Nebraska Dental Hygiene Career Information

With the field of dental hygiene predicted to grow 20 percent nationally by 2026, it’s never been a better time to pursue a job in the field. Dental hygienists focus on dental cleaning and oral health, unlike dentists, who focus on diagnosing and treating dental disease and perform dental repairs. These professionals are trained to efficiently clean teeth, perform dental x-rays and administer nitrous oxide, among other services. Usually, dental hygienists and dentists work together as a team to offer a full spectrum of care to patients. (For information on dental assistant schools in Nebraska see this page.)

Steps to Becoming a Dental Hygienist

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) states that in order to become licensed to practice dental hygiene, one must:

  • Successfully complete at least an associate’s degree in dental hygiene at a school accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
  • Pass the written National Board Dental Hygiene Exam (NBDHE) and a Board-approved regional practical exam with scores of at least 75 percent

Score at least 75 percent on the Nebraska Jurisprudence exam, which measures the applicant’s knowledge on Nebraska dental laws and regulations

Nebraska Schools for Dental Hygiene

There are only two CODA-accredited schools in Nebraska:

  • Central Community College (CCC). This school is located in Hastings, NE, and offers an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. Students at this school train in a supervised clinic setting, where they are able to hone skills on real patients. To gain acceptance to the program, students must first be accepted to CCC and complete prerequisite courses in Health Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Composition.
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry. Located in Lincoln, this school offers a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. Two years of prerequisite courses must first be completed, and once accepted into the program, it takes two more years of study to complete the dental hygiene B.A. degree.

Additional Dental Hygienist Licensing

After obtaining a basic Nebraska practice license, dental hygienists may wish to pursue licensing for additional functions such as dental restoration, prescription-writing of dental rinses and fluorides, and Public Health Authorization for treating children. These expanded scope functions can be achieved by completing associated required courses and applying for further credentials from the NDHHS.

Salary and Career Outlook

With a mean income of $31.05 per hour, dental hygienists made more than three times the Nebraska minimum wage of $9 per hour in 2017. Besides earning a strong income, professionals in this field also have a positive career outlook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the job demand for these oral health professionals will increase by 16.2 percent by the year 2026.

Popular Programs

What It’s Like to Work as a Dental Hygienist in Nebraska

Generally, cities with higher populations will have greater need for dental hygienists, as is the case in the state of Nebraska. In 2017, Omaha and Lincoln employed the highest number of dental hygienists, followed by the Northeast and Central Nebraska nonmetropolitan areas. However, the highest paid dental hygienists in the state that year were employed in the Southeast Nebraska nonmetropolitan area.

To gain valuable career insight and networking opportunities, dental hygienists may wish to join the Nebraska Dental Hygienists’ Association (NDHA), an offshoot of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. This is a network connecting thousands of oral health professionals across the state and country. Because the number of dental hygienists is ever-expanding throughout the U.S., maintaining membership in the NDHA can offer distinction to those who wish to gain leverage in the field.

College Listings

Grand Island, NE

Central Community College

3134 West Hwy 34, Grand Island, Nebraska 68802-4903
(308) 398-4222

The Associate’s program at Central Community College is offered at their campus in the city of Grand Island. This private, not-for-profit college has approximately 7,283 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. In-state tuition is approximately $2,700 per year. Tuition for students from outside Nebraska is $3,900.

Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA

Creighton University

2500 California Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska 68178
(402) 280-2700

The Bachelor’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Omaha campus. Of the 7,736 students, about 48% are postgraduates. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. Tuition fees at this school are around $34,330 per year. Fees for students from other states are $34,330.

University of Nebraska Medical Center

987815 Nebraska Medical Ctr, Omaha, Nebraska 68198-7815
(402) 559-4000

The University of Nebraska Medical Center at Omaha offers a Bachelor program in Dental Hygiene. This is a full, 4-year private college with 3,655 students, of which 23% are undergraduates. This four-year program leads to a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene. For admission to the Dental Hygiene Program students are required to have completed approximately two academic years of study at any accredited college.

Scottsbluff, NE

Western Nebraska Community College

1601 East 27th Street, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69361-1899
(308) 635-3606

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Scottsbluff campus. The majority of the school’s 2,230 students are on 2-year programs. Typical in-state tuition fees are approximately $2,388 per year, while fees for out-of-state students are $2,724.

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