Dental Hygiene Schools in PA with Program Overviews

Pennsylvania has 11 schools that offer dental hygiene programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for ten of the largest schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

Pennsylvania-based students may choose to earn an education in dental hygiene resulting in an associate's degree; a certificate programs and a bachelor's degree in the field are also offered. Degree programs include general education requirements in addition to classroom instruction and lab training in dental hygiene; clinical experiences are common in most programs. Minimum grades in major classes may apply.

Career Requirements

A license is required to work as a dental hygienist in Pennsylvania. Aspirants in the field must first complete an accredited dental hygiene program and then pass the Northeast Regional Board and National Dental Hygiene Board exams.

Overviews of the dental hygiene programs at ten of the largest Pennsylvania schools are provided below. All of these programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.


Community College of Philadelphia

The Community College of Philadelphia offers an associate degree program in dental hygiene at its Philadelphia campus. This program lasts two years and provides students with the skills they need to work with patients in clinical and educational oral health settings. Students learn about assessing patient needs, performing procedures and using dental equipment. Hands-on clinical training is required and can be completed on campus. Graduates are prepared to take both regional and national exams to obtain licensure and become professional dental hygienists. Students must earn 83 credits to obtain this degree.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,800 in-district, $9,120 in-state, $13,440 in-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large city

Harcum College

Harcum College in Bryn Mawr has a dental hygiene program that requires the completion of 85 credits. Attendance during the summer sessions is mandatory, and students can complete the six-semester program in two years. Students must receive a minimum grade of C in every dental hygiene and science course. Classes in the program include topics in dental radiology, dental anatomy, periodontics and pharmacology.

  • Programs Offered: Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $20,500*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb

Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg

At the main campus in Harrisburg, this community college offers a dental hygienist associate degree program that requires completion of 83 credits for graduation. Students start their clinical education and see patients during their first year of training. The rotations they attend during their second year include one site that treats adults and a second site that treats children. Courses required for the dental hygiene major include pharmacology, periodontics, dental materials, pain control and medical/dental emergencies.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Arts in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $5,055 in-district, $6,870 in-state, $9,945 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; small city

Luzerne County Community College

Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke offers an associate degree program that trains dental hygienists through classroom, laboratory and clinical training. This is a 79-credit program that prepares students for the exams required to obtain a license to practice dental hygiene in Pennsylvania. Students can graduate from this 6-semester program in only two years by attending classes during the summer. This school also provides continuing education courses for dental hygienists on topics like coronal polishing and local anesthesia.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,600 in-district, $6,810 in-state, $10,020 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Manor College

Jenkintown-based Manor College provides a dental hygiene program that requires students to maintain at least a C average in order to continue to each subsequent level. The curriculum covers topics such as nutrition, oral communication, dental anatomy, community dentistry and medical sociology. Graduates who want to expand their skills and learn to install dental fillings can enroll in the college's EFDA (expanded functions dental assisting) program. Continuing education courses are available at this school as well.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene,
    EFDA Program
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $14,620*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb

Montgomery County Community College

The dental hygiene associate degree program at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell requires 70 semester hours for program completion. Students receive their clinical education in the school's dental hygiene facility on campus. The curriculum covers subjects like human anatomy and physiology, oral tissue histology and pathology, dental hygiene theory and practice, dental anatomy and dental radiology.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,050 in-district, $7,710 in-state, $11,370 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Northampton County Area Community College

Bethlehem's Northampton County Area Community College provides an associate degree program with dental hygienist training. Students earn 72 credits in classroom and clinical training to receive this degree. The curriculum includes courses in preventive oral health, oral histology, community dental health and microbiology.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,570 in-district, $7,830 in-state, $11,610 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Pennsylvania College of Technology

Located in Williamsport, the Pennsylvania College of Technology offers associate and bachelor's degree programs in dental hygiene, in addition to continuing education courses. Students in the associate degree program can earn the degree in two years by attending for five consecutive semesters. The Bachelor of Science program is a degree completion program and 38 additional credits beyond an associate degree. Admission to the dental hygiene bachelor's degree completion program requires graduation from a dental hygiene program, a passing grade on the Dental Hygiene National Board exam and a dental hygiene license.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene,
    Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $14,370 in-state, $18,000 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus

The University of Pittsburgh offers a certificate program in dental hygiene and a dental hygiene bachelor's completion program at its campus in Pittsburgh. Core curriculum in the certificate program features dental anatomy, radiology and healthcare ethics courses. Additional classes cover the basic sciences, including biology and chemistry, along with nutrition, pharmacology and public health dentistry. The College of General Studies and School of Dental Medicine jointly offer the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. This program provides students with an education in the basic sciences and liberal arts on top of core dental hygiene requirements. This program prepares students to expand their career opportunities to other areas, such as education, sales and research.

  • Programs Offered: Dental Hygiene Certificate,
    Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $23,958 in-state; $38,982 out-of-state**
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

Westmoreland County Community College

Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood has an associate degree program in dental hygiene that requires students to complete 78 credits of coursework. Topics include nutritional biochemistry, histology, embryology and oral pathology. There are also courses on head, neck and dental anatomy. Clinical education is also required. This program can be completed in five semesters.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,330 in-district, $6,210 in-state, $8,910 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

School Comparison: At a Glance

School NameSchool Type and SettingDental Hygiene Programs OfferedUndergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)
Community College of Philadelphia2-year, public; large city Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene$4,800 in-district, $9,120 in-state, $13,440 in-state*
Harcum College 2-year, private not-for-profit; large suburbAssociate Degree in Dental Hygiene$20,500*
Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg2-year, public; small city Associate in Arts in Dental Hygiene$5,055 in-district, $6,870 in-state, $9,945 out-of-state*
Luzerne County Community College2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene$3,600 in-district, $6,810 in-state, $10,020 out-of-state*
Manor College2-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene,
EFDA Program
$14,620*
Montgomery County Community College2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene$4,050 in-district, $7,710 in-state, $11,370 out-of-state*
Northampton County Area Community College2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene$3,570 in-district, $7,830 in-state, $11,610 out-of-state*
Pennsylvania College of Technology4-year, public; small city Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene,
Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
$14,370 in-state, $18,000 out-of-state*
University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus4-year, public; large city Dental Hygiene Certificate,
Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
$23,958 in-state; $38,982 out-of-state**
Westmoreland County Community College2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene$3,330 in-district, $6,210 in-state, $8,910 out-of-state*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus.

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