Dental Hygiene Entry Level Program

The Ohio State University offers you all the benefits of an education at a Big Ten university with the professional learning environment at a highly regarded dental college. 

Our four year program will prepare you for practice and licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist and provide a foundation of evidence based research skill to help you provide the best quality care to your patients. You will also engage in many specialty department rotations throughout the dental school, as well as community service and outreach activities as part of a well-rounded education. 

Please take a look at the information on our website to become familiar with our admissions requirements and process. If you have questions, please join us for one of our virtual admissions overview sessions that are held on various afternoons throughout the spring and summer. You can find information and register for these events on our calendar. Additionally, you are always welcome to submit a question to an admissions counselor.

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene

Program Length

4 years (2 + 2 curriculum)

Application Deadline

January 22

International Students

Yes

DHY Entry Level Program Admissions Overview

College of Dentistry alumni give back! Their generous contributions allow us to proudly offer scholarship opportunities to students enrolled in the Entry Level Dental Hygiene program.

Because of the generosity of our alumni, we have four full tuition scholarships available to students in each entering entry level dental hygiene class. Note that our scholarships are competitive, modest, and in most cases, nonrenewable. Receipt of a Dental Hygiene scholarship in a previous academic year does not guarantee an award for the following year. 

All Dental Hygiene students are encouraged to also complete the University application through OSU Scholarship Universe. The priority application date is February 1, 2024 for all University students.

 

Accreditation

The bachelor of science in dental hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”. 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 60611-2678. The Commission’s web address is: coda.ada.org.

Disclosure of Licensure and Certification Information

Ohio State academic programs are designed to prepare students to sit for applicable licensure or certification in Ohio. If you plan to pursue licensure or certification in a state other than Ohio, please review state educational requirements for licensure and certification and state licensing board contact information at odee.osu.edu/students/state-authorization#licensure. Click on the link for State Dental Boards. 

The Practice of Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene Class group photo

A dental hygienist is a licensed, preventive oral health dental professional. As a dental hygienist, you will work with the dental team in the prevention and control of dental disease, as well as provide education, clinical and therapeutic services supporting total health through the promotion of oral health.

Practice Settings

A dental hygienist may work in such practice settings as:

  • Private dental offices and dental clinics
  • Federal, state and local health departments
  • Hospitals and nursing homes
  • School districts or departments of education
  • Educational programs for dental hygiene and dental assisting students
  • Private business and industry
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private and public centers for pediatric, geriatric and other individuals and groups
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Dental Service Organizations

Dental Hygiene Functions

Although legal dental hygiene functions vary from state to state, some of the functions routinely performed by a dental hygienist include, but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring of patient's health history, including blood pressure
  • Thorough examination of the teeth and oral structures, including a soft tissue exam
  • Removal of calculus, stain and plaque from above and below the gum line
  • Application of caries preventive agents such as fluorides and sealants
  • Providing plaque control instructions and development of individualized oral hygiene programs for home care
  • Offering dietary analysis and counseling
  • Exposure, processing and interpretation of dental x-rays
  • Placement of temporary fillings and periodontal dressings, removal of sutures, and polishing and recontouring amalgam fillings
  • Educating the individual patient, the general public and special population groups about the importance of good oral hygiene habits
  • Oral cancer and blood pressure screening
  • Designing and implementing community dental hygiene programs
  • Placing and carving of filling materials (expanded functions)

For more information about career opportunities in dental hygiene, visit the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) career information page.

Scope of Practice

The dental hygienist gains recognition as a health professional on a team working to serve the public by satisfying the need for dental service and education.

Salary and benefits vary with employment settings, geographic location and the dental hygienist's training and experience. Median pay nationally for dental hygienists is $37.41/hour (as of 2021). Most employers also offer additional benefits such as health insurance and paid vacations. The availability of full-time and part-time employment opportunities and flexible work hours are also advantages of the profession.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygiene is one of the 20 fastest growing occupations.

Qualifications

Dental hygienists must be licensed by the state in which they practice. Licensure requirements vary by state. In general, dental hygienists must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program and earn passing scores on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and state or regional examinations. 

Visit the Ohio State Dental Board web site for more information about licensing in the State of Ohio. 


Ohio State academic programs are designed to prepare students to sit for applicable licensure or certification in Ohio. If you plan to pursue licensure or certification in a state other than Ohio, please review state educational requirements for licensure and certification and state licensing board contact information at http://go.osu.edu/disclosures for online programs and https://odee.osu.edu/students/state-authorization#licensure for on-campus programs.