How to find the best dental hygiene school

What to Look for in the Best Dental Hygiene Schools

Demand for dental services is becoming increasingly important as people understand the value of oral health, overall well-being, and the needs of an aging population.

These needs, in turn, boost dental services and dental hygiene fields with fulfilling career opportunities. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that most dental occupations will grow faster or much faster than average than other occupations.

If you’re passionate about oral health and eager to start your journey, choosing the right dental hygiene school is crucial. Yet, choosing the right one can feel challenging with so many dental hygiene programs available.

This article will explain what to look for in a dental hygiene program, providing candidates with the information they need to decide on their interests, needs, and career goals.

What is a dental hygiene program?

Dental hygiene programs prepare students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in various careers, including dental hygienists, medical assistants, and even dental sales representatives. The best schools of dental hygiene also offer several in-person and online degree options, including:

  • Associate of Science (AS) in Dental Hygiene: This two-year program provides the minimum qualification for licensure and practice as a dental hygienist.
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Dental Hygiene: This four-year degree allows graduates to pursue careers in research, teaching, and other public health settings.
  • Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene: This graduate degree prepares candidates for education, research, and clinical practice leadership roles.
  • Continuing education courses allow licensed hygienists to stay updated on advancements and further expand their skills.

Keep in mind that while candidates can practice with their two-year associate’s degree, many employers and students alike prefer to obtain their bachelor’s degree, especially if they are passionate about research, teaching, and clinical practice in public or school health programs and settings.

Education in Dental Hygiene degree programs typically combine classroom, laboratory, and clinical instruction with courses such as:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Dental Public Health
  • Dental Radiology
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Periodontology

Dental Hygiene programs also enable students to pursue licensure after graduation to practice in their state of choice and start their careers as dental hygiene professionals. States have different requirements, so students should research to understand their state’s conditions for licensure.


Unlock the door to a fulfilling career in dental hygiene. Explore UB’s programming today!


4 things to look for in the best Schools of Dental Hygiene

While there are several ways to become a dental hygienist, students should consider looking for the following attributes and traits to identify the best Dental Hygiene programs.


Accreditation shows that a university, college, and program meet rigorous quality standards. Independent accreditation organizations evaluate various aspects, such as curriculum, faculty qualifications, student outcomes, facilities, and resources. Only programs meeting these standards receive accreditation, thus showing high educational quality and integrity.

Furthermore, to practice as a dental hygienist, Dental Hygiene degree programs must be accredited  by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).  The commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.

University of Bridgeport’s programs in Dental Hygiene are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and have been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements,” meaning we passed with flying colors. University of Bridgeport also holds membership in the American Dental Education Association.


A program’s reputation reflects the quality of its education, faculty, and student success during the program and after graduation. A reputable Dental Hygiene program provides the following benefits:

  • Clinical placement opportunities: Find programs that provide partnerships with leading dental practices and clinics, allowing students to hone their skills and gain experience in real-world settings
  • Positive learning environment: Students should look for programs known for their supportive faculty, collaborative student body, and focus on practical application preparing students inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Strong alumni network: Alumni networks allow graduates to remain connected and offer career guidance, mentorship, and potential job opportunities

Multiple degree options

The third thing students should consider is looking for Dental Hygiene programs that offer several flexible degree options that fit their specific needs, interests, and schedules.

For example, at University of Bridgeport’s School of Dental Hygiene, we offer the following degree programs:

  • Associate of Science (AS) in Dental Hygiene: This two-year program gives you the knowledge and experience you need to become successful in the dental hygiene field.
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Dental Hygiene and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Dental Hygiene Online: Students gain deeper knowledge and can pursue additional career opportunities with this four-year degree program. Additionally, students enroll in internships and capstone seminars, plus they have the choice to minor in human services, education, marketing, psychology, and more.
  • Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene Online: Advance your career towards leadership and education roles with this two-year, online master’s degree. Master’s degree students also participate in student-teaching placements.
  • Postgraduate education courses: University of Bridgeport offers seminars, online education, and distance learning programs that provide dental hygiene professionals with up-to-date knowledge of current concepts and advances in the field. Programs are primarily offered during weekend hours for attendees’ convenience.

Room for growth

Lastly, students should look for dental hygiene schools that provide opportunities for personal and professional advancement and growth, such as clinical experiences, research opportunities, and faculty mentorship.

For example, if you desire a long-term career in dental research or public health leadership, an advanced degree program may be a better fit than an associate degree.

However, if you want to launch your dental hygiene career quickly, an Associate degree in Dental Hygiene may be a better fit, as it takes only two to three years to complete.

Start your dental hygiene career with University of Bridgeport’s School of Dental Hygiene

Are you ready to start your career in dental hygiene? If so, apply to our accredited Dental Hygiene degree programs at University of Bridgeport.

Applicants are required to complete a variety of prerequisite courses before they are admitted. These classes include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology I and II
  • Composition and Rhetoric/English Composition
  • Introduction to Chemistry
  • Introduction to College Algebra/Statistics
  • Microbiology

It is also recommended that students complete:

  • Fine Arts Elective
  • Humanities Elective
  • Introduction to Psychology

Additionally, students are required to submit the following documents as part of their application for admission:

Contact us to learn more about our Dental Hygiene degree programs. Together, we’ll make sure you flourish in your program and career!