Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Delaware

Dental hygienists are medical workers who, along with dentists, help patients maintain healthy teeth. They perform tooth cleanings, discuss oral health with patients and assist dentists during a variety of dental procedures. Hygienists working in Delaware must hold a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) license.

State Requirements

Those who would like to work as dental hygienists in Delaware must attend an educational program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), which will qualify them to sit for the national dental hygiene exam. In addition to this standard licensing exam, applicants must take the Delaware Practical Board Examination, during which they will work with live patients, before receiving their license.

Dental Hygienist Programs

Most dental hygiene programs consist of two-year associate’s degrees, which can be taken at community colleges or technical schools. The program must be CODA-accredited to qualify the student for the national licensing exam. These popular programs are available in Delaware and Maryland:

  • Delaware Technical Community College. Delaware Tech is the state’s only CODA-accredited program. The associate’s degree program combines in-class and hands-on learning and is available at the school’s Wilmington campus.
  • Community College of Baltimore County. The Community College of Baltimore County, located in nearby Maryland, prepares students for national, regional and state examinations in dental hygiene. Students in the two-year program spend time working in the school’s on-campus clinic for real-world practice.

For information on dental assistant schools in Delaware, see this page.

Gaining Licensure

Delaware-based dental hygienists must pass the National Board Examination and the Delaware Practical Board examination. After passing these exams, applicants will be considered registered dental hygienists and may begin working in the field. Applicants who are licensed in another state will be required to complete a clinical exam before their license can be transferred.

Popular Programs

How Much can I Earn and What is are my Career Prospects?

The dental hygienist profession is growing, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipating a 7.2 percent increase in the field in Delaware during the 10-year period from 2016 to 2026. Dental hygienists working in Delaware typically receive an average annual salary of $77,160.

AreaTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Dover, DE110$30.42$63,280
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD4,400$35.02$72,840
Salisbury, MD-DE280$38.22$79,490

Working as a Dental Hygienist in Delaware

When working as a dental hygienist, you will interact with new people every day, help provide them with dental care and give information about dental health. Dental hygienists are able to work in the medical field with less formal training than is typically required of other healthcare workers, allowing them to enter a challenging and fast-paced career right away. While higher-paying positions are often found in larger cities, such as Wilmington and Dover, Delaware, due to the higher cost of living in metropolitan areas, dental hygienists are in demand throughout the state, wherever there are dental offices.

Delaware College Listings

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/Wilmington

333 N. Shipley Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801
(302) 571-5300
https://www.dtcc.edu/academics/programs-study/dental-hygiene

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Wilmington campus. This private, not-for-profit college has around 7,216 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Typical in-state tuition fees are approximately $3,380 per year, while students from other states will pay $7,910.

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