Dental Hygienist Schools in Massachusetts (Top Programs)

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Dental Hygienist Schools in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry oversees dental hygienists and issues licenses to those who want to become one.

Training as a Dental Hygienist

To become a dental hygienist, you need first to complete your training that has to award a minimum of an associates’ degree.

The institutions that offer training in this field must be accredited by CODA.

Only those who meet the following requirements can enroll in these training programs:

  • High school diploma
  • CPR certification
  • Chemistry with lab with a grade of C or higher
  • Hepatitis B immunization series
  • Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in math and science courses

Some of the classes these programs have are:

  • Clinical dental hygiene
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Dental anatomy and oral histology
  • General and oral pathology
  • Dental materials
  • Oral health in the community
  • Dental hygiene theory
  • Pain management in dental hygiene

Clinical hands-on experience is also part of all training programs.

School Name Address
Cape Cod Community College 2240 Iyannough Rd, West Barnstable, Massachusetts 02668-1599
MCPHS University 179 Longwood Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5896
Middlesex Community College Springs Rd, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730-9124
Regis College 235 Wellesley Street, Weston MA 02493
Mount Wachusett Community College 444 Green St, Gardner, Massachusetts 01440-1000
Springfield Technical Community College 1 Armory Sq, Springfield, Massachusetts 01105-1296

Passing the Exams

The next exams are mandatory for everyone who wants to become a dental hygienist.

National Board Examination

The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination has 350 questions and national recognition.

This test has a practical part as well.

It is offered through the Joint Commission of National Dental Examinations and organized at the Pearson Vue testing centers.

Regional Board Examination

The regional exam mandated in Massachusetts is the one offered by the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA).

This exam has 2 parts:

  • Patient Treatment Clinical Examination (PTCS)
  • Computer Simulated Clinical Examination (CSCE)

These 2 exams take place at different locations and times.

To pass, a minimum score of 75% is needed for each part of the exam.

Candidates may also take these 2 exams if they want:

  • Local Anesthesia for Dental Hygienists
  • Nitrous Oxide for Dental Hygienists

Scores of at least 75% on one of the exams offered by the following agencies are also accepted:

  • Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners
  • Florida State Board of Dental Examiners
  • Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA) Dental Exam
  • Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA) Dental Exam

Jurisprudence Exam

This exam is the final one required to obtain the license as a dental hygienist in Massachusetts.

This is an open-book type of exam and the Board has a list of materials that should be studied for it.

The answers for this exam are included in the application file.

Applying for the License

The Initial Dental Hygienist Licensure Application is the form that must be completed to obtain the license.

The form has to be accompanied by these documents:

  • $126 fee
  • Original transcript showing the degree obtained – with the seal
  • Copy of the NBDHE results
  • Proof of a passed regional clinical exam, if it’s not the CDCA
  • Recent physician’s statement attesting good health
  • Copy of current CPR certification
  • Signed CORI request form (included in application) authorizing a criminal background check
  • Passport-size color photo of yourself
  • Signatures from two licensed dentists familiar with your character and work quality
  • Answer sheet of the Jurisprudence Exam

Those who have a license from a different state, need to also submit: 

  • License verification
  • Practice history
  • National Practitioner Data Bank Self-Query

Those who want to administer local anesthesia in Massachusetts, as a dental hygienist, must meet these requirements:

  • Completed courses in the administration of local anesthesia
  • Passed the  CDCA Local Anesthesia Exam
  • Pay the fee – $30
  • BLS certification
  • Letter from the dentist who supervised the candidate while administering local anesthesia (if applicable)

The Permit L form needs to be filled out and sent to the Board with the documents above.

Salary Information

Those with higher degrees and extra certifications have a higher salary than those who obtained only an Associates’s degree.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Boston $84,391
Worcester $78,731
Springfield $78,133
Cambridge $84,391
Lowell $81,498
Brockton $80,974
New Bedford $78,806
Quincy $84,391
Lynn $84,391
Fall River $78,806

Regional Salary in Massachusetts

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Barnstable Town, MA240$90,440$43.48$101,770$67,930
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH3,410$89,910$43.23$105,440$79,160
Leominster-Gardner, MA110$85,150$40.94$98,360$80,490
New Bedford, MA90$88,680$42.64$109,040$80,220
Pittsfield, MA70$82,120$39.48$92,810$65,850
Springfield, MA-CT470$87,170$41.91$100,650$81,420
Worcester, MA-CT460$91,230$43.86$102,540$82,840
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Dental Hygienists, OCC Code 29-1292, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Keeping the License

Licenses expire every 2 years, in even-numbered years, on March 31.

Individuals must complete 40 hours of continuing education (CEUs) that are related to the field, but not for the first renewal.

The Board conducts audits, so keeping proof of completed CEUs is a must.

The anesthesia permit is also valid for two years and expires at the same time with the license.

Practitioners will receive renewal coupons from the Board which they need to send back along with the renewal fee.

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