Best Dental Hygiene Schools in Pennsylvania – 2024

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

If you are interested in an occupation that allows you the opportunity to work with the public every single day and promote better overall health, then you may want to consider becoming a dental hygienist. Pennsylvania offers numerous opportunities to work with people of all ages in large metro areas as well as less populated rural locations. However, in order to start your career, you will first need to get an education. Below, we have ranked the best dental hygiene schools in Pennsylvania and are also providing the latest career outlook data to help you make better decisions about not only your education, but also your entire career in dental hygiene.


Things to Keep in Mind While Selecting a Dental Hygiene School in the State of PA

Choosing a dental hygiene program in PA may seem relatively simple, but it is important that you keep several things in mind in the process. First, you should decide how much time you can dedicate to studying, which will help you decide whether you need a full-time or part-time program. You might also find schools that offer you the opportunity to take some or all of your classroom courses online, which gives you even more flexibility.

You should also be sure that the program you choose is accredited and recognized by the Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry and the National Dental Hygiene Board, which is a requirement for obtaining the licensure you need to work as a dental hygienist in the state.

Dental Hygiene Program Length & Cost in Pennsylvania

You should choose a program type that best suits your goals and your budget. An associate degree program takes 30 months or less and costs $42,290 or less. Graduate programs take longer and cost more in PA. For example, a bachelor’s degree takes four years and costs up to $77,350, and a master’s degree takes another one to two years and costs an additional $71,020.

Type of Program Length Cost
Associate Degree20 - 30 Months$3,810 - $42,290
Bachelor's Degree4 - years$17,640 - $77,350
Master's DegreeBetween 1 and 2 years$23,000 - $71,020


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

1. University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh

2. Pennsylvania College of Technology , Williamsport

Bachelor Completion:

3. Fortis Institute , Scranton

4. Montgomery County Community College , Blue Bell

5. Luzerne County Community College , Nanticoke

6. Northampton Community College , Bethlehem

7. Community College of Philadelphia , Philadelphia

8. Manor College , Jenkintown

9. Westmoreland County Community College , Youngwood

10. Harrisburg Area Community College , Harrisburg


Dental Hygienist Career Information For Pennsylvania - 2024

How Many Dental Hygienists are Currently Employed in PA?


Where do Dental Hygienists Work in Pennsylvania?

Across PA, of the 8,640 total dental hygienists in the state, 8,180 (95%) work in dentists’ offices providing a variety of services to patients. They may perform clerical tasks like answering calls, creating bills, charting, and scheduling appointments, and they might also provide important oral care services like cleanings and x-rays. Dental hygienists in dentists’ offices also aid dentists during more complex procedures like extractions.

The other 5% work for the state, local, or federal government or in physicians’ offices. Despite the different industries, the roles they play are much the same. Government workers often find employment in local health departments and free clinics while those working in doctors’ offices provide valuable and convenient services in various outpatient clinics and private practices.

IndustryNumber of Dental Hygienists
Offices of Dentists8,180
Offices of Physicians80

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

The average dental hygienist salary in PA is $75,550 a year, which is the same as $36.32 an hour or $6,300 a month. This salary is the average for all 8,640 dental hygienists across the state regardless of education, experience, or industry. Keep in mind that having a bachelor’s or master’s degree will increase your salary and gaining years of experience in the field can do much the same. You might also earn a higher salary depending on the area where you work and the industry you choose. Government-employed dental hygienists tend to have a higher income, for example.

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) $29.03 $5,030 $60,380
1-4 years $30.92 $5,360 $64,310
5-9 years $36.91 $6,400 $76,770
10-19 years $39.26 $6,810 $81,670
20 years or more $46.37 $8,040 $96,450
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Dental Hygienist Average Salary Comparison: Pennsylvania vs. National

When compared to the national average dental hygienist income, you will earn 10.97% less. The average pay in PA is $75,550 while the national average is $84,860, which is a difference of almost $9,310 a year.

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

Job Outlook

Job growth for dental hygienists in PA is much slower than in other parts of the country at just 14.29%, but it is still a positive overall outlook. In 2020, there were 6,510 dental hygienists in the state, but by 2030, there will be 7,440. This is a difference of 930 jobs, and the reasons for this growth are many. Increased access to healthcare across PA will have the biggest impact. The more people who gain access to affordable dental coverage, the more dentists and hygienists will be required to provide them with the oral care they need. What’s more, as technology continues to advance and the solutions for resolving common oral issues become simpler, more people across the state will have access to effective treatments and solutions.

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

The city or metro area in which you work will also influence your overall income as a dental hygienist. Your goal after completing your program will be to balance your income with the cost of living in your area and the job opportunities that are available to you. One of the best places in the state to seek employment is the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metro. Just under half of all the hygienists in the state work here, and they earn an average annual salary of $87,160.

Conversely, while Pittsburgh is also one of the largest and most populated metros in the state, and even though over 1,650 dental hygienists work there, the average annual salary is lower than most other metros in PA at $69,290. Be sure that you choose a metro area that offers you an acceptable commute, plenty of job opportunities, and a salary that makes sense based on your experience and education.

Metro Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington 4,800 $41.90 $7,260 $87,160
Pittsburgh 1,650 $33.31 $5,770 $69,290
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton 530 $35.64 $6,180 $74,140
Harrisburg-Carlisle 430 $35.25 $6,110 $73,330
Lancaster 420 $35.60 $6,170 $74,050
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton 400 $29.45 $5,100 $61,250
Reading 270 $34.78 $6,030 $72,350
York-Hanover 250 $33.65 $5,830 $69,990
Erie 150 $32.00 $5,550 $66,560
State College 110 $32.17 $5,580 $66,910
East Stroudsburg 90 $32.53 $5,640 $67,660
Chambersburg-Waynesboro 80 $34.37 $5,960 $71,480
Johnstown 80 $29.66 $5,140 $61,700
Altoona 70 $31.88 $5,530 $66,300
Lebanon 60 $33.38 $5,790 $69,430
Williamsport 60 $32.49 $5,630 $67,570
Bloomsburg-Berwick 40 $32.42 $5,620 $67,430
Gettysburg 40 $36.79 $6,380 $76,530
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Useful Dental Hygienist Organizations & Associations in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Dental Hygienists' Association (PDHA):

The Pennsylvania Dental Hygienists’ Association, or PDHA, has a mission that involves furthering and improving the art and science behind dental hygiene. They offer four components to cover the entirety of the state – Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast – so choose the one that best suits your needs. As a member, you will gain access to various continuing education courses, including the Academy of Dental Hygiene, as well as newsletters, advocacy, and more.

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
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Washington