern Adventist University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||Associate of Science in Pre-Dental Hygiene||$21,950*|
|Tennessee State University||Four-year, public; large city|| Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene,
Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (degree completion)
|$8,792 (in-state); $21,512 (out-of-state)*|
|University of Tennessee-Knoxville||Four-year, public; midsize city||Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene||$$13,006 (in-state); $31,426 (out-of-state)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.