Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Utah

To work as a dental hygienist in Utah, you will need to be licensed through the state. The first step is to complete an accredited post-secondary program. The work it takes to become a hygienist is well worth the benefits you’ll get from this rewarding career. Employed by a dentist, you can expect to work with patients, doing cleanings, taking X-rays and providing education and preventative care.

Requirements for Licensing in Utah

Each state in the U.S. sets its own requirements for being licensed and working as a dental hygienist. The Utah Department of Commerce’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing is responsible for taking applications and awarding licenses for dental hygienists. You will have to have a completed degree from an accredited dental hygiene program as well as passing scores on national and state exams for your application to be accepted.

Dental Hygiene Programs

The first step in the process of becoming a dental hygienist in Utah is to enroll in and complete an appropriate educational program. Utah requires that the program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Utah has several CODA-approved programs from which you can choose. Many are competitive because of demand, so be sure you meet all the entry requirements before applying. (See this page for information on dental assistant schools in Utah.)

  • Salt Lake Community College, West Jordan. Located just outside of Salt Lake City, the West Jordan campus offers students an associate’s degree program that takes two years to complete on a full-time schedule. Just 24 students are admitted to the program each fall. In addition to coursework, students complete a clinical experience and work in a community dental setting.
  • Utah College of Dental Hygiene, Orem. Located in the town of Orem, this college is exclusively dedicated to educating dental hygienists. There are education prerequisites, but they can be in progress at the time you apply to the program. Unlike most other programs, this one confers a bachelor’s degree. The curriculum is intensive and takes just 20 months to complete and earn the degree.
  • Utah Valley University, Orem. Also in Orem, Utah Valley University offers both an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. The second option is designed for students completing the two-year degree and can be done online. Students work in a community clinic to practice their skills, and nearly 100 percent of graduates go on to pass the Board exams for licensing.

Utah Dental Hygienist Licensure

Before you can work as a hygienist in the state, you will have to become licensed. Earning a degree from a CODA-accredited program is the first requirement. When you apply with the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, you will send your transcript as proof of completion.

You will also need to have your results for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and for a regional clinical examination. The National Board Exam is a multiple choice test, while the clinical exams test your skills in a clinical setting. You may also choose to include anesthesia administration in your licensing, which requires passing an additional test.

Once your application has been approved, you will need to maintain it by renewing every two years. The state requires that hygienists complete 30 credit hours of continuing education for each renewal period. The Utah Dental Hygienists’ Association is a good resource for applicable courses.

Popular Programs

Job Prospects and Salaries in Utah

Growth in jobs for dental hygienists is 20 percent across the U.S. In Utah, the growth is even stronger at more than 28 percent. There are expected to be about 740 new jobs added for qualified hygienists through 2026. There is great demand for licensed professionals, so finding a position in the state should not be difficult.

Because of the training and licensing required, and because of the high demand, you can expect to earn a great salary as a dental hygienist. In 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hygienists in Utah earned an average of $69,720 annually. Top earners made more than $84,270 that same year.

Working as a Dental Hygienist

Dental hygiene work is people-oriented. You will be working directly with patients and dentists. It can be physically demanding, requiring you to be on your feet a lot and doing a lot of bending and twisting to reach tough spots.

You shouldn’t have a problem landing your first job as a dental hygienist in Utah. Anywhere there is a dental office, from rural areas to the big city, there are opportunities. Of course, you can expect to have more options in large population centers, especially in and around Salt Lake City, Provo and Orem.

College Listings

Provo-Orem, UT

Careers Unlimited – Utah College of Dental Hygiene

1176 South 1480 West, Orem, Utah 84058
(801) 426-8234
https://www.ucdh.edu

The Bachelor program at Careers Unlimited is taught at their Orem campus. The majority of the school’s 118 students are on 4-year programs. Fees at the college are around $49,395 per year. Tuition for students from outside the state of Utah is $49,395.

St. George, UT

Dixie State University

225 S 700 E, Saint George, Utah 84770-3876
(435) 652-7500
https://health.dixie.edu/dental-hygiene/

The Bachelor’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Saint George campus. This program of study is accredited by the American Dental Association. Most of the school’s 8,840 students are on 4-year programs. In-state tuition is approximately $4,291 per year, while tuition for out-of-state students is $12,307.

Salt Lake City, UT

Fortis College-Salt Lake City

3949 S 700 E Ste 150, Salt Lake City, Utah 84107
(801) 713-0915
https://www.fortis.edu/campuses/utah/salt-lake-city/3949-south-700-east-suite-150-salt-lake-city-ut/dental-hygiene.aspx

The UndergraduateCertificate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Salt Lake City campus. This program of study is accredited by the American Dental Association. The college has around 388 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. Tuition fees at this college are around $14,363 per year. Tuition for students from outside Utah is $14,363.

Salt Lake Community College

4600 S Redwood Rd, Salt Lake City, Utah 84123
(801) 957-4111
http://www.slcc.edu/dentalhygiene/

The Associate’s program at Salt Lake Community College is taught at their Salt Lake City campus. The majority of the school’s 29,997 students are on 2-year programs. In-state tuition is approximately $3,342 per year. The fees for students from outside Utah are $10,594.

Provo-Orem, UT

Utah Valley University

800 W University Parkway, Orem, Utah 84058-5999
(801) 863-8000
https://www.uvu.edu/catalog/current/departments/allied-health/dental-hygiene-bs/

The Bachelor’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Orem campus. This program of study is accredited by the ADA. Of the 31,562 students, about 0% are postgraduates. In-state tuition is approximately $5,086 per year. Fees for students from other states are $14,256.

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