Dental Hygiene Programs in Washington State with Degree Overviews

Washington State has ten colleges that offer dental hygiene programs. Learn about the state's nine public schools' programs, tuition info and program options to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

Dental hygienists examine and clean patients' teeth and educate them about oral health. Students in Washington can find dental hygiene programs at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree levels. Dental hygiene programs include clinical experiences in addition to classroom instruction and lab training. Individuals who opt to earn a two-year degree may have the option of transferring the credits to a baccalaureate program. Master's degrees students often complete a thesis in addition to practicum requirements.

Career Requirements

To work as a dental hygienist in Washington, an individual needs to graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association. Students also must pass state-approved exams, including the National Board Examination.

The programs discussed below all have CODA accreditation; read on for more information.


Bellingham Technical College

Located in Bellingham, this technical college offers a dental hygiene associate's degree program. Besides academic coursework, students participate in clinical experiences at the college's on-campus clinic. Students can complete the program in seven quarters. Graduates might opt to transfer to a bachelor's program.

Those who have completed a dental hygienist program can pursue the college's dental expanded function dental auxiliary certificate program to gain additional knowledge and skills in restorative dentistry. This 18-credit program takes three quarters to complete.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene,
    Dental Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,415*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; small city

Clark College

Students at Clark College in Vancouver have two dental hygiene associate's degree programs to choose from. The Associate in Arts program is 184 credits and is designed for students who want to transfer their credits to a bachelor's degree program. Students enrolled in the Associate in Applied Science program are required to take 161 credits.

Courses in both programs include dental public health, restorative dentistry, oral medicine, oral radiology, pain control and oral medicine. Students gain experience at the on-campus dental hygiene clinic.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Arts in Dental Hygiene,
    Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,650 in-state, $8,840 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; midsize city

Columbia Basin College

Columbia Basin College sits in Pasco. The dental hygiene associate's degree program requires 131-136 credits and consists of general education requirements, support courses and major coursework. In addition to classes, students are required to complete six clinical dental hygiene technique courses and labs.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,176 in-state, $6,505 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

Eastern Washington University

Situated in Cheney, Eastern Washington University offers dental hygiene programs at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Courses in the bachelor's degree program include dental anatomy, radiography, pain control, preventive dentistry and community dental health. Students are also required to complete eight clinical dental hygiene and three restorative clinic courses.

The university also offers a bachelor's completion program for dental hygienists who already have an associate's degree. This hybrid program combines classroom instruction with online coursework.

The dental hygiene master's degree program combines academic coursework with two practicums and a thesis. Students learn about health care leadership, research and technical writing.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene,
    Expanded Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Degree Completion Program,
    Master of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,933 in-state, $18,678 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; fringe town

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

At Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland, students can earn as associate's degree in dental hygiene. The program requires 120 credits and offers students an opportunity to gain experience at the school's on-campus clinic and at off-campus locations.

Students can also enroll in a bachelor's degree completion program from Eastern Washington University. Courses are offered online and on campus at the Lake Washington Institute of Technology.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene,
    Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Completion Program
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,875 in-state, $9,061 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large suburb

Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom

Pierce College sits in Lakewood and has an associate's degree program in dental hygiene. Students are required to spend 24-30 hours each week on campus receiving instruction and participating in clinical work.

Graduates of this program can go on to earn a bachelor's degree through Eastern Washington University's expanded completion program by taking the courses on the Pierce College campus.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Dental Hygiene,
    Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,777 in-state, $8,967 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Seattle Central Community College

This Seattle-based community college awards an associate's transfer degree in dental hygiene. The program's 182 credits include prerequisites and program curriculum. In addition to seven clinical requirements, students take courses in dental radiology, head and neck anatomy, emergency management, preventative dentistry, pain control and restorative practice.

The college also offers a 15-credit expanded function dental auxiliary program for those who have graduated from the associate's program. Graduates earn a Career Pathway for Dental Assistants Certificate.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,893 in-state, $9,083 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

Shoreline Community College

At this community college in Shoreline, students earn 182 credits to complete the school's two-year associate's degree program in dental hygiene. Students learn to perform procedures and work with patients. Course topics include systemic disease, dental radiology, pain control, medical emergencies and other topics.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Applied Arts and Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,947 in-state, $6,595 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Yakima Valley Community College

Located in Yakima, this community college offers an associate's degree program in dental hygiene. Students are required to take courses and participate in clinical experiences. The program ensures students understand how to communicate with patients, promote oral health and perform dental procedures.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,820 in-state, $4,214 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; small city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Dental Hygienist Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)
Bellingham Technical College 2-year, public; small city Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene,
Dental Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary Certificate
$4,415*
Clark College 2-year, public; midsize city Associate in Arts in Dental Hygiene,
Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
$3,650 in-state, $8,840 out-of-state*
Columbia Basin College 4-year, public; small city Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene $4,176 in-state, $6,505 out-of-state*
Eastern Washington University 4-year, public; fringe town Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene,
Expanded Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Degree Completion Program,
Master of Science in Dental Hygiene
$7,933 in-state, $18,678 out-of-state*
Lake Washington Institute of Technology 4-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene,
Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Completion Program
$3,875 in-state, $9,061 out-of-state*
Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom 2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Dental Hygiene,
Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
$3,777 in-state, $8,967 out-of-state*
Seattle Central Community College 4-year, public; large city Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene $3,893 in-state, $9,083 out-of-state*
Shoreline Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Arts and Science in Dental Hygiene $3,947 in-state, $6,595 out-of-state*
Yakima Valley Community College 2-year, public; small city Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene $3,820 in-state, $4,214 out-of-state*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator.

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