Best Dental Hygiene Schools in Minnesota – 2023

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Dental hygienists in Minnesota moved one step closer to independent practice in 2017 with the introduction of Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice. This direct access model lets dental hygienists who meet experience requirements treat patients without direct supervision so long as they have a written agreement with a licensed dentist. If you’re interested in providing preventative dental care that can improve quality of life, dental hygiene is a career path you should investigate. We’ve ranked the best dental hygiene programs in Minnesota to make it easier for you to find the education that will suit your needs.


What Will I learn During my Dental Hygiene Training in MN

Dental hygiene is an exacting curriculum. You’ll spend your first few semesters at a dental hygiene school in MN acquiring a strong foundation in basic sciences, taking courses like chemistry, biology, pathology, anatomy and physiology. After that, you’ll begin taking courses that pertain to your chosen specialty like oral anatomy, dental pharmacology and pain relief. Throughout the didactic component of your coursework, you’ll participate in skills labs, which will teach you how to remove dental plaque and tartar plus the other procedures you’ll need to know in order to be a hygienist. The final months of your training will be spent doing clinical rotations where you’ll have the opportunity to use the skills you’ve learned on actual patients.

5 Habits of Highly Successful Dental Hygiene Students

In order to complete this training successfully, you’ll need to develop good work habits:

• Prepare: Make every effort to keep up with your classwork. You’ll get new assignments at every class, and once you fall behind, it will be difficult to catch up.
• Stay motivated: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you are dealing with a lot to learn. It’s important that you persevere.
• Ask questions: Many people are shy about asking questions in class. Don’t be one of them. Asking questions is the way you learn.
• Apply your theoretical knowledge: Whenever possible, make every effort to see the practical applications of the theoretical knowledge you’re learning through classroom lectures.
• Network: Befriending your classmates will not only provide you with the support system you’ll need in dental hygiene school, it will also give you a professional network once you’re established as a professional.

Dental Hygiene Program Length & Cost in Minnesota

You’ll face different sets of costs and different program lengths depending upon whether you want to pursue an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree for your dental hygiene training in the state of Minnesota. An associate degree will prepare you for entry-level work; it will take between 20 and 30 months to complete and will cost between $3,990 and $44,360 to complete, depending upon whether you attend a community college or a tech school.

Minnesota residents who attend a four-year program at a school that’s subsidized by public funding can expect to spend $18,500 on their dental hygiene education while those who go to a private college or university will spend up to $81,130. If you’re interested in teaching or research, a master’s degree is the credential to possess. Master’s degree programs in dental hygiene take between one and two years to complete and cost between $24,120 and $74,480.

Type of Program Length Cost
Associate Degree20 - 30 Months$3,990 - $44,360
Bachelor's Degree4 - years$18,500 - $81,130
Master's DegreeBetween 1 and 2 years$24,120 - $74,480


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, below are the 10 best Dental Hygiene programs in Minnesota. The list includes both campus-based and online programs.)

1. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis

Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
Master of Science in Dental Hygiene

2. Minnesota State University-Mankato, Mankato

3. Lake Superior College, Duluth

4. Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Fergus Falls

5. St Cloud Technical and Community College, Saint Cloud

6. Herzing University-Minneapolis, St. Louis Park

7. Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul

8. Normandale Community College, Bloomington

9. Rochester Community and Technical College, Rochester

10. Century College, White Bear Lake


Dental Hygienist Career Information For Minnesota - 2023

How Many Dental Hygienists are Currently Employed in MN?


Where do Dental Hygienists Work in Minnesota?

If you’re a dental hygienist, and you’re not covered by a collaborative agreement, Minnesota state law requires you to work under the supervision of a licensed dentist. It’s not surprising, then, that most of Minnesota’s dental hygienists—4,550 in total—are affiliated with a dental practice in some way. Another 60 hygienists work at community health clinics run either by nonprofits or by federal, state and county governments. Finally, nearly 50 hygienists work from physicians’ offices.

IndustryNumber of Dental Hygienists
Offices of Dentists4,550
Offices of Physicians50

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

The average dental hygienist salary in Minnesota is $84,810. The benefits hygienists receive in addition to their salary will vary widely by employer. Many dental hygienists opt for work 20 hours or fewer per week, and part-time employees typically don’t qualify 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) $37.47 $6,500 $77,940
1-4 years $38.75 $6,720 $80,610
5-9 years $39.97 $6,930 $83,140
10-19 years $43.45 $7,530 $90,370
20 years or more $45.77 $7,930 $95,210
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Dental Hygienist Average Salary Comparison: Minnesota vs. National

Dental hygienists in Minnesota earn less than the national average. That may because the demand for dental hygiene services is lower in the Land of 10,000 Lakes than it is in other parts of the country. Outside the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota is a rural state that has many towns with relatively small populations, separated from one another by many miles. While Minnesotans are health-conscious, they’re also frugal. Dental services aren’t covered by many health care insurance plans, and paying out of pocket for dental hygiene services may not be a priority.

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

Job Outlook

The demand for dental hygienists in Minnesota is projected to grow by just under 7 percent by the year 2030. Minnesota is one of the states that have implemented a midlevel career in dentistry called “dental therapy;” dental therapists provide services like cavity filling and crown placement in underserved areas. Dental therapy is an excellent career advancement choice that many dental hygienists in Minnesota are taking advantage of.

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

Minnesota’s population is heavily concentrated in the Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington metropolitan area. It makes sense that 3,160 of the state’s dental hygienists work in this region and that hygienists here command salaries, which are on a par with the national average. In Rochester, home of the famous Mayo Clinic, hygienists earn nearly the national average, too. In Duluth and other population centers abutting Lake Superior in the northern part of the state, there are considerably fewer hygienists, and they earn less money.

Metro Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington 3,160 $41.64 $7,220 $86,610
Rochester 250 $39.77 $6,890 $82,730
St. Cloud 220 $38.68 $6,700 $80,450
Duluth 200 $37.15 $6,440 $77,270
Mankato-North Mankato 100 $38.52 $6,680 $80,130
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Useful Dental Hygienist Organizations & Associations in Minnesota

Minnesota Dental Hygienists' Association

The Minnesota Dental Hygienists’ Association offers members networking opportunities, an active job board, access to continuing education opportunities, a subscription to Access Magazine and discounts on goods and services from affiliated businesses.

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.