The dental hygienist is a key member of the professional dental team, providing educational and clinical services to community groups and individuals throughout the life span. You will learn to analyze health information, educate, and provide clinical services to improve oral and overall health.


NHTI Dental Hygiene students experience: 

  • High success rate on national written and clinical board exams
  • Positive interactions with community health agencies
  • Excellent preparation for licensure and clinical practice

NHTI Dental Hygiene curricula provides:

  • Close clinical supervision with individual and small group instruction
  • Transferability of general education courses
  • Integration of current technology into education and clinical practice

Honorable History

Established in 1970, the NHTI Dental Hygiene Program graduates effective dental hygienists who enjoy rewarding, successful careers while serving a variety of patients and populations in New Hampshire and beyond. We are the only program in New Hampshire providing excellence in dental hygiene education. You will be well-prepared with the skills and knowledge required of professional dental hygienists.

Service Learning

As a dental hygiene student, you will apply your skills in the campus NHTI Dental Clinic, serving more than 7,000 patients from communities statewide. You’ll learn the importance of access to oral health care and experience the role of the dental hygienist in community health. The Community Clinic course places students in various public health settings where you’ll shadow practicing dental hygienists that are positively impacting community oral health.

Dental Hygiene Degree


Course NumberCourse TitleCLLABCR
Fall Semester
#ADED 100CDental Hygiene I202
#ADED 113CClinical Dental Hygiene I+183
#ADED 134COral Anatomy I212
 BIOL 195CAnatomy and Physiology I324
 CHEM 125CIntroduction to General, Organic, and Biochemistry324
 ENGL 101CEnglish Composition404
Spring Semester
#ADED 103CDental Hygiene II202
#ADED 114CClinical Dental Hygiene II+183
#ADED 136COral Anatomy II202
#ADED 140CDental Radiology for Dental Hygiene233
 BIOL 196CAnatomy and Physiology II324
 MATH 120CQuantitative Reasoning or   
 MATH xxxChigher level Mathematics Elective*404
Summer Semester
#ADED 162CDental Materials for Dental Hygiene233
#ADED 201CDental Hygiene III212
#ADED 244CPain Management for the Dental Hygienist I132
 BIOL 202CMicrobiology334


Fall Semester
#ADED 126CNutrition202
#ADED 212CClinical Dental Hygiene III+1124
#ADED 242CCommunity Dental Health I202
#ADED 247CDental Hygiene Science – Pharmacology202
#ADED 248CDental Hygiene Science – Oral Pathology202
 PSYC 105CIntroduction to Psychology303
Spring Semester
#ADED 221CClinical Dental Hygiene IV+1124
#ADED 225CDental Hygiene Community Clinic**041
#ADED 227CDental Ethics and Jurisprudence101
#ADED 243CCommunity Dental Health II101
#ADED 246CPain Management for the Dental Hygienist II041
 ENGL 120CCommunications303
 SOCI 105CIntroduction to Sociology303
 XX xxxCHumanities/Fine Arts/Foreign Language Elective303
Summary of Estimated Additional Expenses
Some of the Dental Hygiene Clinics and Labs may be held during evening hours.
# Indicates major field courses.
*  Students may elect to take a higher level math course; MATH 120C or MATH 124C meet this requirement.
** ADED 225C Dental Hygiene Community Clinic will be offered in the fall semester and completed in the Spring semester.
+ All students enrolled in a clinical course will be charged a $500 per semester clinical surcharge. The following courses carry this charge: ADED 113C, ADED 114C, ADED 212C  and ADED 221C.
A grade of “C” or higher is required in BIOL 195C, BIOL 196C, BIOL 202C and CHEM 125C, and in ADED courses (unless course syllabi state otherwise), to progress in the Dental Hygiene Program. Courses with virtual/online labs are not accepted.
Note: Applicants who successfully complete several of the required general science and liberal arts courses by the application deadline will add strength to their application. For more information, contact the Admissions Office.

CL – Number of lecture/classroom hours per week for the course
LAB – Number of simulation laboratory, laboratory or clinical hours per week for the course
CR – Number of credit hours for the course

Program Goals

The NHTI Dental Hygiene Program:
  1. Provides a curriculum that integrates general education, biomedical sciences, dental sciences and the knowledge of current dental hygiene theory, practice, and provision of dental hygiene care.
  1. Prepares students to think critically and implement the dental hygiene process of care to promote and maintain oral and systemic health for diverse populations in the collaborative practice of dental hygiene.
  1. Prepares students to exercise principles of professional, regulatory, and ethical behavior in implementing oral health care.
  1. Prepares students to commit to professional growth and lifelong learning to maintain compliance and competence through self-assessment and evidence-based decision- making in an evolving health care system.

Program Outcomes

Performance on National Board Dental Hygiene Exam (first attempt) 

Pass Rates Class of 2020
NHTI Pass Rate 100%
National Pass Rate (avg.) 92%

Performance on ADEX clinical exam (first attempt)

Pass Rates Class of 2020
NHTI Pass Rate 100%

Technical Standards 

Health, Character, and Technical Requirements

The Associate of Science degree in Dental Hygiene is awarded to those who successfully complete and prove competence in all program requirements. As a student, you must demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviors deemed essential for the practice of dental hygiene. The dental hygiene program adheres to the NHTI Statement of Nondiscrimination. Reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities are made to the extent that they do not compromise the academic and performance standards of the program.

The following technical standards describe the essential skills students should possess in the areas of intellect, sensory function, fine and gross motor function, communication, emotional health, and behavior.

To assume the responsibilities and perform the duties of a dental hygienist, individuals should be able to satisfactorily possess/accomplish the following:

  1. Intellectual abilities requiring reason, analysis, problem solving, critical thinking, self-evaluation, and lifelong learning skills are required. Students must be able to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data. Comprehension of three-dimensional and spatial relationships is necessary. Consistent, accurate, and quick integration of information is required, especially in emergency situations.
  2. Somatic sensation and functional use of all senses is required; exteroceptive (i.e. touch) and proprioceptive (i.e. position, pressure, movement) is mandatory. Students must also be able to observe demonstration at a distance and close at hand; performance of procedures in the classroom, lab and clinic is required. The student must be able to see fine detail, focus at several distances and discern variations in color, shape, and texture to differentiate normal and abnormal structures. Students must be able to use tactile sense to perceive and interpret vibrations associated with clinical procedures. Visual and intellectual ability is necessary to acquire information from documents such as charts, radiographs, computer images, and other modes of delivery.
    Students must have sufficient hearing in order to develop reasonable skills of percussion and auscultation.
  3. Sufficient fine and gross motor function is required to perform a variety of clinical procedures essential to providing dental hygiene care for patients. Examples of essential motor skills include manipulation of small objects and materials, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. Fine motor ability is a necessary skill to perform functions such as basic life support, and transfer and position of patients. Students must be able to operate both foot and hand controls.
  4. Students must be able to communicate effectively with patients, peers, faculty, and guests. Individuals must have sufficient command of the English language to retrieve information from textbooks, lectures, exams, etc. Students must be able to communicate in verbal, nonverbal, and written form.
  5. Students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, exercise of good judgment, and prompt completion of all responsibilities associated with the care of patients. The development of mature, sensitive, professional relationships with patients is essential. Professionalism, compassion, integrity, empathy, and respect for patients are all personal qualities necessary for the dental hygienist. Students must be able to endure physically taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. A student must be able to accept constructive criticism and respond appropriately by modifying behavior.

Service Learning and Internship Considerations

NHTI’s excellent practicum opportunities foster hands-on learning in community dental health. You will develop awareness of the dental hygienist’s role in improving oral health for individuals and groups while applying your knowledge and skills in the NHTI Dental Clinic and various public health settings. In these environments, you must demonstrate sufficient emotional stability to withstand the stresses that characterize the dental professionals’ responsibilities with patients and/or agency clients. 

Students must exercise sound judgment, accept direction and guidance from a supervisor or faculty member, establish effective rapport, and maintain sensitive interpersonal relationships and confidentiality on all levels. 

Background Check and Drug/Alcohol Testing

As a pre-clinical requirement, you will complete a criminal background check and drug and alcohol screening through agencies chosen by the program. All students are subject to random screening throughout the program without exception. Students learn procedural and cost information during the admissions process, upon admission, and are responsible for associated testing costs.

Bloodborne Pathogens and Infectious Diseases

As a student in the Dental Hygiene Program, you may be exposed to blood-borne pathogens and infectious diseases. Faculty provide students with theory and instruction on infectious diseases, mechanisms of disease transmission, and infection control procedures to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Current instruction includes protocols published by national public health agencies, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Priority consideration will be given to those students who meet all of the Specific Admission Requirements criteria by the application deadline.

Materials received after the priority deadline will only be reviewed pending space availability in the program. All Specific Admission Requirements must be met for consideration.

Specific Admission Requirements

Preference will be given to applicants who submit all required application materials to the Admissions Office no later than January 22, 2021 for the Fall 2021 start.

  1. College preparatory level courses in biology and chemistry, with labs, with grades of “C” or higher;
  2. Algebra I with a grade of “C” or higher or NHTI’s MATH 092C with a grade of “C” or higher;
  3. Informational group interview with the Dental Admissions Committee; qualified candidates will be contacted after the deadline to schedule;
  4. Completed Observation Form (PDF) documenting your observation of dental hygienist(s) practicing in a dental office for twenty (20) hours. Applicants unable to complete the observation may instead complete an essay about the field; instructions on how to complete this requirement are available from the Admissions Office at nhtiadm@ccsnh.edu, or you may download the instructions here: Dental Hygiene Essay 2021 (PDF).  The completed observation form is valid for 2 years only. The form is also available in Word format: Observation Form (Docx)

Admission to the Dental Hygiene program is competitive, determined by a cumulative point system. Your application is awarded points based on:

  • Grades in prerequisite courses grades;
  • Grades for college courses previously taken that are required for NHTI dental hygiene; and
  • If applicable, the CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) credential. To verify the CDA credential, provide a copy of your Dental Assisting National Board certificate to the Admissions Office.

Only courses completed (with final grades) by the application deadline will be considered for points in the application review process. Double points are awarded for college science course grades (Anatomy & Physiology I and II, Microbiology and Introduction to General, Organic and Biochemistry). These sciences must be completed with grade of “C” or higher and no more than 5 years prior to the start term of the program to be applicable.

Though an associate degree program, successful applicants for teh Dental Hygiene program complete most of their college liberal arts courses in advance of applying to the program to obtain a sufficient number of points to be competitive.

Already enrolled at NHTI?

Students currently enrolled in another NHTI program who wish to enter the Dental Hygiene program must complete and submit the Change of Program form prior to the application deadline listed above. Please note: Departmental signatures will not be required in the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters due to COVID-19.


Students who have withdrawn from the program due to extenuating circumstances or students who have been suspended from the program due to a failure in a non-clinical course may be considered for readmission only one time. Readmission to the program is not guaranteed. Students who have been dismissed from the program due to failure in a clinical course will not be considered, but may apply to other NHTI programs. Contact the Allied Dental Education Department for details.

Health Requirements

Once admitted, students must provide documents for Clinical Clearance to the Health Services Office by July 17, 2020.Failure to submit this information will prohibit the student from entering the program. Students must maintain clinical clearance throughout the program to remain enrolled and progress in the program.

For a complete listing of immunizations and clinical clearance requirements, please see health requirements for Allied Health students. NHTI arranges professional liability insurance for students, applying fees to student accounts.

Career Paths

Dental hygienists work in clinical, corporate, public health, research, and educational settings. Dental hygienists also serve as program administrators and some have become successful entrepreneurs, starting their own businesses.

The Roles of the Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists provide a wide range of preventative and therapeutic dental services, including dental hygiene assessment and care planning. Services include oral dental and periodontal examination, scaling and debridement, pain management, radiography, dental sealants, in-office whitening, and oral hygiene instruction for a variety of patients.

Dental hygienists are professionals, licensed by the state in which they practice, who complete extensive educational and clinical preparation in oral disease prevention. Effective oral hygiene prevents periodontal disease and tooth decay, thereby improving general health. With increased consumer awareness of the connection between oral and overall health, dental hygiene careers continue to grow. Find out more about Roles of the Dental Hygienist.

Employment Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, employment of dental hygienists is projected to  grow 33 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. As their practices expand, dentists will hire more hygienists to perform routine dental care, allowing the dentist to see more patients. In addition, as the large baby-boom population ages and people keep more of their original teeth than previous generations did, the need to maintain and treat these teeth will continue to drive demand for dental care.

Federal health legislation is expected to expand the number of patients who have access to health insurance, including new or expanded dental insurance coverage. As a result, the demand for all dental services, including those performed by hygienists, is expected to increase.

The salary of a dental hygienist depends primarily upon the responsibilities associated with the specific position, the practice setting, and the geographic location of employment. Full or part-time employment, and benefits provided are also factors. New Hampshire Employment Security provides wage and employment estimates for several occupations in New Hampshire. Dental hygienists earn salaries equal to other health care personnel with similar training and experience such as nurses.

Professional Associations

Use the links below to research the dental hygiene career and to connect with local association members. You may also be able to join an association of interest, at a reduced rate, as a student member. The student chapter of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (SADHA) is a very active service organization at NHTI.

American Dental Hygienists’ Association

American Dental Hygienists’ Association-New Hampshire Chapter

Dental Assisting National Board

American Dental Association

NHTI encourages dental hygiene graduates to pursue a Bachelor’s degree to advance their careers and increase employability in alternative settings. NHTI Dental Hygiene graduates successfully transfer to colleges and universities around the country. Due to extensive knowledge and skills required of dental hygienists, professional organizations are discussing the bachelor’s degree as the entry-level degree for dental hygiene.


“NHTI and the Dental Hygiene program has afforded me so many opportunities. My education at NHTI has consistently been the foundation of my career and the stepping stone into my dream job working with kids and families.”

Kendra, Class of 2015

“I attribute my successful career as a dental hygienist to the education and foundation I received as a student at the NHTI DH program. The professors and instructors had our best interest as students, that we were fully prepared for the workplace and they held students to a high standard of success. It made me the best version of a professional and hygienist I could be and I’m very thankful for that!”

Aundrea, Class of 2017

“NHTI’s Dental Hygiene program has taught me everything I needed to know for the “real world”. I became the clinician I am today from the guidance of the professors. What I liked the most about the program was that everything we learned from the beginning to the end was applied within our clinical portion. After receiving my Associate’s degree, I wanted to learn more about dental hygiene so I went on to receive my Bachelor’s degree and I don’t regret it!” 

Mymy, Class of 2018

“My time at NHTI as a Dental Hygiene student was filled with success! Any program has its ups and downs, but the DH program and all of the faculty strived to help each and every one of us succeed in ways we never thought we could!”

Heather, SADHA President – Class of 2019, CDA, RDH

Dental Hygiene Summary of Additional Expenses


UNH Health Fair
Boys & Girls Club
NHTI Wellness Fair

NHTI Organization Fair


Yankee Dental Congress
Boys & Girls Club
Leroy brushing

80 Credits Required

Accreditation Statement

The NHTI Dental Hygiene Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements.” The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education and can be contacted at (312)440-4653 or 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.


of students qualify for financial aid