Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Wisconsin

Dental hygiene is a growing field that offers a well-paying, rewarding career track for those who like to work with their hands and with patients on a daily basis. In Wisconsin, numerous school and training options for dental hygiene are available to those who wish to enter the field.

Dental hygienists generally perform tasks such as cleaning teeth or applying bandages to sutures in the mouth. To become a licensed dental hygienist in Wisconsin, it’s necessary to complete training and take licensure exams, which will certify you as a licensed or Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH).

Find information on dental assistant schools in Wisconsin here

Requirements

Anyone who wants to become a dental hygienist must train in an accredited dental hygiene program and pass a standardized licensure exam. Only schools that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) can give students eligibility to take the national dental hygiene exam. Most dental hygiene programs are two-year associate’s degrees, though other degree options are available.

Dental Hygienist Training and Educational Programs

Ideally, study in a program accredited by CODA so that you gain eligibility to take your licensure exams upon graduation. The Wisconsin Technical College System offers a number of Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene options across the state. Here are examples of a few available programs:

  • Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC). Located in downtown Milwaukee, this school offers an accredited Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene. Like many dental hygiene programs, you may need to have completed certain prerequisites. For MATC, it is required that students finished high school or earned their GED with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, and took at least one year of biology and one year of chemistry classes in high school.
  • Madison Area Technical College. This school’s Truax campus offers an Associate Degree in Applied Science for Dental Hygiene. The school’s website states that most students must attend classes full-time. The only prerequisites for this school are the completion of a high school diploma, GED or associate’s degree. The cumulative GPA for these school records must be at least 2.0.

Licensure to Become a Dental Hygienist in Wisconsin

After graduating from school, Wisconsin dental hygienists must pass the National Board Examination as well as a regional licensing exam. Acceptable licensing exams in Wisconsin can be accredited by:

  • Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA)
  • The Council of Interstate Testing Agencies, Inc. (CITA)
  • Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. (CRDTS)
  • The Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA)
  • The Western Regional Examining Board, Inc. (WREB)

Popular Programs

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

A good number of Wisconsinites worked as dental hygienists in 2017, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that 4,950 dental hygienists were employed that year throughout the state. They earned a strong mean hourly income of $31.21, similar to the national mean income for this field. The BLS also predicts that employment in this field in Wisconsin will grow 9.9 percent by the year 2026.

AreaTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Appleton, WI240$29.60$61,570
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI6,320$36.77$76,490
Duluth, MN-WI280$29.42$61,190
Eau Claire, WI170$33.23$69,120
Fond du Lac, WI60$31.83$66,210
Green Bay, WI320$30.95$64,380
Janesville-Beloit, WI100$31.70$65,930
La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN180$31.48$65,480
Madison, WI680$31.92$66,400
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI1,390$31.15$64,790
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI3,360$35.13$73,070
Oshkosh-Neenah, WI120$30.66$63,770
Racine, WI60$30.81$64,090
Sheboygan, WI90$30.23$62,880
Wausau, WI190$29.47$61,300

Working as a Dental Hygienist in Wisconsin

By far, the best place to find a job in Wisconsin as a dental hygienist is the Milwaukee area, which employed 1,340 dental hygienists in 2017. The highest paid dental hygienists in the state were in Eau Claire and Sheboygan. Even if you don’t stay in Wisconsin forever, with a nationwide projected career outlook of 20 percent, a career in dental hygiene is bound to offer opportunities well into the future.

College and University Listings

Appleton, WI

Fox Valley Technical College

1825 N Bluemound Dr, Appleton, Wisconsin 54912-2277
(920) 735-5600
http://www.fvtc.edu/public/academics/degree.aspx?plan=10-508-1

The Associate’s program at Fox Valley Technical College is offered at their campus in Appleton in Outagamie County. This program of study is ADA accredited. The majority of the school’s 10,974 students are on 2-year programs. In-state tuition is approximately $4,152 per year. Tuition for out-of-state students is $5,985.

Madison, WI

Madison Area Technical College

1701 Wright St, Madison, Wisconsin 53704-2599
(608) 246-6100
http://madisoncollege.edu/program-info/dental-hygienist

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Madison campus. This program of study is accredited by the ADA. Of the 16,139 students, about 0% are postgraduates. Typical in-state tuition is approximately $3,914 per year, while out-of-state students will pay $5,747.

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

Milwaukee Area Technical College

700 W State St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233-1443
(414) 297-6370
http://www.matc.edu/health_sciences/degrees/dental-hygiene.cfm

The Associate’s program at Milwaukee Area Technical College is taught at their Milwaukee campus. This program of study is accredited by the American Dental Association. The majority of the school’s 18,118 students are on 2-year programs. Typical in-state tuition fees are approximately $4,153 per year. Tuition for students from other states is $5,986.

Wausau, WI

Northcentral Technical College

1000 Campus Dr, Wausau, Wisconsin 54401-1899
(715) 675-3331
http://www.ntc.edu/programs-courses/associate-degrees/health/105081

The Associate’s program at Northcentral Technical College is offered at their campus in the city of Wausau. This program of study is ADA accredited. This private, not-for-profit college has about 4,764 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. Typical in-state tuition fees are approximately $4,025 per year, while students from other states will pay $5,858.

Green Bay, WI

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

2740 W Mason St, Green Bay, Wisconsin 54307-9042
(920) 498-5400
http://www.nwtc.edu/academics/degrees/health-sciences/dental/Pages/DentalHygienist.aspx

The Associate’s program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is offered at their campus in the city of Green Bay. This program of study is accredited by the American Dental Association. Most of the school’s 9,944 students are on 2-year programs. Typical in-state tuition is approximately $4,059 per year. Fees for students from other states are $5,892.

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

Waukesha County Technical College

800 Main Street, Pewaukee, Wisconsin 53072-4601
(262) 691-5566
http://www.wctc.edu/programs-and-courses/health/dental-hygienist/index.php

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Pewaukee campus. This program of study is accredited by the American Dental Association. The majority of the school’s 10,286 students are on 2-year programs. In-state tuition fees are approximately $3,885 per year, while the fees for students from other states are $5,718.

La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN

Western Technical College

400 Seventh St. North, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601
(608) 785-9200
http://www.westerntc.edu/programs/program.aspx?PROGRAM_NBR=105081

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s La Crosse campus. The majority of the school’s 4,798 students are on 2-year programs. In-state tuition is approximately $3,989 per year. Tuition for students from other states is $5,822.

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