Aspiring dental hygienists must earn at least an associate's degree in dental hygiene as a first step toward working in the field, but pursuing a bachelor's degree is also an option. Florida students can attend several 2- and 4-year colleges that feature these programs. Students will take courses that include dental hygiene, pharmacology, oral pathology, periodontology, dental radiology, pain control, dental anatomy, and preventive dentistry. Students can participate in seminars as well as clinical and laboratory experiences.
Brevard Community College
Brevard Community College in Cocoa offers an Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene. The degree program includes courses in dental hygiene, oral pathology, periodontology, pain control, dental anatomy, and preventive dentistry. Students learn how to treat oral disease and provide patients with the tools to prevent it. On the Cocoa Campus, students can join the Student American Dental Hygienists Association, which encourages members to develop teamwork and leadership skills.
Students pursuing the Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene program at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale go through two phases. The first phase involves completing a 10-month dental assisting program. Students build on it with a 12-month program in dental hygiene that consists of courses in anatomy and physiology, dental anesthesia, dental pharmacology, community dental health, and oral histology. Labs are also part of the program. Graduates can go into careers as dental hygienists or dental assistants. Students can also join academic clubs, such as the Florida State Dental Hygienists' Association.
Florida SouthWestern State College
Located in Fort Myers, Florida SouthWestern State College is committed to helping students become productive citizens while motivating students to learn. Through the Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene program, students take courses covering topics such as dental hygiene, dental radiology, pharmacology, and periodontics. Students also partake in dental hygiene clinics and a dental hygiene seminar. General education courses are included as well. Students can join the Dental Hygiene Club.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Jacksonville's Florida State College offers an Associate in Science program in dental hygiene. Prerequisites for the program include human anatomy and physiology, college algebra, chemistry, and microbiology. In dental hygiene courses, students learn the duties of the dental hygienist, as well as the kinds of instruments used. Students also study oral medicine, community oral health, and dental office emergencies, and they take part in clinical and lab courses.
Hillsborough Community College
Hillsborough Community College in Tampa has five primary campuses and three satellite locations. The Dale Mabry campus hosts health science programs, which include a five-semester Associate in Science program in dental hygiene. Lectures and clinical training prepare students to provide dental therapy and care. Dental hygiene course topics include dental radiology, preventive dentistry, periodontology, and dental materials.
Indian River State College
At Fort Pierce's Indian River State College, students can select from around 150 diploma, technical certificate, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs. Students in the Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene program take courses in anatomy and physiology, dental hygiene, pain control, nitrous oxide use, dental anatomy, and dental radiography. Students also take labs in microbiology, periodontology, and dental radiography, as well as clinical courses covering dental hygiene. Students can participate in clubs, such as the Health Occupation Students of America. U.S. News and World Report ranked the college tenth among the top public regional colleges in the South for 2013.
Miami Dade College
More than 63,000 students attend this college in Miami. The Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene program on the medical campus prepares students to work with patients in maintaining oral health and preventing disease. The two-year program incorporates labs, clinics, and lectures that explore principles of dental hygiene, dental anatomy, dental materials, and periodontology.
Palm Beach State College
The Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene program at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth takes roughly 21 months to complete. Courses include microbiology, dental hygiene, community dentistry, and dental anatomy. Labs cover dental materials, dental radiology, dental hygiene, and microbiology. Students can get in touch with the school's dental health services coordinator before applying to receive program advice.
St. Petersburg College
Based in Clearwater, St. Petersburg College offers dental hygiene programs at the college's Health Education Center in Pinellas Park. Students can pursue an Associate in Science or Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene. In the associate's degree program, students take such courses as microbiology, orofacial anatomy, dental hygiene emergencies, dental pharmacology, and community dental health. The bachelor's degree program is an online completion program for working dental hygienists who want a baccalaureate. Dental hygiene course topics include practice management, contemporary issues, research, and leadership. Electives are also available, such as health information systems, mental health, and risk management. Students can join the Student American Dental Hygienist Association.
Valencia College in Orlando serves Central Florida's Orange and Osceola counties. At the West Campus, students can earn an Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene. Applicants must earn a 'C' or higher in prerequisite classes. Courses for the two-year program, which includes two summers, cover dental hygiene instruments and materials, dental anatomy, dental radiography, oral histology, community dental health, pharmacology, and periodontology.
To apply for licensing in Florida, the degree program must be approved by an accrediting agency accepted by the U.S. Department of Education. Florida will also accept applicants who are graduates of an unaccredited program but who have completed a minimum four years of post-secondary education while earning a dental school degree analogous to a doctoral degree in dentistry.
Upon completion of the degree program, graduates must pass the Dental Hygiene National Board Examination. In addition, they must pass the ADEX (American Board of Dental Examiners) Dental Hygiene Licensing Examination. The ten largest schools with dental hygiene programs in Florida are profiled below. All of these schools prepare graduates to take the necessary licensing exams for dental hygiene.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Dental Hygiene Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)|
|Brevard Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene||$2,496 in-state, $9,739 out-of-state*|
|Broward College||4-year, primarily associate's, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene||$2,830 in-state, $8,952 out-of-state*|
|Florida SouthWestern State College||4-year, primarily associate's, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene||$3,401 in-state, $12,979 out-of-state*|
|Florida State College at Jacksonville||4-year, primarily associate's, public; large city||Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene||$2,878 in-state, $9,992 out-of-state*|
|Hillsborough Community College||2-year, public; large city||Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene||$2,506 in-state, $9,111 out-of-state*|
|Indian River State College||4-year, primarily associate's, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene||$2,764 in-state, $10,201 out-of-state*|
|Miami Dade College||4-year, primarily associate's, public; large city||Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene||$2,838 in-state, $9,661 out-of-state*|
|Palm Beach State College||4-year, primarily associate's, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene||$2,444 in-state, $8,732 out-of-state*|
|St. Petersburg College||4-year, primarily associate's, public; small city|| Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene,
Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
|$2,682 in-state, $9,286 out-of-state*|
|Valencia College||4-year, primarily associate's, public; midsize city||Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene||$2,474 in-state, $9,383 out-of-state*|
Source:*NCES College Navigator