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Dental Hygiene Degree

Rewarding, intense, and challenging classroom and clinical experiences make Oregon Tech’s Dental Hygiene graduates highly prepared, highly paid, and in-demand.

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What you will Learn

With built-in opportunities to constantly stretch yourself, learn and grow, the Dental Hygiene Bachelor of Science Degree Program at Oregon Tech has a strong history of service learning and innovative educational methods that prepare students as dental hygienists, or as a stepping stone for advanced dental practice.

Oregon Tech offers:

  • Extensive hands-on dental clinic experience right on-campus – and opportunities for off-campus rotations -- provide students with high quality learning and practice of dental hygiene skills. Students work right alongside licensed practitioners and dentists in state-of-the-art facilities, treating their own patients using the latest technology, such as digital radiography, laser cavity detection, and oral cancer exams using light fluorescence
  • Active involvement in planning and managing community oral health programs — such as designing and implementing oral health promotion programs for under-served communities – prepare Oregon Tech students with four terms of valuable, real-world experiences, three times what most programs offer.
  • International externships provide exciting options for seniors to provide life-saving care for 2 weeks in countries such as Peru, Ukraine and Viet Nam
  • Oregon Tech students earn enough clinical hours to be a licensed dental hygienist with an Expanded Practice Permit when they graduate. Graduates are prepared for entry into the dental hygiene profession, eligible for state, regional and national exams leading to licensure as a registered dental hygienist, and/or an expanded practice dental hygienist in Oregon


International Externship Program

The International Externship Program (IEP) is an exciting annual opportunity for a team of senior students and an instructor to travel outside the United States on a dental care mission. Past destinations include Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Jamaica.

Learn more about IEP...

Two Campus Sites Give You Options

Oregon Tech offers its Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene at its Klamath Falls Residential Campus (southern Oregon), and in collaboration with Chemeketa Community College in Salem (45 miles south of Portland). Both programs prepare the students for entry into the dental hygiene profession, and have the same requirements and application process (see How to Apply to Oregon Tech’s Dental Hygiene Program). Upon successful completion of the program, the graduate is eligible to apply for the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination, regional clinical exams, and state licensure in every state in the U.S.

Informational Sessions

At varying times throughout the academic year, the dental hygiene program conducts an on campus informational session. As a participant you will learn more about the advantages of our program, the pre-requisite courses required, a review of the application process and a tour of the dental hygiene clinical facilities. Below of the following dates and locations.

Dental Hygiene Information Sessions (Klamath Falls Campus)
All information sessions located at:
Oregon Tech Klamath Falls
3201 Campus Drive
Klamath Falls, OR 97603
Questions? Contact Lisa Leonard, Office Manager at lisa.leonard@oit.edu
Pre-Dental Hygiene Meet & Greet Social
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Dental Hygiene Information Sessions (Salem)
All information sessions located at:
Chemeketa Community College
Building 8, Room 108
4000 Lancaster Dr NE
Salem, OR 97305

About the Program

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene



For questions, contact:

Paula Russell

Paula Russell, Department Chair, Klamath Falls Program Director

Paula Hendrix

Paula Hendrix, Salem Program Director

 Chemeketa 8 - 109D


Jobs and Careers in this degree

Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene students have several professional practice advantages that make them stand out to organizations hiring new graduates. These include:

  • Four terms of community health outreach; most programs offer less than half of this level of direct experience;
  • Earning enough clinical hours during the Oregon Tech program so that graduates qualify for the expanded practice permit in Oregon upon graduations.
  • Graduates who have opted to study restorative dental procedures at Oregon Tech have a skill set that prepares them for the endorsement in restorative function. This allows graduates to work alongside a dentist, bringing additional skills that are in-demand in the workplace.
  • Clinical rotations at many community facilities in our students’ senior year add even more real-world learning and practice experiences in off-campus settings.
  • Options for international experiences that test students’ skills in challenging settings, making them even more prepared when they graduate to excel in professional practice.

Our graduates work for:

  • Willamette Dental Group
  • Precision Dental
  • Dental Professionals
  • Advantage Dental
  • Capitol Dental
  • Community Health Centers such as: La Clinica; Salem Free Clinic; Klamath Open Door Clinic; Klamath Tribal Health
  • Many private practice dental offices

Career Paths

  • Dental Hygienist (Clinician)
  • Dentist (with additional education)
  • Dental Hygiene Educator
  • Public Health Clinician or Administrator
  • Researcher
  • Dental Practice Administrator
  • Corporate Sales/Educator

Well Paid, Highly Satisfying Work

Dental hygienists are well paid for their work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018:

  • Average salaries for dental hygienists in Oregon was $85,280.
  • Average salaries for dental hygienists in the Medford area was $87,230 and $86,800 in the Bend-Redmond area.
  • In Washington, dental hygienists earn an average of $90,690, $100,830 in California, and $74,430 in Idaho.

The top 25 percent of earners in Oregon in 2018 made annual salaries at or above $96,130, and the top 10 percent made annual salaries at or above $102,130.


An Oregon Tech degree in dental hygiene brings highly successful, rewarding careers that begin in the classroom. You'll get the experience and education to participate as a student hygienist at the on-campus Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene Clinic on real patients.

The Dental Hygiene curriculum is rigorous and requires many hours of laboratory and clinical work in addition to external study time in order to nurture both the knowledge and skills acquired to become a dental hygienist. Examples include:

Oral Radiology I

A two course series that include didactic and pre-clinical instruction in the principles and techniques of dental radiology.

Dental Ethics

Professional ethics and legal requirements of the dental profession. The Ethics of the Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene Program

Head and Neck Anatomy, Histology and Embryology

Lecture and lab course that provides an in-depth study of head and neck anatomy, histology, and embryology for the dental professional.

Dental Hygiene Clinical Practice and Seminar

Sequential courses designed to provide clinical skills essential for practice of dental hygiene, skill development of patient assessment, basic instrumentation, and individualized preventive care are emphasized.

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