Dental Hygienist Schools & Programs in VA

Dec 15, 2020

Dental Hygienist Schools in VA

Students wishing to become a dental hygienist in Virginia can choose from a variety of public institutions. Several schools in the state offer associate's degree programs in dental hygiene and a few offer bachelor's and/or master's degree programs in the field. Compare the locations of some of the dental hygienist schools in VA in the table below.

School Name School Type Location in VA
Wytheville Community College 2-year, Public Wytheville
Northern Virginia Community College 2-year, Public Annandale
Virginia Western Community College 2-year, Public Roanoke
Thomas Nelson Community College 2-year, Public Hampton
Old Dominion University 4-year, Public Norfolk
Virginia Commonwealth University 4-year, Public Richmond

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Dental Hygiene Programs in VA

Although there are some dental hygienist certification programs available, most aspiring dental hygienists need at least an associate's degree in dental hygiene before earning state licensure in the field. Bachelor's and master's degrees help these professionals advance their career and/or perform more complex job duties. Explore a few of the universities and community colleges in Virginia that offer dental hygiene below.

Wytheville Community College

Wytheville Community College offers a 2-year, Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Dental Hygiene. Students admitted to the program must submit to a background check and medical examination before being allowed to participate in clinical experiences. Students in the program complete 72 credits and take courses in topics like:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Oral pathology
  • Dental hygiene
  • Pharmacology

Thomas Nelson Community College

Thomas Nelson Community College also offers an AAS in Dental Hygiene program that boasts small class sizes and hands-on experiences. The college has an articulation agreement with Old Dominion University for students wishing to continue their studies beyond an associate's degree in the field. Students in the program must complete at least 72 credits and will take courses in topics such as:

  • Periodontics
  • Oral radiology
  • Nutrition
  • Dental hygiene materials

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University has a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Dental Hygiene program that takes 4 years to complete and an online BS post-licensure program for students who already have their certificate or associate's degree in dental hygiene. The traditional 4-year program requires 120 to 126 credit hours and includes general education requirements. Students gain work experience at the Old Dominion Dental Clinic, supervised by faculty members. Coursework specifically in the major include topics in:

  • Dental hygiene services
  • Anxiety and pain control
  • Dental hygiene theory
  • Dental hygiene therapies

Old Dominion University also uniquely offers an accelerated, linked, BS and Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene program that allows students to earn both degrees in less time than taking the degree programs separately. Students applying to this program must have a 3.3 GPA and senior standing. The ODU dental hygiene acceptance rate, if in line with the school's overall acceptance rate, is around 89%, according to U.S. News.

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Dentistry offers a BS in Dental Hygiene program. The 4-year program is the only program in the state that is available in a dentistry school and includes clinical rotations for hands-on experience in different areas of the field, such as oral surgery and pediatric dentistry. Students also participate in a clinical service-learning course for hands-on experience while working in under-served areas. Other course topics for the degree program include:

  • Ethics
  • Public Health
  • Community oral health promotion
  • Dental hygiene theory

Dental Hygienist in VA - Salary and Job Outlook

The BLS predicts that employment of dental hygienists will grow by 6% nationally between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than average. Dental hygienists earned an average yearly salary of $77,230 in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those working in the state of Virginia received a higher mean income than the national average, at $79,370 - however, this figure can go up or down depending on the area, as illustrated in the table below.

Area Annual wage for dental hygienists in 2019
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria $90,650
Harrisonburg $77,980
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News $76,900
Charlottesville $74,350
Roanoke $74,100
Lynchburg $69,740
Richmond $66,510
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