4 Year Dental Hygiene Programs

There are a variety of dental hygienist programs designed to allow students to enter the field of dental healthcare and earn diplomas, certificates and degrees. The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene is typically chosen by those who have completed certification or an associate’s degree to advance their career opportunities in this field.

The Bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene may be sought by those who are working as dental hygienists or even students wishing to enter the field without previous experience. The main requirement is a high school diploma or GED. This is a 4-year program and the first couple of years are based on studies such as liberal arts, math, social and natural sciences. This is in preparation for the upcoming courses that will include:

  • Oral pathologies
  • Radiology
  • Dental anatomy
  • Preventative oral health care
  • Community health
  • Dental materials

The degree will allow those who successfully graduate from the program to become involved in education or health programs, research or to perform in a clinical practice. In order to earn the Bachelor’s degree a certain number of credit hours in various courses will be required.

Courses for the Bachelor of Science Degree Program

Some programs are restricted to those who are in their final semester of the Associate of Science program and with the approval of the director of the Bachelor of Science degree program. This will depend on what program is chosen and the state in which the student resides.

Other requirements to enter the Bachelor degree programs may include that the student is a graduate of a dental hygiene program that is accredited by the ADA. In addition, it may be mandatory that they hold an Associate’s degree and possess an active dental hygienist license. There are also requirements that include a certain number of general education credit hours.

Expanding on the courses that are required to earn this degree, some of the ones that will be taken after admission to the Bachelor of Science degree program may include:

  • Group Dynamics and Human Relationships – This allows students to develop skills in team building, leadership and communication.
  • Research Methodology – A fundamental knowledge of the methods used in oral health research as well as the analysis of this research will be the focus of this course.
  • Public Health and Special Populations – The exploration of population characteristics and social responsibility in addition to working with certain Population groups in public health are covered in this course.
  • Professional Communications – This course is intended to allow students to develop communication and writing skills that will be needed in a professional capacity with an emphasis on oral communication.
  • Dental Public Health Administration – This is a course that teaches the fundamental ideas of leadership skills used within oral health programs, legal, ethical and financial considerations and program management.

When choosing to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree, this opens the field of dentistry to a number of opportunities. The graduates of these programs may go on to work in marketing, research, management or sales within the oral health industry.

They may decide to become dentists or directors of dental hygienist programs. The student may choose a career within the state or federal government. The possibilities are endless and this career move will result in better working conditions and better earning potential.