Aspiring dental hygienists in Illinois might attend one of several schools in the state. Most are 2-year colleges that offer relevant associate's degree programs, but students will also find a bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene at one of the universities in the state.
In addition to studying community oral health, radiology, pathology, and laboratory procedures, students develop hands-on expertise through supervised clinical experiences in campus-based dental hygiene offices. Internships could also be included in the curricula students.
College of DuPage
The College of DuPage (COD) in Glen Ellyn serves more than 26,000 and awards an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Dental Hygiene degree. Students attend the 5-semester dental hygiene program on a full-time basis, taking courses in neck and head anatomy and dental radiology, among other topics. The curriculum also includes several segments of supervised hands-on patient care in dental hygiene. In order to graduate, COD dental hygiene students must also complete mandatory general education classes in subjects like physical science, English, math, and humanities.
College of Lake County
The College of Lake County's (CLC) Lakeshore Campus in Waukegan hosts the school's associate degree program in dental hygiene. The campus also houses the CLC Dental Hygiene Clinic, which offers treatment to the public and serves as a training facility for dental hygiene students. Professionally supervised clinical practicums are a required part of the program, along with coursework in subjects like oral embryology, dental hygiene theory, pain management, and community dentistry. Students fulfill general education requirements in disciplines including psychology, sociology, and communications.
Located in Palatine, Harper College offers a 2-year, full-time AAS in Dental Hygiene program that consists of coursework in areas like nutrition fundamentals, microbiology, sociology, dental anatomy, periodontology, dental pharmacology, and special needs oral health considerations. Students additionally undergo four semester-long sessions of practical experience in a professional dental setting. Dental hygiene classes typically cost more than other classes. Harper, a 2-year public school, sits in a large suburban community and has a student population of about 16,000.
Illinois Central College
Approximately 12,000 students attend Illinois Central College (ICC) in East Peoria. ICC offers a dental hygiene associate degree program that encompasses classes in dental science, preventive modalities, dental local anesthetics, and dental pharmacology. The school has its own clinic for dental hygiene instruction where students complete a portion of their required practical training hours. Other ICC resources include a career services center that offers job search and resume development assistance; an on-campus child care center that serves children aged two through five on a full-time or hourly basis; and the Student American Dental Hygienists Association club.
John A. Logan College
John A. Logan College (JALC) is located in Carterville and confers an Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene degree. This 2-year program includes classes on such topics as oral pathology, organic chemistry, and periodontology, as well as mandatory clinical practice in a supervised dental facility. Students partake in some of this training at the John A. Logan Dental Hygiene Clinic, which is located on the campus and takes patients from both the school community and the general public. JALC also offers a certificate program in dental assisting.
Lake Land College
Students in the dental hygiene program at Mattoon-based Lake Land College (LLC) study anatomy, radiology, pathology, and laboratory procedures, in addition to general education subjects like English, speech, and social sciences. Dental hygiene students also undertake supervised patient care during required periods of external clinical practice. LLC's Center for Business and Industry houses the SE Illinois Health Consortium, a regional partnership among healthcare entities and community colleges that provides development and training opportunities. In addition to the associate degree program, LLC also offers continuing education courses in dental hygiene. In addition to tuition fees, students are responsible for buying their own uniforms and kits.
Lewis and Clark Community College
Lewis and Clark Community College's (L&C) AAS degree program in dental hygiene takes place at the institution's Godfrey campus. In this program, students undergo coursework in microbiology, community oral health, and nutrition, among other areas, and may take an elective in dentistry-related local anesthesia. Students who complete said elective course will be awarded a certificate of completion in local anesthesia. L&C dental hygiene students are also required to participate in multiple practicums involving supervised patient assessment and care.
Based in Champaign, Parkland College houses a dental hygiene AAS program that trains students in practices such as teeth bleaching, oral examinations, and infection control. Courses in dental materials, preventive counseling, ethics, and oral structure alteration are included in the curriculum, as is a course dedicated to instructing students about the processes and requirements involved in transitioning to professional practice. Students acquire mandatory practical experience in treating patients at the school's on-campus dental hygiene clinic.
Rock Valley College
Rock Valley College's (RVC) associate degree program in dental hygiene is offered at the school's Stenstrom Center in Rockford. This AAS program incorporates classes in dental radiology, community dental health, and biochemistry, along with theory and research in dental hygiene. Students learn about topics such as prevention of periodontal disease, oral cavity anatomic structures, and radiographic procedures. RVC's Stenstrom Center houses a clinic that provides services in dental hygiene and serves as a training facility for dental hygiene students.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Carbondale-based Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) is one of the few colleges in the state with a bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene. Culminating in conferral of a Bachelor of Science degree, this program's curriculum commences with foundational courses in disciplines like chemistry, microbiology, psychology, and physiology. Following those, students take classes in areas such as embryology, medical emergencies, tooth morphology, instrumentation techniques, and methods of research. An internship incorporating the provision of dental hygiene services to a special needs population (geriatric, low-income, etc.) is required in order to complete the program. SIUC'S dental hygiene department has more than 15 faculty members and includes both a dental hygiene clinic available for required clinical training and the SIUC Community Dental Center, which serves low-income populations and affords additional patient care opportunities to students in their final year of the dental hygiene program.
State licensure is required to work as a dental hygienist in Illinois. To become licensed, students must have a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and pass either a national or regional board exam.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Dental Hygiene Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|College of DuPage||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,080 in-district
|College of Lake County||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$3,948 in-district
|Harper College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$3,684 in-district
|Illinois Central College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,500 in-district
|John A. Logan College||2-year, public; small suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$3,766 in-district
|Lake Land College||2-year, public; distant town||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,110 in-district
|Lewis and Clark Community College||2-year, public; rural fringe||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$3,552 in-district
|Parkland College||2-year, public; urban||2-year, public; small city||$4,920 in-district
|Rock Valley College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $3,764 in-district
|Southern Illinois University Carbondale||4-year, public; small city||Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene|| $14,704 in-state
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.