Best Dental Hygiene Schools in Michigan – 2024

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

According to Section 333 of the Michigan Public Health Code, licensed dental hygienists may only provide services if they’re supervised by a licensed dentist. Some exceptions are made: For example, a hygienist may provide services to underserved populations through programs provided by government or nonprofit agencies without the physical presence of a dentist so long as that hygienist has access to a dentist should issues arise. Dental hygiene in the Wolverine State is a job that’s flexible enough to meet any lifestyle and has a bright future. Interested in pursuing this career choice? We’ve ranked the best dental hygiene programs in Michigan to help you get started.


Five Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Dental Hygiene Schooling

Make no mistake: Attending a dental hygiene school in MI in challenging in terms of money and efforts. Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of this educational opportunity.

• Get a jumpstart on foundational science: The core classes for a student hygienist are the basic science classes that every health care professional needs to study in school such as biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology. Brush up on these subjects before you enroll in a hygienist program.

• Don’t pass up the opportunity to take interesting electives: In addition to your required coursework, your program may offer electives like radiology and anesthesiology. Specialized skills are the key to career advancement.

• Take full advantage of skills labs: The didactic component of your hygienist education will consist of coursework and skills labs where you’ll actually have the chance to practice the procedures your instructors have been lecturing about. Skills labs are safe places where you can hone your skills before you work with patients. Take full advantage of them.

• Go slowly in clinical rotations: One mistake that many student hygienists make when they finally work with patients is to try to do too much too fast. Remember: Your clinical rotation has a learning curve. You don’t need to know it all on the first day.

• Take a communications class: Many patients have a fear of sitting in the dentist’s chair. Knowing how to talk with them will help them relax and make your job easier.

Dental Hygiene Program Length & Cost in Michigan

The cost of your dental hygiene program in the state of Michigan and the length of time you spend in school will depend upon whether you’re pursuing an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. An associate degree typically takes between 20 and 30 months to complete and will set you back between $3,490 and $38,770. A four-year bachelor’s degree from a state-subsidized school may cost as little as $16,170 if you’re a Michigan resident and as much as $70,910 at a private college or university. If you want to pursue a career in teaching, research or public health administration, you may want to get a master’s degree; that will take between one and two years to complete and cost you anywhere between $21,080 and $65,100.

Type of Program Length Cost
Associate Degree20 - 30 Months$3,490 - $38,770
Bachelor's Degree4 - years$16,170 - $70,910
Master's DegreeBetween 1 and 2 years$21,080 - $65,100


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, below are the 9 best dental hygiene programs in Michigan. The list includes both campus-based and online programs.)

1) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan Schools of Dentistry prepares students to excel in the demanding dental hygiene field by providing with a rigorous training program. Students go through extensive clinical and intraprofessional learning experiences at various specialty clinics.

U-M currently offers three types of dental hygiene programs -

Bachelor of Science Degree: This program, offered in spring is an entry-level course that requires completion of a total of 120 credits. Before you apply, you are required to complete a 35-credit pre-requisite coursework.

Degree Completion-Bachelor of Science: This program is designed for individuals who hold a certificate or associate degree in dental hygiene. The coursework builds up on your professional knowledge and skills and greatly expands your career avenues. You can complete the 36 credits required for this program, either in an online or on-campus format.

Master of Science Degree: The Master’s program is completed over a period of 24 months and is offered in an online or on-campus format. The 36 credits coursework is taken in a sequence and prepares graduates for leadership roles in education, research and community health settings. Additionally, the college offers a teaching fellowship each year, for one eligible candidate who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.

2) University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit

University of Detroit Mercy’s small-sized classes provides for effective one-on-one mentorship under the able guidance of its expert faculty. Students are encouraged to engage in a-number-of community service initiatives where they work with a diverse patient population and gain valuable hands-on experience.

UD Mercy currently offers three options for aspiring dental hygienists

Pre-Dental Hygiene: This two-year pre-dental program with courses in general education and natural sciences prepares you for the professional dental hygiene program. You will take these courses at the McNichols campus. To be eligible for this program, you must have earned a high-school GPA of at least 2.70.

Professional Dental Hygiene Program: With this program, you will graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Dental Hygiene. It is a two-year, six-semester curriculum that is taken after students complete pre-requisite courses at either the university or from any other accredited institution. Classes include dental and dental hygiene courses, research methods and laboratory training. Your skills will be further enhanced by serving the community at several clinical locations.

Degree Completion Program: This program is designed for dental hygienists who have completed their associate degree and are looking at expanding their professional knowledge by completing a bachelor’s degree. The curriculum builds on your past knowledge, taking you through well-rounded coursework that include research methods, advanced clinical knowledge, and skills in periodontics.

3) Ferris State University, Big Rapids

Ferris State University has been offering quality dental hygiene education since 1967. Its state-of-the-art facilities and a 30-seat on-campus dental clinic offer a rich learning experience. Moreover, the college’s student-centric initiatives such as financial aid and many student organizations make this educational journey a rather pleasant one.

Ferris State offers the largest dental hygiene program in Michigan. This associate degree can be completed in around three years. To be eligible for the professional sequence of this degree you must complete courses in math, biology, English, sociology, chemistry, psychology with a minimum grade “C.” The coursework will thoroughly prepare you with knowledge and skills to perform tasks such as - examination and evaluation of patients, processing dental x-rays, application of sealants and fluoride, removal of plaque and stains, administration of local anesthesia and counseling the patient about the right nutrition to maintain optimum oral health. To earn your degree, you must pass all the professional courses with a minimum grade “C.”

4) Baker College, Flint

Armed with an experienced faculty and state-of-the-art lab and teaching facilities, Baker College provides a nurturing environment where dental hygiene students strive towards achieving their individual academic goals. The outstanding pass rates on the national and state licensing and certification examinations are a testament of the high-quality education it offers.

You can enter the allied dental filed with this associate degree, offered by Baker College. The full-time program prepares you with the skills and knowledge required for an entry-level position as a dental hygienist. Upon completion of this program, you will be eligible to take the national and state licensure exams. The 54 credits dental hygiene curriculum includes courses in dental histology, principles of dental hygiene, oral anatomy, dental materials, oral pathology, dental radiography, dental pain, and anxiety control, dental law and ethics and periodontics, microbiology and sociology.

5) Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Community College is a reputed dental hygiene school in Michigan that trains students to become professional and ethical members of a dental team. It also greatly encourages lifelong learning through participation in various professional organizations and community service drives.

The dental hygiene program offered by the college is an associate degree and takes about three years to complete, the first year being the pre-dental coursework, followed by two years of professional coursework in dental hygiene. Some students even opt to complete these courses simultaneously, but it is certainly not recommended as it interferes with your professional coursework study schedule. To progress through the program, you must complete all the courses with a minimum grade “C.” To be eligible for this program you must have a high school GPA of 2.33 and complete courses in biology and chemistry in your high school with a minimum grade “C.” Upon completion of this program, you will be able to work as entry-level dental hygienists at a variety of settings that include dental offices, hospitals, community health centers, correctional facilities, and dental schools.

6) Lansing Community College, Lansing

Lansing Community College’s commitment towards providing excellent dental hygiene education is apparent from its many initiatives towards the professional and personal development of its students. A state-of-the-art on-campus dental clinic, student-friendly services and a caring faculty that works towards a result-oriented outcome, is what you sign-up for when you enroll at Lansing Community College.

To help you in your endeavor to become a dental hygienist in MI, the college offers a two-year associate degree that is delivered in an on-campus and hybrid format. The program starts each fall and admits a limited number of students, who progress together as a cohort, taking courses in a sequence. Graduation requires completion of a total of 79 credits. Before starting with the dental hygiene courses in fall, you must preferably complete courses in anatomy, microbiology, biology, English, chemistry, math, psychology and physiology. This will lower your academic burden and provide for a comfortable pace of study. Upon graduation, you will become proficient in examining and evaluating patients, exposing and processing dental x-rays, applying fluoride and sealants, and administrating local anesthesia and nitrous oxide.

7) Oakland Community College, Bloomfield Hills

Oakland Community College offers a well-rounded dental hygiene education where graduates demonstrate competence in skills such as critical thinking, communication and evidence-based decision-making that are vital in effectively treating a diverse patient population. Additionally, the college’s agreement with the University of Detroit and other universities allows an easy transfer of credits towards a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. This works well for those interested in seeking higher education, later on.

To enter this promising allied dental field, OCC offers an associate degree in dental hygiene that takes two years to complete. To successfully sail through this program, the college recommends completing high school courses in biology, math, chemistry, psychology, and English. The dental hygiene curriculum is rigorous and fast paced and requires a time commitment of at least two hours per week for each credit hour. Your coursework includes dental anatomy, dental histology, dental office procedures, nutrition, dental radiography, oral pathology, periodontics, dental materials, administration of local anesthesia, dental specialties, dental law and ethics, dental therapeutics and public dental health.

8) Mott Community College, Flint

Mott Community College provides a conducive learning environment with its state-of-art facilities and a dental clinic where low-cost dental services are offered by students under the expert guidance of dentists and registered dental hygienists. This learning experience goes a long way in preparing graduates with job-ready skills.

The dental hygiene program offered by the college requires three years of study. This 84-credit curriculum is a blend of biological, behavioral, dental science and dental hygiene courses. The first year will include pre-dental courses such as inorganic chemistry, microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, safety and emergency response, sociology and public speaking. The second and third year will be dedicated to dental hygiene coursework that will teach you to communicate with patients, examine and evaluate their oral cavity, process dental x-rays, educate patients about the right nutrition for optimum dental health, administer local anesthesia and apply sealants and fluoride. Upon graduation will be able to function as an efficient member of a dental team, working under the jurisprudence of dental laws and ethics.

9) Wayne County Community College District, Detroit

Wayne County Community College provides affordable dental hygiene education and trains students to serve patients with professional competence. Furthermore, its diverse student population aid in creating culture sensitive healthcare professionals, a quality that goes a long way in treating patients from varied backgrounds.

You can enter the dental field by completing this two-year associate in dental hygiene. The program is offered each fall and admits only a limited number of students, who progress through it as a cohort. This intensive curriculum requires completion of a 51-credit pre-requisite coursework prior to starting your professional coursework. The 83- credit professional/dental hygiene coursework spans across six semesters and covers subjects such as periodontology, community dentistry, dental biomaterials, dental radiology, medical and dental emergencies, and clinical dental hygiene. Out of these 83 credits, 22 credits are in eight courses that prepare you for the local anesthesia certification exam.


Dental Hygienist Career Information For Michigan - 2024

How Many Dental Hygienists are Currently Employed in MI?


Where do Dental Hygienists Work in Michigan?

Since dental hygienists must work under the oversight of a licensed dentist, it’s not surprising that more than 7,000 hygienists in the Wolverine State work in dentists’ offices. Hygienists provide preventative dentistry services while dentists perform restorative services. In some offices, hygienists also provide simple cosmetic dentistry services such as removing stains from teeth. As noted above, under Michigan’s scope of practice laws, hygienists can also provide direct access services to underserved populations so long as they are able to communicate directly with a dentist if they need to; in this capacity, 90 hygienists work with various community health initiatives while another 70 hygienists are based in physicians’ offices.

IndustryNumber of Dental Hygienists
Offices of Dentists7,010
Offices of Physicians70

What is the Average Salary of a Dental Hygienist in Michigan?

The average dental hygienist salary in Michigan is $70,190 annually. Since hygienists typically work in dentists’ practices, benefit packages can vary greatly. Many hygienists choose to work 20 hours or less a week, and part-time employees are usually ineligible for benefits.

Type Salary
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Salary Based on Years of Experience

Years of Experience Hourly Monthly Annual
Less than 1 year (Starting) $28.55 $4,950 $59,380
1-4 years $31.13 $5,400 $64,760
5-9 years $34.93 $6,060 $72,660
10-19 years $37.08 $6,430 $77,130
20 years or more $38.54 $6,680 $80,170
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Dental Hygienist Average Salary Comparison: Michigan vs. National

Dental hygienists in Michigan make substantially less than the national average. This may reflect the fact that Michigan still hasn’t recovered from the hit to its manufacturing base several decades ago. State residents may not be able to afford preventative dentistry services for which they have to pay out of pocket, so the demand for those services may be less.

Michigan National Difference
Number %
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Job Outlook

The demand for dental hygiene services in the Wolverine State is expected to rise by nearly 11 percent by the year 2030. Michigan is one of the states that is affected by a dentist shortage, and preventative care services such as those provided by hygienists may reduce the need for the restorative services that dentists provide. Indeed, Michigan recently passed legislation authorizing a new class of dentistry providers called dental therapists whose scope of practice includes providing fillings and replacing crowns. This is a field that Michigan hygienists looking for career advancement may want to investigate.

Employment Employment Growth (2020-2030)
2020 2030 Number Percent
(Source: careeronestop)

Annual Job Openings

New Replacement Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
(Source: careeronestop)

Metro Wise Employment & Salary Data

Although Detroit was had hit by the decline of the automobile industry, it still remains the largest metropolitan area in Michigan, and 3,220 dental hygienists are employed there. Grand Rapids is a smaller city but more prosperous; its 940 hygienists earn slightly higher salaries than their Detroit counterparts. Michigan salaries are highest for hygienists who work in the college town of Muskegon.

Metro Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 3,220 $33.75 $5,850 $70,190
Grand Rapids-Wyoming 940 $34.02 $5,900 $70,770
Flint 390 $33.52 $5,810 $69,730
Ann Arbor 330 $36.37 $6,300 $75,640
Lansing-East Lansing 330 $33.43 $5,790 $69,530
Kalamazoo-Portage 280 $33.73 $5,850 $70,150
Saginaw 180 $32.21 $5,580 $67,000
Jackson 120 $33.84 $5,870 $70,390
Muskegon 110 $31.85 $5,520 $66,240
Battle Creek 80 $31.96 $5,540 $66,480
Midland 80 $33.63 $5,830 $69,940
Niles-Benton Harbor 80 $33.67 $5,840 $70,040
Bay City 70 $31.96 $5,540 $66,480
Monroe 60 $34.31 $5,950 $71,370
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Useful Dental Hygienist Organizations & Associations in Michigan

Michigan Dental Hygienists' Association

The Michigan Dental Hygienists' Association offers members access at competitive premiums to several types of insurance such as professional liability, disability, and major medical. The association also maintains an active job board and offers continuing education classes.

Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

Dental Hygiene Schools in other States

  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Washington