Which Schools Offer Dental Hygiene Programs in Virginia?

Find out which schools in Virginia offer dental hygiene programs. See program requirements and school information, and learn about the job prospects and salary information for a dental hygiene career in Virginia. Schools offering Dental Hygiene degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Four colleges and universities in Virginia offer dental hygiene programs. Two of these are community colleges that award Associate of Applied Science Degrees in dental hygiene; the other two schools are universities offering bachelor's and master's level studies in this field. In many cases, a 2-year degree will be sufficient to pursue licensure and employment opportunities; more advanced degrees can help for career advancement purposes.

Associate level studies are designed to introduce you to oral health issues, dental materials, oral radiology and oral anatomy. You will learn through classroom instruction and lab practices. Advanced topics in many of the same areas addressed in the 2-year degree program are covered in Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene programs. Bachelor's studies also prepare you to take licensing exams. Finally, the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene programs offers specialized areas of study, such as in community health or education, and at least some of its core coursework online. Which level of study you choose will rely mainly on your current professional status and ultimate career goals.


Virginia Schools with Associate's Degrees in Dental Hygiene

Northern Virginia Community College

  • Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: 2 years, with 4 full-time semesters and 1 part-time semester
  • Tuition: $135.65 per credit for state residents; $314.90 per credit for non-residents (costs for fall 2012-spring 2013)
  • Prerequisites: Must be a U.S. citizen; must pass English composition, health sciences I and II and orientation to health care with specified grades prior to admission
  • School Type: 2-year, public; about 50,000 students (all undergraduate)
  • Address: 4001 Wakefield Chapel Road, Annandale, Virginia 22003
  • Phone: (703) 323-3000

You must earn at least 72 credits to receive this degree. During the first semester, you're introduced to oral anatomy, neck and head anatomy, oral radiology and your first dental hygiene course. As you progress through the program, you study pharmacology, periodontics, nutrition, public health and oral pathology. You also learn how to handle emergencies as well as patient anxiety and pain management.

Wytheville Community College

  • Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: 2 years, with 4 full-time semesters and 1 part-time semester
  • Tuition: $117.00 per credit for state residents; $293.60 per credit for non-residents (costs for fall 2012)
  • Prerequisites: High school biology and chemistry with labs, minimum GPA of 2.0, 16 observation hours, proficiency in English and math essentials demonstrated by placement test scores or completion of classes
  • Admission Requirements: Health Occupations Basic Entrance Test, current CPR certification, criminal background check, medical exam, urine drug screen, immunizations, tuberculin skin test, documentation on status of hemoglobin beta and chickenpox
  • School Type: 2-year, public; just over 3,500 students (all undergraduate)
  • Address: 1000 East Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382
  • Phone: (276) 223-4700

This 71-credit program consists of classroom and laboratory instruction. Required courses include human anatomy and physiology, office practice and ethics, introduction to microbiology and practical dental materials for dental hygiene. You must receive a minimum grade of C in all major courses to receive this degree, and all dental hygiene courses must be completed at this school.


Virginia Schools with Bachelor's Degrees in Dental Hygiene

Old Dominion University

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: 4 years, full time
  • Tuition: $273.00 per credit for state residents; $769.00 per credit for non-residents (costs for 2012-2013)
  • School Type: 4-year, public; nearly 25,000 students (about 19,000 undergraduate)
  • Address: 5115 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23529
  • Phone: (757) 683-5766

At Old Dominion University, you spend your freshman and sophomore years fulfilling the general education requirements for this degree. The last 2 years are comprised of the dental hygiene courses. These courses cover topics such as dental hygiene theory and practices, dental sciences and community oral health as well as research methodology and teaching strategies. This program has been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. You'll be eligible to take the state and regional exams required for licensure as well as the Dental Hygiene National Board Exam upon completion of this program. You also have the option of enrolling in an accelerated bachelor-to-master program in dental hygiene at this school.

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Program Length: 4 years, full time
  • Tuition: $3,930.00 per semester for full-time state residents; $10,637.50 per semester for full-time non-residents (costs for fall 2012-spring 2012)
  • Admission Requirements: Proof of English proficiency, criminal background check
  • School Type: 4-year, public; just over 31,000 students (about 23,500 undergraduate)
  • Address: VCU School of Dentistry, W. Baxter Perkinson, Jr. Building , Suite 3100, 1101 East Leigh Street, Richmond, Virginia 23298
  • Phone: (804) 828-9096

At Virginia Commonwealth University, you study courses in liberal arts for a general education background during the first 2 years and then focus on core dental hygiene courses in your junior and senior years. Topics of study include dental radiology, periodontics, pharmacology and oral pathology. This program combines traditional classroom learning with clinical laboratory experience to provide hands-on practice. After program completion, you'll be eligible to take the national, regional or state board exams to become licensed.


Virginia School with Master's Degree in Dental Hygiene

Old Dominion University

  • Program Name: Master of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Specialization Areas: Education, marketing, administration/management, research, community health
  • Program Length: 34 to 37 credit hours of coursework, depending on the option you choose; part-time students may take up to 6 years to complete the degree
  • Tuition: $393.00 per credit for state residents; $997.00 per credit for non-residents (costs for 2012-2013)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree in dental hygiene or in an associated field in addition to a certificate or associate degree in dental hygiene; minimum undergrad GPA of 2.8; minimum GPA of 3.0 in dental hygiene major courses
  • Admission Requirements: National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, 4 letters of recommendation, essay, completed self-evaluation form
  • School Type: 4-year, public; nearly 25,000 students (about 19,000 undergraduate)
  • Address: School of Dental Hygiene, 3102 Health Sciences Bldg, Norfolk, VA 23529
  • Phone: (757) 683-5150

You have the option of choosing a 34-credit thesis or a 37-credit non-thesis program. You must complete 22 credits in the core subjects in addition to credits in your area of specialization for either option. Core topics include administrative leadership and professional development, research methods in the health sciences and educational concepts for the health professional. The core requirements are available onsite and online, and if you choose the online courses, you must pursue the non-thesis course of study. Completion of an internship in your area of specialization is also required.


Career Info for Dental Hygienists in Virginia

You must obtain a license from the Virginia Board of Dentistry to work as a dental hygienist in the state. You're required to complete a formal dental hygiene training program and pass a test to obtain this license. Most dental hygienists enter the job market with associate degrees. Associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs are available at some Virginia schools.

Salary and Job Outlook for a Dental Hygiene Career

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 4,490 dental hygienists working in Virginia in May 2011, and they earned a mean annual wage of around $81,000. The job prospects for dental hygienists are excellent. The BLS projected a 38% increase nationwide in employment in this occupation between 2010 and 2020, a rate of growth much faster than average.

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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