The best dental hygiene programs in California help students gather the skills to become well-rounded community medical professionals. You’ll explore several fascinating concepts in your career, ranging from assisting dentists to advising your community on health concerns. With this career, you’ll find being a dental hygienist equally rewarding as any other medical science degree.
We’ve collected five of the top dental hygiene programs you’ll find in California in this guide. Ranked from the lowest average annual cost to the highest, each of these schools meets the following criteria.
- An average annual cost of no more than $12,000
- An expected median starting salary of no lower than $30,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies or government institutions
5 Best Dental Hygiene Programs in California
1. Chabot College
2 to 4 Year; Hayward, CA
Average Annual Cost: $5,146
The dental hygiene program at Chabot College is designed to be completed within two years.
Students will be able to enroll in a learning pathway accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Upon graduation, you’ll be entering the job market with an Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene.
During your studies, you’ll explore an assortment of valuable courses, including:
- Educational Theories in Dental Hygiene
- Clinical Dental Hygiene
- Dental Radiology
- Expanded Functions for the Dental Hygienist
- Community Dental Health
Once you’ve finished your two years of learning, you’ll then move on to sit for your National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. With a passing grade, you’ll be able to pursue the career of your dreams.
Regarding the success rates of this program, in 2021, 100% of the school’s qualifying students passed their examinations.
There are multiple learning outcomes you can expect to meet at Chabot College. Students will be able to create comprehensive dental hygiene care plans while communicating effectively with patients.
You’ll also be expected to carry out your duties while complying with ethical and legal standards for patient care.
2. Sacramento City College
2 to 4 Year; Sacramento, CA
Average Annual Cost: $5,785
While attending Sacramento City College for dental hygiene, graduates will be able to pursue a career as a dental hygienist.
Your licensing will make you a clinician and oral health educator prepared to serve your community. Your job duties will generally revolve around providing therapeutic, educational, and preventative services to control oral diseases.
You will receive plenty of real-world, hands-on experience and in-class studies. Students will acquire extra clinical time, work on community projects, and attend outside lectures.
Also, it’s important to note that the Commission on Dental Accreditation recognizes this program.
Students from Sacramento City College will receive an Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene upon graduation. You’ll find your studies will be comprised of many essential classes, including:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Healthcare in a Multicultural Society
- Oral Histology and Embryology
- Head and Neck Anatomy
- Dental Materials
- Dental Anesthesia
The course selection from Sacramento City College is more advanced than other colleges. You’ll receive a well-rounded education exploring a variety of unique avenues.
Along with the core dental hygienist classes, you’ll receive exposure to the following courses:
- College Composition
3. Cypress College
4 Year; Cypress, CA
Average Annual Cost: $6,152
The central premise of the dental hygiene program at Cypress College is to help students pass their exams.
You’ll learn the fundamentals to sit for the National Board of Dental Hygiene Exam during your studies. You’ll also be prepared for the Central Regional Dental Testing Service exam.
Once you’ve finished your studies, graduates will receive an Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene degree. Like many other dental hygienist courses, you can expect to take various practical courses. These classes include:
- Dental Care for Special Needs
- Pre-Clinical Dental Hygiene
- Perio Pathology and Therapy
- Dental Jurisprudence
- Dental Specialties
- Community Oral Health
- Oral Health Assessment
- General and Oral Pathology
Another massive benefit of the dental hygiene program at Cypress College is their passing rates for the board examinations.
In 2020, 100% of their students sitting for the examination passed, pursuing their dream careers. With a passing grade, you can move onto a profitable career with a salary starting at $70,000, depending on location.
Students will get real-world experience working in the Dental Hygiene Clinic with your in-class studies. You’ll get training in all services legal dental hygienists are exposed to daily.
With this learning method, you’ll feel like you’re perfectly prepared to dive into a career upon graduation. Also, the school offers many high-tech facilities and materials for students to use.
You’ll get even more hands-on experience outside of working with actual patients in these labs.
4. College of Alameda
2 to 4 Year; Alameda, CA
Average Annual Cost: $10,342
The College of Alameda has a slightly different dental program available to students. You can still help with community health endeavors with the dental assisting program while directly assisting dentists.
The American Dental Association Commission fully accredits this program on Dental Accreditation. There are two consecutive semesters you’ll be enrolled in school, during the fall and spring.
All of your learning will prepare you for a future career as a Registered Dental Assistant. Also, the program helps to prepare students to acquire their Certified Dental Assistant license.
During your studies, you’ll develop your critical thinking skills and collaborative skills. You’ll learn the fundamentals of running a dental office while providing dental assistance to patients.
It’s also expected you have the skills needed to work as a part of a diverse dental team in various settings.
5. Cabrillo College
2 to 4 Year; Aptos, CA
Average Annual Cost: $11,130
As one of the best dental hygiene programs in California, Cabrillo College takes a unique approach to offering dental hygiene education to its students.
You can opt to enroll in the standard dental hygiene program or take free courses. The free courses provide you with a Dental Administrative Assistant Certificate.
Students will graduate with the clinical and ethical skills needed to be knowledgeable dental hygienists in the standard program. You’ll be working with a curriculum that offers a 100% pass rate with regional and national board examinations.
Overall, it’s one of the best programs to consider for your future career. Another interesting aspect of Cabrillo College is its dental tech course options.
As recent additions to the curriculum, students will be able to take these two courses as of spring 2023. There are also dental terminology and dental insurance courses to consider to further your education.