Updated at: 22-03-2023 - By: Eden Wise


In the Golden State, dental hygienists have the option to be self-employed. Most hygienists in California are employed by dental offices, but some work independently, others are employed by hospitals or other healthcare providers, and still others visit patients in their homes. A dental hygienist who wants to work independently must have both a license and at least two years of experience working as a hygienist. If the prospect of a career in dental hygiene appeals to you, we have compiled a list of the top dental hygiene schools in California.

Best Dental Hygiene Schools In California

Best dental hygiene schools in california

University of Southern California, Los Angeles

One of the few dental schools in the country to offer both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in dental hygiene is the University of Southern California, which is ranked among the best in the state for dental hygienists. The dental hygiene curriculum at this university is among the best in the country.

Bachelor’s in dental hygiene

To complete this program, you will need to take 76 credits in dental hygiene-specific courses and 12 credits in general education. The clinical component of the five-semester curriculum is designed to deepen students’ comprehension of oral health.

This program offers the most effective training necessary to advance a profession in oral health.

Acquiring a master’s in dental hygiene

Participating in this program is highly recommended for dental hygienists who are interested in expanding their expertise in the field. Full-time students can complete the program in 16 months. There is a part-time option for those who need to balance work with other commitments.

West Coast University

West Coast University

The West Coast University of Health Professions is one of the smaller dental hygiene schools in California. Located in Orange County, Anaheim, California, the school has 2,510 first-years.

West Coast University provides one of the fast-track dental hygiene programs in California. In just 34 months, you can complete this accelerated program and have your Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.

The curriculum for the degree consists of both broad liberal arts courses and dental hygiene courses. Most dental hygiene programs only offer on-campus instruction, but general education requirements can be fulfilled through distance learning.

West Coast University is the quickest option for dental hygienists in California, as it grants bachelor’s degrees in only a few years.

Diablo Valley College

Diablo Valley College’s dental hygiene program takes two years to complete. The program is intensive, so students are expected to commit to attending classes all day long.

To complete this program, you must take and pass a set of required general education and core courses. After finishing these classes, you will be prepared to take the National and Regional Dental Hygiene Board Exams.

The requirements to enroll in Diablo Valley College’s dental hygiene program are high.

Concorde Career College

Concorde Career College, with 664 students enrolled, is a top dental hygiene school in California.

Concorde Career College only awards an associate degree. You need to earn 111.5 credits to complete this degree. The duration of the program is 17 months, divided into 9 terms.

In addition to classroom lectures, students in this program receive clinical training at the university’s clinic.

Carrington College

Carrington College

Furthermore, the University of the Pacific is another excellent option for those interested in pursuing a degree in dental hygiene in California. Extraordinary dental hygiene education is available from a variety of community organizations.

Carrington College is a private, for-profit institution located in San Jose, California.

Carrington College offers a dental hygiene associate degree program that can be completed in two years. The course work is designed to help you acquire the skills necessary to perform dental procedures like plaque removal, fluoride and sealant application, taking oral X-rays, and patient record keeping.

To be eligible for this program, you must earn a minimum GPA of 2.7 and no grades lower than a “C” in the required coursework at an approved college or university.

University of the Pacific, San Francisco

The San Francisco campus of the University of the Pacific is a cutting-edge facility that offers a wide variety of dental programs, a dental clinic, and a teaching philosophy that prioritizes student-faculty and community-wide collaboration. Because of its central location, getting to and from campus is easy for students.

UOP’s three-year Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program provides a well-rounded education that begins with liberal arts courses and progresses into dental hygiene-specific classes in the second and third years. Students benefit from this because they learn to think critically, adapt quickly, and function effectively as members of dental teams. A high school GPA of 2.7 or higher is recommended, and you should definitely enroll in biology, chemistry, and math classes if you want to get into this selective university.

San Joaquin Valley College, Ontario & Visalia

There are two excellent San Joaquin Valley College campuses available to prospective dental hygiene students in California. Each institution has its own dental clinic, smaller than average classroom sizes, and a well-deserved reputation for producing highly competent dentists.

The dental associate degree program at this university can be finished in just 16 months, allowing you to become a valuable member of a dental team quickly. You’ll get hands-on training with crucial technical skills like charting software, intra-oral cameras that show the inside of a patient’s mouth, x-ray methods, dental and sealant placement, fluoride application, and performing advanced scaling and root planning techniques. Extensive clinical sessions are included in the curriculum each term, beginning at 8 hours per week for the first two terms and increasing to 12-16 hours per week for the final two terms. Due to the demanding nature of the program, it is strongly advised that you not hold a full-time job during your enrollment.

Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa

A dental hygiene student at Santa Rosa Junior College learns to think critically, solve problems, and make decisions based on evidence so that they can contribute effectively to a dental team. There has been a hundred percent success rate on the licensing exam among program alums since its inception in 1999.

It takes five semesters of full-time study to earn an Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene. The curriculum is designed to shape you into a competent professional by providing you with lectures, labs, and clinical experiences at the college’s dental clinic and other community locations. Before diving into dental hygiene classes, you should finish up your general education and prerequisites, as recommended by the school. This will better prepare you for the time commitment required to finish the required core courses.

Southwestern College, Chula Vista

Southwestern College’s inclusive and welcoming environment helps future dental hygienists learn the skills they need to treat patients from all walks of life. Under the guidance of a knowledgeable and caring faculty, students are able to realize their full potential in the classroom.

Dental hygiene students at SWC can earn an associate degree in as little as two years. The classroom clinical sessions take place at the Higher Education Center in National City, and the course itself is offered annually in the fall. Due to the demanding nature of the coursework, a weekly time commitment of 60–65 hours is necessary. There is a prescribed order to courses because of the cumulative nature of learning. Clinical concepts, dental radiography, oral anatomy and physiology, periodontics, pain control, dental pharmacology, dental materials, community health, ethics and laws relevant to the dental practice, and so on and so forth are all part of the core dental hygiene coursework that accounts for the required 53 credits. Dental hygiene students like yourself will complete clinical rotations at National City’s dedicated dental hygiene clinic.

Cabrillo College, Aptos

Since its founding in 1967, Cabrillo College has been California’s premier provider of dental hygienist education. As evidence of the college’s dedication to producing successful graduates, each and every one of its students has passed their respective national and state licensure exams.

This is a full-time, two-year associate degree program in dental hygiene that begins in the summer. Classes are held from Monday through Friday during the day, and there is a cap of 22 students per year. The dental hygiene curriculum in this school covers a wide range of material, including: oral cavity anatomy, oral health education, dental materials knowledge, dental radiography, periodontics, dental terminology, dental insurance, pain management, and interim therapeutic restorations.

You need a minimum overall GPA of 2.70 and a “C” in all general education courses to be considered for this program.

West Coast University – Orange County, Anaheim

In contrast to traditional universities, West Coast University’s dental hygienist program can be completed in fewer than 34 months. It’s a way of studying meant to help you accomplish your objectives and develop to your fullest potential.

The mission of BSDH programs is to educate future dental hygienists in the fundamentals of the profession as well as the ethical and professional standards that have come to define it. While constructing on their foundation of liberal arts and science education to enrich their understanding of health and well-being.

The goal of this program is to produce dental hygienists who are dedicated to their profession, enthusiastic about learning, and capable of engaging in critical analysis.

The National Dental Hygiene Council will determine whether or not a graduate is qualified to take the regional and national accreditation exams necessary to practice as a registered dental hygienist after they have completed the program.

There is a wide range of dental hygiene programs available. For this reason alone, it’s imperative that you enroll in one of the finest dental hygiene programs in either Southern or Northern California.

Foothill College, Los Altos Hills

Foothill College, Los Altos Hills

Students in the Dental Hygiene Program at Foothill College can earn a Bachelor of Science degree and be fully prepared to sit for the National Dental Hygiene Council exam and the Dental State or Regional Dental Hygiene License Exam.

Each quarter (fall, winter, and spring), the schools accept new students into the program. Courses for this program can be taken entirely online. Students in the program can tailor their academic load by selecting anywhere from one to three courses per quarter.

For the most part, their AS to BS-DH program offers a comprehensive curriculum that involves creating a synthesis project. Additionally, the development of abilities in analytical thinking, composition, conversation, cultural awareness, discovery, and reporting.

In addition, the curriculum will be designed to help dental hygienists work together with other medical professionals in a way that is professional, respectful, and beneficial to patients’ health.

Twenty-four first-semester units from an approved apprenticeship program may be transferred to Foothill College toward a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration degree.

The curriculum of dental hygiene schools varies greatly. Therefore, it is even more important that you enroll in one of the Best Dental Hygiene Schools in Southern or Northern California.

Taft College, Taft

The mission of the Dental Hygiene Program at Taft College is to educate future dental hygiene professionals in the art of providing comprehensive care for their patients, both in terms of their dental health and their overall well-being.

Taft College’s dental hygiene program prepares its students for state and national board exams.

The need for oral health professionals is rising as awareness of the importance of both preventative and restorative dental care expands around the globe. People with dental hygiene degrees from Taft University are in high demand.

The dental hygiene program at Taft has earned recognition from the Dental Accreditation Commission. In the spring of 2023, an accreditation team will pay another visit.

The program has also been sanctioned by the California Dental Hygiene Board.

The courses that make up a dental hygiene program make for a wide range of options. All the more reason to enroll in one of the best dental hygiene programs in either Southern or Northern California.


Where do Dental Hygienists Work in California?

Although dental hygienists in the state of California (16,960 strong) have the option of working independently thanks to the profession’s expanded scope of practice, the vast majority of hygienists in the state are still employed by dentists. They get to put their skills to use in an independent setting as part of a dentist’s team, without having to deal with the business end of things. Many dental hygienists also choose to work part-time because of the profession’s adaptability and the ease with which it can be combined with other commitments in one’s life. The remaining 380 California dental hygienists are spread out between medical facilities and private practices.

What is the ideal degree for a dental hygienist?

Dental hygienists must have at least an associate’s degree in the field and often a state license to practice. If you want to advance in your career, you should think about getting your bachelor’s or master’s degree in dental hygiene.

In the USA, are dental hygienists in demand?

The job outlook for dental hygienists is bright, with a projected 9% increase in demand between 2021 and 2031. On average, 16,300 new jobs will need to be filled by dental hygienists over the next decade.


One of the best things that can happen to you is to get a job as a dental hygienist in the Golden State. It’s possible that dental hygienists in California will be in charge of putting up preventative measures.

in addition to counseling on how to best treat patients and teaching them about good oral hygiene. This is true not only in the diagnosis of oral diseases and lesions but also in the administration of good dental hygiene.

The curriculum of dental hygiene schools varies greatly. If anything, this should convince you even more to enroll in one of the excellent dental hygiene programs available in both Southern and Northern California.