A dental hygienist sits next to a patient while wearing a face covering

Dental Hygienist - Associate Degree

As a graduate of the Dental Hygienist program, you can choose to practice as a registered dental hygienist in any of the following settings: private practice, long-term care facility, public school system, or public health department – on a full-time or part-time basis. Dental hygienists perform dental cleanings, apply preventative agents, expose radiographs, perform local anesthesia and teach patients oral care. The Dental Hygienist program is accredited by the American Dental Association-Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Program Code: 105081
Home » Academics and Training » Dental Hygienist
Area of Study: Health Sciences

Program Costs & Financial Aid

See costs of tuition, books, and supplies.

This program is fully eligible for financial aid.

Estimates based on in-state residency. Learn more about tuition and fees.

Explore Locations

Offered At:


  • Day
  • Full-time

How do I get started in this program?

Requirements for Program Entry

  • For instructions on how to get started, download the application checklist for this program.

Application Checklist

What are my courses?


Students following the study plan below will complete the Dental Hygiene associate degree in the number of semesters shown.

Total Credits 70
  • Curriculum Note: Students must earn a "C" or higher in all 10-508-XXX courses. A student who withdraws or receives a grade lower than a "C" in a program course may apply for re-entry into the program. Consideration for re-entry will be at the discretion of the re-entry team.
  • Students must earn a "B" or higher in General Anatomy & Physiology, Intro to Biochemistry, and Microbiology. A student who withdraws or receives a grade lower than a "B" in these courses may apply for re-entry into the program. Consideration for re-entry will be at the discretion of the re-entry team.
  • The credit for 10-890-101, College 101 is an Institutional Requirement for graduation. Consequently, it is not part of the program credit requirements, but must be passed with a "C" or better.

Program Outcomes

  • Model dental hygiene professional code of ethics.
  • Counsel clients/patients to reduce health risks.
  • Provide community oral health services in a variety of settings.
  • Manage infection and hazard control.
  • Assess data on all aspects of patient/client health using methods consistent with dental hygienist scope of practice and legal principles.
  • Formulate a comprehensive dental hygiene care plan in collaboration with the client and other health professionals.
  • Provide preventive and therapeutic services that promote oral health according to the needs of the patient/client.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented client/patient dental hygiene care plan.

What careers are in my future?


Graduate Employment

with 89% in field


Median Starting Salary

Source: NWTC Graduate Outcome Survey

Employment Potential

A registered Dental Hygienist may practice dental hygiene in a health department, private practice, long term care facility, or school. Graduates may find employment on a part-time or full-time basis.

Employment opportunities with additional education

  • Dental Hygiene Instructor
  • Public Health Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Laboratory Technician
  • Dental Sales
  • Dental Insurance Review Analyst

What's next after graduation?

Start here. Finish at a four-year.

NWTC transfer programs are offered through collaborative agreements with our four-year college and university partners. See where your associate degree credits will transfer.

What else do I need to know about the program?


The Dental Hygienist program is accredited by the American Dental Association - Commission on Dental Accreditation 211 East Chicago Avenue Chicago, IL 60611-2678 (312) 440-2500

Industry Credentials

Prior to licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist, a student is required to pass the Dental Hygiene National Board Examination and a Regional Practical Exam.

Clinical Experience

  • Students will be required to purchase a uniform, instruments, and cover any other expenses (including travel) related to clinical experiences.
  • Students will be required to submit immunization documentation. A fee is charged for this service. Additional information will be provided upon acceptance into the program.

Wisconsin Caregiver Law

NWTC is required to comply with the Wisconsin Caregiver Law (1997 WISCONSIN ACT 27). The completion of a caregiver background check includes the review of criminal records for convictions of serious crimes or a history of improper behavior. Students accepted into this program must complete a background check through www.viewpointscreening.com/nwtc AND complete a Background Information Disclosure (BID) form disclosing any acts, crimes, or convictions prior to program entry and/or clinical, practicum, field experience. The information provided in the BID form must be truthful and match any findings on the criminal record check. Information regarding this process is provided to students immediately upon acceptance into the program. Please review your entry/admission checklist. Students with a criminal history may be denied access to placement at the discretion of the clinical, practicum, or field experience site. Consequently, should a student have a history of convictions of serious crimes or a history of improper behaviors, NWTC cannot guarantee clinical/practicum/field experience placement or guarantee graduation.

Study Abroad Opportunities

The International Programs staff continually seeks opportunities for students to travel abroad for educational experiences that may be offered in association with program courses.

Learn more about upcoming study abroad opportunities.

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Classes wherever you have an internet connection. 

  • An in-person career experience, such as an internship, practicum, or credit for prior learning, may be required.
  • Some online courses may be held at specific dates/times.
Classes between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Classes between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
A combination of online classes and Saturday and/or Sunday classes.
12 or more credits per term.
Fewer than 12 credits per term.