Dental hygiene is career field that's in demand. Most dentists employ at least one hygienist to help with tasks such as cleaning teeth and taking X-rays. To enter this career, you must have a degree. Programs are offered at large public universities, small private colleges and vocational career-training schools throughout the United States. Begin your path toward a long, stable career by attending school.

Missouri Southern State University

Missouri Southern State University offers an associate of science degree in dental hygiene and a master of science program. The associate program requires 86 credits to graduate. Students get hands-on practice in the school's dental clinic and must see a certain number of patients each semester to continue in the program. Undergraduate classes include dental radiology, perio-pathology, nutrition, radiation biology and dental morphology. The master's program is designed for students who have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and have graduated from a dental hygiene program. Classes for the program include local anesthesia and pain control, introduction to biostatistics and oral oncology.

Missouri Southern State University 3950 E. Newman Road Joplin, MO 64801 417-625-9709

Cypress College

Cypress College in California offers an associate degree in dental hygiene. For those who already have an associate, bachelor or master degree, a certificate program in dental hygiene is available. The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Classes in dental anatomy, radiology, oral pathology, community oral health and dental jurisprudence are offered. Students must receive a minimum grade of C in all required courses to continue in the program. Students will have the knowledge to qualify for a license as a registered dental hygienist upon graduation.

Cypress College 9200 Valley View St. Cypress, CA 90630 714-484-7000

University of Bridgeport

The Fones School at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut was established in 1949 as the first school of dental hygiene in the world. The school offers an associate of science, bachelor of science and master of science in dental hygiene. Upon graduation, all students are eligible to take national, regional and state exams. Both bachelor and master degrees are available online as well as at the school. Sample undergraduate courses include advanced clinical concepts, radiology, oral anatomy and pharmacology. Hands-on training is provided in the school's dental hygiene care facility.

University of Bridgeport 126 Park Ave. Bridgeport, CT 06604 203-576-4138