Texas-based students interested in earning an education as a dental hygienist may do so from a range of schools in the state. Most of the programs offer an associate's degree, however at least one school offers a four-year baccalaureate program in dental hygiene. Admission requirements may include a background check, drug screening, and/or CPR certification. All programs include clinical or practicum elements. The bachelor's degree program is available in an online track for those who hold a two-year degree in dental hygiene.
Located in Amarillo, this college offers an associate's degree program in dental hygiene that prepares students for taking licensure exams from the American Dental Association's Joint Commission and the State Dentistry Examining Board. In order to graduate, students must earn a grade of C or better in all courses. Besides general education courses, students take major courses in pharmacology, medical terminology, orofacial anatomy and the practice of dental hygiene.
Austin Community College District
This community college in Austin serves 8 counties in central Texas. Enrollment in the dental hygiene program is limited and contingent upon passing a criminal background check. Prerequisite courses include chemistry, human physiology, human anatomy and microbiology. Major courses include preventive dental care, dental radiology and oral pathology.
The dental hygiene program at Blinn College is housed at the college's flagship campus in Brenham. The curriculum is designed to train students in preventing, recognizing and treating diseases of the mouth within the scope of the dental hygiene profession. Students learn how to communicate with patients and dentists, complete dental examinations and read x-rays. To be eligible for the program, students may have to earn a grade of C or higher in prerequisite courses such as anatomy and physiology, biology and composition.
Collin County Community College District
Dental hygiene students at McKinney-based Collin County Community College District must meet license eligibility requirements determined by the State Board of Dental Examiners in order to be admitted into the program. Students can expect to submit to a drug test and a background check in addition to earning CPR certification once they are admitted to the program. The 72-credit associate's degree program includes classes in dental radiology, preventive care, pharmacology and community dentistry, among other classes.
Del Mar College
Del Mar College in Corpus Christi is a commuter college with 2 main campuses in the Texas Coastal Bend region. The school's dental hygiene program teaches students about periodontal therapy, administering dental sealants and providing patients with normal oral preventive care. The curriculum combines classes in dental hygiene theory with hands-on practice on mannequins and fellow students. Beginning at the end of the first semester, students have the option to start treating actual patients in the clinic. They can expect to purchase supplies such as uniforms, instrument kits, dental supplies and textbooks, as well as pay optional student association fees.
El Paso Community College
Students must complete prerequisite courses in biology and medical terminology before starting the dental hygiene program at this community college in El Paso. Students then begin taking core courses, such as dental radiology, pharmacology and oral pathology. This 2-year, associate's degree program has a curriculum that trains aspiring dental hygienists in providing oral prophylactic treatments, taking and reading oral x-rays, counseling patients and performing oral cancer screenings. Before students can begin clinical practice, they must provide proof of current immunizations and pass a criminal background check.
Houston Community College
The dental hygiene program at this community college in Houston allows students to gain a firm understanding of the American Dental Hygienists' Association Code of Ethics, along with essential skills such as problem solving, interacting with patients and contributing to patients' oral health. The curriculum includes courses such as dental radiology, dental hygiene theory, periodontology and dental nutrition. In addition to classroom lectures, students complete clinicals in dental hygiene.
Lone Star College System
The Lone Star College System offers a 2-year dental hygiene degree program at its Kingwood campus. Students learn about oral pathology, orofacial anatomy, dental nutrition, dental radiology and other subjects. To be eligible for entrance into the program, students must complete pre-admission requirements, such as courses in sociology, anatomy and physiology, English composition and chemistry, as well as the Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT). Additionally, students must pass a background check and receive all required immunizations, including Hepatitis B. In addition to campus-based classes, students also complete external clinical rotations.
Tarrant County College District
Aspiring dental hygienists can earn an associate's degree from the Health Sciences Department, located in Hurst of the Tarrant County College District based in Fort Worth. The curriculum combines clinical rotations with classes in community dentistry, dental materials, dental hygiene practice and pharmacology, among others. Students learn how to educate patients on using nutrition for maintaining oral health and on oral hygiene techniques. They also learn how to take x-rays. Students must pass a criminal background check and drug testing, be certified in CPR, have health insurance and meet all college-prescribed immunization requirements to be eligible for admission to the program.
Texas Woman's University
Texas Woman's University, located in Denton, is one of the few dental hygiene schools in the state that offers a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene. Students can choose from two options, including a standard bachelor's degree program and an online program for students who already have an associate's degree in dental hygiene. The university's dental hygiene clinic offers free screenings for patients and an opportunity for students to gain valuable hands-on experience. Prospective students should complete all prerequisite coursework, such as physiology, English and sociology, with a grade of C or higher. Students should also be certified in CPR and provide verification of the necessary immunizations. Once accepted, students can expect to complete core dental hygiene courses beginning in their junior year. Coursework includes dental hygiene ethics, dental hygiene care for patients with special needs, risk assessment and radiology.
Every state in the United States requires dental hygienists to become licensed in their state before working in the field. Although requirements may vary from state to state, most states, including Texas, mandate that aspiring dental hygienists complete an educational program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA) and pass licensure examinations. Most dental hygienists earn an associate's degree, although other programs are also available.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Dental Hygiene Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Amarillo College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $2,136 in-district
|Austin Community College District||2-year, public; large city||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $2,550 in-district
|Blinn College||2-year, public; distant town||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $2,832 in-district
|Collin County Community College District||2-year, public; midsize suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $1,504 in-district
|Del Mar College||2-year, public; large city||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $2,729 in-district
|El Paso Community College||2-year, public; large city||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $3,010 in-state
|Houston Community College||2-year, public; large city||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $1,632 in-district
|Lone Star College System||2-year, public; small city||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $1,600 in-district
|Tarrant County College District||2-year, public; large city||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $1,661 in-district
|Texas Woman's University||4-year, public; midsize city||Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene|| $7,796 in-state
Source: *NCES College Navigator