Becoming a Dental Hygienist in New Mexico

Dental hygienists are an integral part of the dental healthcare team, who are in high demand across New Mexico. Often working with dentists, these trained professionals perform duties such as removing plaque buildup from teeth, applying fillings and sealants and advising patients on oral healthcare. Dental hygienists work in a variety of settings, from traditional offices to non-profit dental clinics for low-income and high-need populations.


Becoming a dental hygienist in New Mexico requires education through a dental hygiene program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), the passing of multiple competency exams and the application for a license through the New Mexico Board of Dental Healthcare and Dental Hygienist Committee.

Dental Hygienist Training and Educational Programs in New Mexico

New Mexico offers options for dental hygiene associate degree programs, bachelor’s degrees and accelerated dental hygiene training programs. Some CODA-accredited school options in this state include:

  • University of New Mexico (UNM). In this university’s dental hygiene department, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (B.S.D.H.). To apply for this program, students must first complete one and a half years of pre-professional courses or previously hold an associate degree in dental hygiene. UNM also offers a master’s degree in dental hygiene for those who wish to pursue careers like dental hygiene education or administration.
  • Pima Medical Institute. With a location in Albuquerque, this medical career school offers a fast track dental hygiene program, allowing students to earn an associate’s degree in dental hygiene within two years. No prerequisites are required to enroll in this dental hygiene program.

Dental Hygienist Licensure in New Mexico

All dental hygienists must become licensed by the New Mexico Board of Dental Healthcare and Dental Hygienist Committee. In order to receive their dental hygiene license in New Mexico, applicants must:

  • Graduate from a CODA accredited training program
  • Successfully pass the Dental Hygiene National Board Exam
  • Pass a regional clinical dental hygiene exam approved by the state Board
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Successfully complete a state jurisprudence exam, which demonstrates understanding of New Mexico dental hygiene law
  • Pay associated fees for licensure and renewal

For dental assistant schools in New Mexico, see this page.

Popular Programs

Career and Salary Outlook

Dental hygienists in New Mexico earned a strong mean income of $43.14 per hour or $89,740 per year in 2017. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 1,200 dental hygienists were employed in the state in 2016. That employment rate is projected to increase 13.8 percent by the year 2026, which suggests that New Mexico dental hygienists have a favorable career outlook.

AreaTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Albuquerque, NM420$46.31$96,320
Farmington, NM90$49.38$102,700
Las Cruces, NM190$39.73$82,630
Santa Fe, NM200$38.79$80,680

Working as a Dental Hygienist in New Mexico

While the city of Albuquerque presents a wide range of training options for dental hygienists, it also employs the most dental hygienists in the state. Therefore, this might be a good location to pursue a new career in dental hygiene. The highest paid dental hygienists, however, were located in Farmington, New Mexico, in 2017. They made an average income of $48.29 per hour compared to their counterparts in Albuquerque, who earned an average of $39.85 per hour. Those who wish to become dental hygienists in New Mexico can find more information specific to the state by consulting the website of the New Mexico Dental Hygienists’ Association (NMDHA).

College Listings

Albuquerque, NM

Pima Medical Institute-Albuquerque

4400 Cutler Avenue NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
(505) 881-1234

The Associate’s program at Pima Medical Institute is taught at their Albuquerque campus. This program of study is accredited by the ADA. The majority of the school’s 942 students are on 2-year programs. The dental hygiene program has annual tuition fees of $11,294 and material costs of $714. On average the program takes 8 months to complete.

Farmington, NM

San Juan College

4601 College Blvd, Farmington, New Mexico 87402-4699
(505) 326-3311

The Associate’s program at San Juan College is offered at their campus in the city of Farmington. This program of study is accredited by the ADA. The majority of the school’s 9,463 students are on 2-year programs. In-state tuition fees are approximately $1,338 per year. Tuition for out-of-state students is $3,138.

Albuquerque, NM

University of New Mexico-Main Campus

1700 Lomas Blvd NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106
(505) 277-0111

The University of New Mexico at Albuquerque offers a Master program in Dental Hygiene. This is a full, 4-year private college with 29,033 students, of which 78% are undergraduates. Typical in-state tuition fees are approximately $6,846 per year. Tuition for students from outside New Mexico is $20,688.

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