Dental Hygienists work primarily in dental offices and are supervised by dentists. They advise and educate patients, examine and clean their mouths, and help detect signs of oral diseases. They use a variety of tools, such as air-polishing devices, x-rays, and ultrasonic tools. Some dental hygienists that have additional training can also work as dental therapists. For more information on dental hygienists, please see the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Please note that the University of Maryland College Park does not grant bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene, so students should plan to transfer to the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in order to complete their degree. The UMD Health Professions Advising Office only advises students interested in pursuing the Bachelor of Dental Hygiene at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Students interested in transferring to this program should review the UMSOD webpage before reaching out to the HPAO for advising.
An associate’s degree in dental hygiene is required in order to become a dental hygienist. These programs take approximately 3 years to complete. There are bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well, and the University of Maryland School of Dentistry has a “2+2” program for a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene.
The University of Maryland School of Dentistry also has an accelerated Bachelor of Dental Hygiene to Master of Public Health program, which allows students to work towards their MPH while in the dental hygiene program.
The University of Maryland School of Dentistry also has the “Clinical Dental Hygiene Leader" dual-degree program located on the Shady Grove campus. The program offers exceptional students with a science background the opportunity to become leaders in a dynamic oral health profession that specializes in dental hygiene. Upon completion, the candidate would be awarded a B.S./M.S. Dual Degree in Clinical Dental Hygiene Leader program.
The UMD Health Professions Advising Office only advises students interested in pursuing the Bachelor of Dental Hygiene at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Students interested in transferring to this program should review the UMSOD webpage before reaching out to the HPAO for advising.
Application requirements for the Dental Hygiene Program at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry include:
- 57 credits of prerequisite courses. At least 16 science prerequisite credits (20 is highly recommended) must be completed at the time of application*
- Anatomy and Physiology I & II (with lab)
- General Biology (with lab)
- General Chemistry (with lab)
- Microbiology (with lab)
- Organic Chemistry (with lab)
- Technical Writing
- English Composition
- Public Speaking
- Human Growth and Development
- Social Sciences
- Dental Hygiene Baccalaureate Program Application
- Signature Form
- Application Fee
- 2x2 Photo
- Dental Hygiene Shadowing Form
- Official Transcripts
- Two letters of recommendation (one from a science professor and one from a dentist or dental hygienist)
* In addition, there are many Minors that cover topics critical to expanding understanding of the various determinants of health. Coursework related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion can be helpful in developing cultural awareness, cultural humility, and an understanding of systemic discrimination in the health care system. Even if your academic plan does not permit adding a minor, it is worth reviewing the curated course lists for courses that will stretch you, increase your language for difference and disparity, show your intellectual curiosity, and improve your critical reasoning skills.
No clinical experience is required for the UMSOD application to Dental Hygiene programs. However, it is always a good idea to shadow within your chosen field. This allows you to gain experiences and insight into your future career.
We also highly recommend you gain community service experiences.
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