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Dental Hygiene Degree - Associate Degree Dental Hygiene Program

Why Choose Dental Hygiene?

Successful completion of the program leads to an Associate in Applied Science degree and grants you eligibility to take the licensing examinations necessary to practice dental hygiene. The dental hygiene program is a three-year program, the first year is the pre-professional year, the second and third years are devoted to the dental hygiene professional courses.

The Dental Hygiene degree program at Ferris State is the largest in the State of Michigan and one of the largest Dental Hygiene AAS degree programs in the nation. Our dental hygiene degree program enjoys a reputation of educational excellence, with expert faculty who are recognized at the state, national and international levels within the discipline of dental hygiene for the delivery of innovative academic and continuing education.

Completion of the three-year associate in applied science degree, and final written and clinical exams enables the graduate to sit for the state licensure exam. Student clinical experiences occur within the college as the students work with patients from the University, community, and local schools in the College's on campus Dental Hygiene Clinic.

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Career Opportunities

Dental hygienists are professionals, licensed by the state in which they practice, who complete extensive educational and clinical preparation in preventive oral health care. A dental hygienist is a clinician, oral health care educator, health promoter, consumer advocate, administrator, and researcher.

The responsibilities of a dental hygienist include the development, implementation, and
evaluation of a dental hygiene plan of care that is based on the needs of the patient. Clinical services can include:

  • the evaluation and monitoring of medical and dental health histories
  • examining, assessing, and documenting oral conditions
  • exposing, processing and interpreting x-rays
  • removal of calculus and stain that form on the teeth
  • application of caries-preventive agents such as fluorides and pit and fissure sealants
  • delivery of dietary education and counseling
  • design and implementation of community or school oral health programs
  • delivery of local anesthesia and nitrous oxide

Accelerated employment growth is expected for several years in response to increasing demand for dental care. Earnings of dental hygienists are affected by geographic location, employment setting, education, and experience. The average hourly wage in Michigan is $26 - $30 per hour in private practice employment settings. Dental hygienists who work for school systems, public health agencies, the federal government, or state agencies often have substantial benefits.

AAS Degree Dental Hygiene Admission Requirements

Dental hygiene degree students must be admitted to the university. To be qualified to enter the professional sequence of the dental hygiene degree program, a student must have earned at least a 2.5 GPA with a minimum grade of a C in the following courses or their equivalent: MATH 110 (alternate MATH ACT subscore of 19 or above); BIOL 108; MRIS 102; ENGL 150; SOCY 121; CHEM 114, BIOL 205, COMM 105 or COMM 221 and PSYC 150 with a grade of C or better.

College Degree Dental Hygiene Graduation Requirements

The six-semester college dental hygiene degree program leads to an associate in applied science degree. Students must earn a grade of C or better in major and core courses and meet all the general education requirements as outlined on the General Education website.

More Information

College of Health Professions
Ferris State University
200 Ferris Drive
Big Rapids, MI 49307
Phone: 231-591-2270

Kimberly Beistle, PhD, RDH, CDA
Dental Hygiene 
Professor/Program Coordinator
200 Ferris Dr.
Big Rapids, Michigan MI 49307
(231) 591-2261

For information about accredited programs and educational requirements contact

Commission on Dental Accreditation
American Dental Association
211 E. Chicago Ave.
Suite 1814
Chicago, IL 60611