Wisconsin-based students interested in becoming dental hygienists may choose from a range of schools offering programs that result in the award of an associate's degree. Such programs can generally be completed in two to three years and include general education classes. Skills are gained in the classroom and in labs. Some schools provide practical training opportunities through clinical experiences or in an on-campus clinic.
Chippewa Valley Technical College
Located in Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Technical College offers a 2-year dental hygienist program. Students receive training at the school's working dental clinic, where they learn to diagnose problems, process different types of X-rays, clean teeth and educate patients about dental care. The 70-credit program includes courses in microbiology, dental radiography and periodontology.
Fox Valley Technical College
Fox Valley Technical College offers a 70-credit dental hygienist associate's degree program at its campus in Appleton. The part-time program takes three years to complete. Students must finish all of the general studies courses before beginning the technical studies requirement. The general studies curriculum includes courses on microbiology and biochemistry, while the technical studies coursework covers topics in dental hygiene processes, pathology, dental pain management, dental hygiene ethics and community dental health.
Madison Area Technical College
Students who want to enroll in the dental hygienist program at Madison Area Technical College in Madison must first complete prerequisites in anatomy and physiology, microbiology and chemistry. After the prerequisites are completed, the dental hygiene program can be completed in four full-time semesters. The curriculum covers nutrition and oral health, oral pathology, dental hygiene procedures, radiology and community dental health. Students also receive instruction on dental materials, periodontology and dental pharmacology, in addition to general education courses.
Milwaukee Area Technical College
Milwaukee Area Technical College provides a 70-credit dental hygiene associate's degree program. In addition to classroom instruction, students receive clinical training at the school's dental hygiene clinic and at other sites in the area. The technical studies requirements include courses on dental pharmacology, periodontology, dental radiography, dental materials and pain management.
Northcentral Technical College
Northcentral Technical College in Wausau offers an associate's degree program to train future dental hygienists. Students need to pass general anatomy and physiology before entering the program. The 70 credits of courses include dental materials, dental pharmacology and pain management.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Students may also pursue a dental hygienist program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay. The curriculum trains students to clean teeth, instruct patients in proper oral hygiene and process dental X-rays. The 70-credit program covers topics in periodontology, cariology and oral pathology.
Waukesha County Technical College
Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee offers a 70-credit dental hygienist degree program that can be completed in two years. Students receive instruction on nutrition, dental materials, dental radiography, cariology and dental pain management. The dental hygiene club provides extracurricular activities and community projects for practical experience. Students interested in continuing their education may transfer credits from this program to a 4-year program.
Dental hygienists must be licensed to work in Wisconsin. Qualifications for state licensure include graduation from a dental hygiene program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (ADA), proficiency in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and receiving a passing grade on several exams, including the national dental hygiene exam. Continuing education is required for license renewal.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Chippewa Valley Technical College||2-year, public; small city||Associate Degree - Dental Hygienist|| $4,364 in-state
|Fox Valley Technical College||2-year, public; midsize suburb||Associate in Applied Science - Dental Hygienist|| $4,565 in-state
|Madison Area Technical College||4-year, public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science - Dental Hygienist|| $4,407 in-state
|Milwaukee Area Technical College||2-year, public; large city||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene|| $4,589 in-state
|Northcentral Technical College||2-year, public; small city||Associate of Applied Science - Dental Hygienist|| $3,553 in-state
|Northeast Wisconsin Technical College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate of Applied Science - Dental Hygienist||$4,479 in-state
|Waukesha County Technical College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science - Dental Hygienist|| $4,405 in-state
Source: *NCES College Navigator.