Dental Hygiene

Job Description
A career as a dental hygienist offers a wide range of opportunities. In the dental office, hygienists work together with dentists and assistants to meet the oral health needs of patients. New York State has its own specific regulations regarding the responsibilities, and range of services performed by a dental hygienist. Link to NYSED S.6606. Definition of Dental Hygiene.

Hygienists are in demand in general dental practices and in specialty practices such as periodontics, orthodontics or pediatric dentistry. They also may be employed to provide dental hygiene services for patients in hospitals, nursing homes and public health clinics.

Depending upon the level of education and experience achieved, dental hygienists can apply their skills and knowledge to other career activities such as teaching hygiene students in dental schools and dental hygiene education programs. Research, office management and business administration are other career options. Employment opportunities also may be available with companies that market dental-related materials and equipment.

Education/Training & Admission Requirements

Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of community college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving an associates degree. Receipt of this degree qualifies the hygiene student to take the national licensing exam (NBDHE) as well as the state or regional exam (NERB).  After passing these exams with a 75 or better, the hygiene student is eligible to apply for a NYS license to practice dental hygiene.

University-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs.

Dental hygiene program admission requirements vary depending upon the specific school. High school-level courses such as health, biology, psychology, chemistry, mathematics and speech will be beneficial in a dental hygiene career. Most programs show a preference for individuals who have completed at least one year of college. Some baccalaureate degree programs require that applicants complete two years of college prior to enrollment in the dental hygiene program. Contact the particular dental hygiene program of interest to you for specific program requirements.

New York State has several ADA accredited dental hygiene programs. We have listed just the programs in Upstate New York. Visit each school's website for specific program information, or contact the Program Administrator to arrange for a tour of the clinical facility. 
For a complete listing of all dental hygiene programs throughout the country click here.
Broome Community College
P.O. Box 1017
Binghamton, NY 13902
Program Administrator: Ms. Maureen Hankin
Phone: (607) 778-5393
SUNY at Canton School of Sciences, Health and Professional Studies
125 Brookley Road
Rome, NY 13440
Program Administrator: Ms. Pamela P Quinn
Phone: 315-336-3484
Admission Criteria
also offered at SUNY Canton:
Bacchalaureate in Dental Hygiene
Program Administrator Dr. Susan Willette
Phone: 315-386-7405
Monroe Community College
1000 East Henrietta Road
Rochester, NY 14623-5780
Program Administrator: Dr. David Lawrence
Phone: 585-292-2761
Hudson Valley Community College
80 Vandenburgh Avenue
Troy, NY 12180
Program Administrator: Ms. Judith Romano
Phone: (518) 629-7442

Erie Community College, North Campus
6205 Main Street
Williamsville, NY 14221-7095
Program Administrator: Dr. Joseph Sowinski
Phone: (716) 851-1390

Limited Permits:

According to NYS Education Law Chapter 502 of the Laws of 2010 dental hygiene graduates may now practice dental hygiene with a limited permit. Limited permits are intended and designed for two purposes in all professions: 1) to allow a person to engage in restricted practice for a limited duration from the time they graduate from their professional education program and satisfy all other licensure requirements to the time they pass a licensing examination; and 2) to generally allow a person two chances to pass such a licensing examination. Under the new law, all practice under a dental hygiene limited permit must be under the personal supervision of a licensed dentist in New York – no general supervision is allowed. The new dental hygiene limited permit law operates the same way as limited permit laws do in all the other professions. In order to qualify for a limited permit, the dental hygienist must have satisfied all other requirements for licensure, except for having passed the licensing examination. The limited permit is issued for one year and may be renewed at the discretion of the New York State Education Department for one additional year. The purpose of the renewal provision is generally to allow a person at least two chances to prepare for and take the licensing examination. Because a dental hygienist with a limited permit must always be under the personal supervision of the dentist, dentists now have the option to hire dental hygienists with limited permits.

To apply for a limited permit contact the NYS Education Dept at 518-474-3817 ext 550 or download the application.

Currently Practicing Hygienists:

  • All programs listed provide the Local Anesthesia course for practicing dental hygienists.
  • The Central New York Dental Conference hosts a course for the hygienists annually. This year's course. 
  • Hygienist seeking employment please check our Classifieds.
  • Hygienists wishing to post a resume in our Members Only section of the site. Contact.
  • Hygienists wishing to volunteer for the New York State Fair. Contact.