Dental Hygiene Programs in South Florida with Certification Options

Research dental hygiene degrees in South Florida, which currently has 6 schools offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs, tuition info and program options for these schools, and decide which program is right for you.

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Essential Information

Students in South Florida interested in earning a degree in dental hygiene have six schools from which to earn an associate's degree in the field. Programs take about two years to complete, and clinical experiences and fieldwork are incorporated into the curricula. Some programs are designed to allow graduates easy transfer to higher-level degree programs.

Career Requirements

Before someone can work as a dental hygienist in Florida, the individual must obtain licensure from the Florida Department of Health. Only qualified candidates who meet certain eligibility criteria are considered for this license. Individuals must be at least 18 years old and have graduated from programs accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA) or other dental hygiene programs approved by an agency accepted by the U.S. Department of Education. They must also pass the National Board of Dental Hygiene examination.

In South Florida, the 6 schools with dental hygiene degree programs award associate's degrees and are CODA-accredited. The following paragraphs summarize what each school offers, and the chart at the end compares the schools.


Broward College

Fort Lauderdale-based Broward College offers an associate's degree program that prepares students for dental assisting and dental hygienist careers. Admission requires a high school diploma and a placement test. The program consists of a 10-month dental assisting program that must be completed first before applying to the 12-month dental hygiene program. Application to the dental hygiene program also requires the completion of prerequisite courses.

Classes in the dental assisting portion include dental anatomy and physiology, dental materials, dental radiography and preventive dentistry. General education courses, such as microbiology, chemistry and psychology, are also required before entering the dental hygienist portion. Students accepted into the dental hygiene program learn about dentistry concepts like oral diseases, anesthesia and dental pharmacology. Clinical work is also completed.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $2,494 in-state, $8,616 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsize city

Edison State College

A dental hygiene program is offered at this college in Fort Myers. Admission into the program is limited, and applicants must first complete prerequisite classes like anatomy and physiology, chemistry and microbiology. The program takes 2 years to complete, and coursework must be taken in a specific order. Some of the first year courses cover dental anatomy, dentistry supplies, oral histology and pharmacology. While some pre-clinical labs and clinical courses are included in the first year, the majority of the clinical work is conducted during the second year.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $2,728 in-state, $9,544 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large suburb

Indian River State College

Located in Fort Pierce, this state college has an 88-credit-hour dental hygiene associate's degree program that requires applicants to complete a pre-admission test and prerequisite classes. This program takes 2 years to complete, and students gain instruction in classroom, laboratory and clinical settings. Classes may include microbiology, anesthesia, oral disease and dental radiography. While completing the program, students can gain hands-on, supervised training in the College Dental Clinic. Graduates are prepared for dental hygiene licensure exams or entry into 4-year degree programs.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $2,764 in-state, $10,201 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large suburb

Miami Dade College

At this school's medical campus in Miami, an associate's degree program in dental hygiene is available through the School of Health Sciences. Each year, the program starts in August, and individuals must submit their application materials by May 1. The admission process is selective, and each applicant is ranked according to certain criteria, such as GPA and the completion of specific prerequisite coursework.

It's recommended that students not hold employment while completing the program. Students complete clinical coursework at an assigned clinical facility in Miami and can expect to spend 8 hours per day during the week completing curricular requirements.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,366 in-state, $11,895 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

Palm Beach State College

Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth has a dental hygiene associate's degree program that begins in the fall term each year. The program prepares students for licensing through classes like oral histology, dentistry ethics, oral pathology, community dental care and dental anatomy. The curriculum also includes clinical requirements, which may be satisfied by working in the college's community dental clinic. Graduates may be able to transfer credits to the college's bachelor's degree program in supervision and management or take advantage of transfer agreements the college has with other schools.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $2,378 in-state, $8,612 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large suburb

South Florida State College

Avon Park's South Florida State College admits students into its Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene program each fall term. Admission is selective, and students can make themselves competitive candidates by completing prerequisite classes with sufficient GPAs and acquiring 40 hours of observation hours, volunteer experience or professional experience. The curriculum teaches students to evaluate patients, use dental equipment, interpret diagnostic medical images and teach patients about preventive dental care.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,160 in-state, $11,854 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; distant town

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Dental Hygiene Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)
Broward College 4-year, public; midsize city Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene $2,494 in-state, $8,616 out-of-state*
Edison State College 4-year, public; large suburb Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene $2,728 in-state, $9,544 out-of-state*
Indian River State College 4-year, public; large suburb Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene $2,764 in-state, $10,201 out-of-state*
Miami Dade College 4-year, public; large city Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene $3,366 in-state, $11,895 out-of-state*
Palm Beach State College 4-year, public; large suburb Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene $2,378 in-state, $8,612 out-of-state*
South Florida State College 4-year, public; distant town Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene $3,160 in-state, $11,854 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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