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Dental Hygiene

Located on Palm Beach State's Lake Worth campus, this 21-month Associate in Science degree program provides high-quality education in Dental Hygiene at an affordable cost.  As a state college, our tuition is a fraction of what private schools cost.

Where You Study Matters - A Nationally Accredited Program

  • Palm Beach State's Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (ADA CODA) and approved by the Florida State Board of Dentistry (FBOD)
  • This limited access, two-year program begins yearly in late August (fall term). The program itself is approximately 21 months in length, not including the time necessary to complete the required General Education and non-technical program core courses. It is structured as a daytime program only and offered on the Lake Worth campus.
  • Students enrolled in the Dental Hygiene program provide preventive dental treatment to community patients in our state-of-the-art dental clinic on the Lake Worth campus as part of the core curriculum.
  • Successful completion of the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination qualifies graduates to take a state or regional licensing exam, which is required for licensure
  • Graduates are awarded an Associate in Science degree in Dental Hygiene.
  • This program transfers into Palm Beach State College's Bachelor of Applied Science program in Supervision and Management. For more information, visit
  • In addition, transfer agreements with other colleges and universities allow students to transfer course or program credit into a four-year program. For information on transfer agreements, visit

When you also consider our experienced and credentialed instructors, small class sizes and up-to-date dental facilities, you will see why Palm Beach State is the smart place to start your Dental Hygiene career.

What is a Dental Hygienist?

Dental Hygienists are licensed oral health care professionals who focus on preventing oral diseases and protecting teeth and gums by treating patients directly. They perform varied responsibilities, ranging from dental cleanings to x-rays administration to patient education. Dental hygienists enjoy being in high demand, creating their own schedules, and earning a good income.

Dental Hygiene as a Career

  • Dental Hygienists are licensed, preventive oral health care professionals who provide educational, clinical, research, administrative and therapeutic services that support total health by promoting optimal oral health.
  • Dental Hygienists work in a variety of settings such as private dental offices, hospitals, managed care organizations, federal and state municipal health facilities, long-term care facilities, nursing homes and schools.
  • Licensed Dental Hygienists work as clinical practitioners, educators, researchers, administrators/managers, consultants and business owner/operators.
  • Changes to our overall health system make this one of the fastest growing, high demand health professions, and employment opportunities are excellent.

Job Prospects

  • A rewarding career for caring people, dental hygiene is also one of the nation's most in-demand occupations.
  • Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow 38 percent through 2020. This projected growth ranks dental hygienists among the fastest growing occupations, in response to increasing demand for dental care and the greater use of hygienists.
  • The median annual wage of dental hygienists was $68,250 in May 2010.

What does a dental hygienist do?

A dental hygienist is a health care professional who deals with the oral health of people. Each state has its own regulations regarding licensing and the range of services performed by dental hygienists. Some of the common duties of a dental hygienist are:

  • perform oral health care assessments, including oral cancer screening
  • keep patients' dental and health history
  • take dental radiographs (x-rays)
  • remove plaque and calculus ("tartar") from gumline using dental instruments
  • apply cavity-preventive agents such as fluorides to the teeth
  • administer local anesthetic
  • educate patients on proper oral care techniques to maintain healthy teeth and gums

However, there are other jobs performed by dental hygienists, including working as researchers, educators, consultants and administrators.

Preparation and Requirements

Training begins by enrolling in an accredited dental hygiene education program at a college or university. Palm Beach State's Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (ADA CODA) and approved by the Florida State Board of Dentistry (FBOD)

After graduation, you are required to take a written national board examination and a state or regional clinical examination before you are licensed to practice. The "RDH" or Registered Dental Hygienist credential identifies a dental hygienist as a licensed oral health professional.

Program Start Date: The Dental Hygiene program has fall entry only:

Application Deadline: June 3, 2019

Fall classes start in mid-August

Program Length: 21 months in length, not including the time necessary to complete the required Natural Sciences and General Education courses.

Program Credit Hours:

The program consists of:

  • Program Required Natural Sciences courses = 18 credits
  • Required General Education courses = 18 credits
  • Required program courses = 52 credits
  • Total = 88 credits

Program Location: Lake Worth campus (4200 Congress Ave.)

Program Schedule: Monday - Friday; full-time days. Program cannot be taken part-time. Classes and labs are held during the day, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., with some variation according to semester.

Number of Seats: Approximately 24 students are accepted into the program once a year. Classes begin each Fall term.

Point System for Selection:

Once all general admission criteria have been satisfied, a point system is utilized for selection of students to the program. In the event of a tie, the Natural Science GPA will be used.

Point System
Classes required to enter the program Points awarded
Average of Natural Science Program Required Courses (No rounding of scores.) 2.0-4.0 points
Completion of Required General Education Courses (With a grade of "C" or higher.)  
Mathematics Requirement (see Area III General Education Courses) 1 point
Humanities Requirement   (see Area II General Education Courses) 1 point
ENC1101 College Composition I 1 point
PSY2012 General Psychology 1 point
SPC1017 Fundamentals of Speech Communication 1 point
SYG2000 Introduction to Sociology 1 point


Extra points available to applicant
Status Points awarded
College Degree (Associate degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution) 1 point
U.S. Veteran (applicant must submit copy of DD214 indicating honorable discharge) 1 point
Palm Beach County Resident ( Applicant must attach copy of current government identification or   Florida State identification/Drivers License with Palm Beach County address to earn points) 2 points 
Maximum Points Possible                 14 POINTS

Please Note: all general education courses must be completed with a "C" or better by the application deadline in order to be awarded a point in that area.

Instructors and Facilities: Students receive instruction by credentialed dental professionals. Laboratory and clinical classes are held in a state of the art dental clinic located on the Lake Worth campus.

Program Costs: As a public institution, Palm Beach State's tuition is affordable--see Student Costs. Tuition and other costs also are reviewed at our Information Sessions.

Financial Aid: Financial aid is available for this program and it is recommended that you apply early at In addition, there are a limited number of scholarships available through the Palm Beach State College Foundation (

Graduation Diploma: Graduates will receive an Associate in Science degree in Dental Hygiene.

Professional Licensure: Successful completion of the National Board Dental Hygiene Written Examination qualifies graduates to take a state or regional licensing clinical exam which is required for licensure.

Accreditation: The programs in dental assisting and dental hygiene are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.  The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.  The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at 312-440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.  The Commission's web address is:

The program is also approved by the Florida State Board of Dentistry for the purpose of providing continuing/advanced education and expanded duties training for Dental Hygienists and Dental Assistants.

Program Curriculum: Please see Program Information Sheet for more details on Dental Hygiene courses, including links to course descriptions.

Required Course Sequence
Note: All Natural Science and General Education Program Required Courses must be completed with a "C" or higher by the application deadline date.

Associate in Science degree in Dental Hygiene (AS 2151)
Costs are approximate & subject to change.

The program consists of:

  • Required Natural Sciences = 18 credits
  • General Education = 18 credits
  • Required program courses = 52 credits
  • Total = 88 credits

Tuition Rates (Per Credit and Clock/Contact Hour)


Dental Hygiene Program Costs:
Expense First Year Second Year
Dental Hygiene First Year Second Year
Tuition (see above) 31 credits 21 credits
Textbooks $1000.00 $1000.00
Uniforms $300.00 $100.00
Instruments $2500.00 $2000.00
Miscellaneous $1000.00 $2000.00
Total (estimate) $15,000.00    



What is Required to Get Started?

You must hold a standard high school diploma or GED.

Ready to Apply?

Please download and read the Dental Hygiene Limited Access Application. This document contains:

  • Full details on entry requirements and steps for meeting requirements
  • Instructions on completing necessary applications for both the College and program
  • Review of applicant point system for selection
  • The Dental Hygiene program application (last page of document); a separate online College application must also be completed by first-time students.

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