Become a Dental Hygienist in Alabama

Job growth prospects for the Dental Hygiene profession are excellent and now is a good moment to start your training in Alabama. [Seguir leyendo en Español]

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, statewide demand for Dental Hygienists is expected to increase by around 19% for the decade between 2014 and 2024. Find out about dental assistant schools in Alabama

While growth has slowed slightly, the job outlook is still one of significant growth. Indeed, demand is likely to increase much faster than for other professions.

State Requirements

To become a Dental Hygienist in Alabama, you must be licensed by the Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama. (There is no separate “Alabama Board of Dental Hygiene”). Licensure may be achieved by one of three routes: Licensure by Examination for Instate Applicants, Licensure by Examination for Out-of-State Applicants and Licensure by Credentials. Surprisingly, Alabama is the only state not to require you to take the ADA’s National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. However, if want to be able to work in any state, this exam is essential.

Licensure by exam requires you are required to have postsecondary education which includes 90 hours of semester credits in a pre-dental curriculum that incorporates 12 semester hours of English, 8 of Physics, 8 of Biology, 16 of Chemistry and 6 of Math. Additionally, you must have attended a degree hygiene program that is approved by the Board. (Note that, at the time of writing, the program does not have to be accredited by The American Dental Association’s (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation – CODA), or have completed the Alabama Dental Hygiene Program (ADHP)*. You must then pass any regional exam that meets the Board’s criteria. Those criteria specify the inclusion of a periodontal examination section on a live patient and a prosthodontic examination section that includes the preparation of abutment teeth on a manikin for a fixed prosthesis wherein the bridge draw is evaluated. ADHP students must complete the Alabama Dental Hygiene Board Exam administered by CITA.

*The Alabama Dental Hygiene Program (ADHP) is not “Preceptorship” program, which would infer that the program is informal and unstructured. It is a highly organized and structured academic program. Note that graduates are limited to practicing in Alabama and may not take the National Dental Hygiene Exam. Completion of the course takes a year and includes 180 hours of instruction in anatomy, physiology, instrumentation, radiology, periodontal disease, inflammatory process, surgical procedures, emergency, public health, and ethics.


  • Applicants must supply a photo, proof of Hepatitis B immunizations or Titer, proof of current CPR status, proof of completion of two hours infectious disease training within the last two years and a $325 application fee.
  • In-state applicants must supply proof of residency in the form of an Alabama driver’s license or your voter registration card.
  • Out-of-state applicants must first undergo a background check by submitting an application to Professional Background Information Services (PBIS). Only when that verification is complete (it may take 45 to 90 days) will the application to the Board be processed. They must also pass the Alabama jurisprudence exam.
  • All applicants are required to provide verification of citzenship of or legal presence in the United States.
  • Licensure by credentials also requires a PBIS background check. Board fees for this type of application are $1,000 for dental hygienists. Requirements include engagement in clinical dentistry or dental hygiene, or in full time dental or dental hygiene education for the five years or 5,000 hours immediately prior to application. You hold a current and valid license in a state whose examination standards are considered by the Alabama Board to be equivalent. This includes any state that requires passing parts I and II of the National Dental Board Examination, and therefore includes almost every U.S state. You must also be a graduate of Board-approved dentistry or dental hygiene school. This will normally be a CODA-accredited school.

Bear in mind that teaching or research in Dental Hygiene will require at least a Bachelors or Masters degree.

Popular Programs

Dental Hygienist Salaries by Area

The average salary for Dental Hygienists in Alabama in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $44,760, or $21.52 per hour. As you would expect, the highest concentration of dental hygienist jobs is found in Birmingham. However, about a third of all jobs in the state are found in the smaller cities of Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville.

AreaTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL110$21.46$44,640
Auburn-Opelika, AL100$20.04$41,680
Birmingham-Hoover, AL970$22.30$46,380
Columbus, GA-AL210$26.82$55,790
Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL130$22.12$46,000
Decatur, AL100$21.58$44,890
Dothan, AL100$23.77$49,450
Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL100$19.76$41,100
Gadsden, AL110$16.74$34,820
Huntsville, AL410$22.66$47,130
Mobile, AL290$19.96$41,510
Montgomery, AL260$20.33$42,300
Tuscaloosa, AL100$23.31$48,490

Well-known Schools

Options for studying Dental Hygiene in Alabama are limited. The US Department of Education informs that there are two colleges offering Dental Hygiene programs in the State.

Birmingham, AL

About 45 minutes’ drive north of Birmingham, in the city of Hanceville in Cullman County is Wallace State Community College. The College’s Health Division offers an Associate in Applied Science program in Dental Hygiene. The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, which qualifies graduates to take the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination. Graduates who successfully complete the National Board Exam are qualified to take any State or Regional licensing examination. Once completed their degree, students at Wallace State can consider transferring to the University of Alabama in Birmingham, where four-year degrees and graduate programs are on offer. The University of Birmingham does not currently offer a dental hygiene program (last update 2016).

Fortis College is a private, for-profit college and offers a dental hygiene program in Birmingham. Their location on the southwest of the city is convenient for Hoover, Talladega and Alabaster.

Montgomery, AL

The US Department of Education does not currently recognize any dental hygiene programs as available in Montgomery.

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Cullman, AL

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Dental Hygiene

Cullman, AL

George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville

801 Main St NW, Hanceville, Alabama 35077-2000
(256) 352-8000

The Associate’s program at George C Wallace State Community College is offered at their campus in the town of Hanceville. This program of study is accredited by the American Dental Association. This private, not-for-profit college has about 5,391 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. In-state tuition is approximately $4,200 per year. The fees for students from outside Alabama are $7,530.

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