Which Dental Schools Are in Virginia?

Find out about dental programs in Virginia. See requirements, prerequisites and school information, and learn about job prospects for a career as a dentist or dental hygienist. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Earning an associate's or bachelor's degree could prepare you to work as a dental hygienist. The associate's program requires two years of study and includes general education classes. Bachelor's degrees also have general education requirements, and they take four years to complete.

If your career goal is to become a dentist, you can complete your dental training in about four years. Additional specialty training is also available at Virginia dental schools.


Dental Associate's Degree Programs in Virginia

Northern Virginia Community College

  • Program: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: 2 years (5 semesters)
  • Tuition: Residents, $135.65 per credit hour; out-of-state students, $314.90 per credit hour (fall 2012)
  • Prerequisites: 2 specific health science courses (minimum grade of 'B'), composition and orientation to health care (at least a 'C') must be completed at this school before admission to the program
  • Requirements: Attend an information session and have legal status in the U.S.; consult with the assistant dean if you've been found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor
  • School Type: 2-year, public; 48,996 undergraduate students
  • Address: 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd., Annandale, VA 22003
  • Phone: 703-323-3000

Located near Washington D.C., Northern Virginia Community College offers a dental hygienist associate's degree program that's designed to prepare you for licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH). Courses include oral anatomy, periodontics, dental hygiene, nutrition, management of pain and anxiety, public health and ethics.

Virginia Western Community College

  • Program: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: 2 years (5 semesters)
  • Tuition: In-state, $129.09 per credit hour; out-of-state, $320.69 per credit hour (fall 2012)
  • Prerequisites: High school or equivalent college courses in algebra I and II, biology and chemistry (minimum 'C' grades), additional college biology courses
  • Requirements: Minimum 2.5 grade point average (GPA), academic record, interviews, essay, 2 letters of recommendation, Health Occupation Basic Entrance Test (HOBET) reading comprehension results
  • School Type: 2-year, public; 8,778 undergraduate students
  • Address: 3093 Colonial Ave., Roanoke, VA 24015
  • Phone: 540-857-7311

Located in a small city in western Virginia, this school's program would make you eligible for state, regional and national board examinations leading to licensure as an RDH. Your coursework would include college composition, college success skills, dental hygiene, oral radiography, pharmacology and microbiology.


Dental Bachelor's Degree Programs in Virginia

Old Dominion University

  • Program: Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Tuition: In-state, $6,656 per year; out-of-state, $18,128 per year (2011-2012 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: General education and prerequisite courses (will be completed in your first two years)
  • Requirements: Dental hygiene information session, current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, hepatitis vaccine is recommended
  • School Type: 4-year, public; 18,965 undergraduate students
  • Address: 5115 Hampton Blvd., Norfolk, VA 23529
  • Phone: 757-683-3000

This school is located in a midsize city near the Chesapeake Bay. The last two years of the program cover dental hygiene theory and practice, dental sciences, community oral health, teaching strategies and research methodology. After completing this program, you'd be eligible to take state and regional board examinations and the Dental Hygiene National Board Examination to become licensed as a dental hygienist.

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Program: Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Tuition: In-state, $9,517 per year; out-of-state, $22,949 per year (2011-2012 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: First 2 years of the program include prerequisite liberal arts courses (60 semester hours and minimum 'C' grades required)
  • Requirements: Transcripts, 2 references, personal statement, possible interview, criminal background check
  • School Type: 4-year, public; 23,217 undergraduate students
  • Address: 520 N. 12th St., Richmond, VA 23298
  • Phone: 804-828-9096

Located in a midsize city in eastern Virginia, this university's dental hygienist program can qualify you for regional, state and national board licensing examinations. After completing the first two years of prerequisites, your second two years would focus on basic and dental sciences, community health, dental hygiene and preclinic/clinical experiences. You'd be required to provide your own transportation to off-campus clinical sites.


Doctor of Dental Surgery Program in Virginia

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Program: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Tuition: In-state, $12,991 per semester; out-of-state, $25,102.50 per semester (2012-13); clinical component fees may be required
  • Prerequisites: Minimum 3 years/90 hours of academic study, including specified courses in biology, chemistry, physics and biochemistry (minimum grade of 'C' required); completion of a 4-year acadmic program is recommended
  • Requirements: Dental Admissions Test (DAT), application through the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS), transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation, criminal background check
  • School Type: 4-year, public; 8,810 graduate students
  • Address: 520 N. 12th St., Richmond, VA 23298
  • Phone: 804-828-9196

This general dentistry program emphasizes study in behavioral, biomedical and clinical sciences. Additionally, you'll complete clinical and laboratory experiences in all 4 years of this program. This is the only ADA-accredited DDS program in Virginia; the state has no accredited Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) programs.


Advanced and Specialty Dental Education Programs in Virginia

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Program Name: Advanced Education Program (AEP) in General Dentistry
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Tuition: $9,201 per year for in-state graduate students, $18,845 per year for out-of-state graduate students (2011-2012 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Graduation from an accredited dental program, licensure or eligibility for licensure in Virginia
  • Requirements: Successful completion of Part I and Part II of the National Dental Board Examination
  • School Type: 4-year, public; 8,810 graduate students
  • Address: 520 N. 12th St., Richmond, VA 23298
  • Phone: 804-828-9196

This program is designed to give you an advanced understanding of dental care. It's meant to improve both your confidence as a dentist and your technical abilities. As a dental resident, you'll engage in hands-on clinical experiences in addition to studying dentistry scientifically. Clinical experiences comprise about 85% of the program and are mostly accomplished onsite.

In addition to the general dentistry residency, VCU offers AEP programs in subjects like oral and maxillofacial surgery, dental medicine, orthodontics, periodontics and endodontics. The prerequisites, requirements and program lengths for these residency programs vary based on area of study. Some programs result in a master's degree; these include endodontics, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics and periodontics. The school also offers a postgraduate anesthesia training program.


Virginia Dental Requirements

To qualify for licensure as a dentist or dental hygienist in Virginia, you must be a graduate of a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (ADA). Before applying for licensure to the Virginia Board of Dentistry, both dentists and dental hygienists must pass written and clinical examinations available through the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations. Additional certifications can be required for the administration of anesthesia. The Virginia Board of Dentistry makes decisions on an individual basis about licensure for applicants with misdemeanor or felony convictions.

Salary and Job Outlook for Dental Occupations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2011, the annual mean wage for dentists in Virginia was around $195,000, which was higher than the national average of about $162,000. At that same time, the annual mean wage for dental hygienists in Virginia was approximately $82,000, which was also higher than the national average of around $70,000.

Nationwide, employment of dentists could grow by 21% and that of dental hygienists by 38% in the decade spanning 2010-2020, according to BLS estimates. This fast growth may be due to a need for complicated dental procedures for baby boomers and to patients becoming more concerned with the connection between oral health and overall health. In addition, dentists might hire more hygienists to handle routine services so they can take on additional patients.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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