Dental hygienists perform regular teeth cleanings, take dental X-rays and assist dentists in preventing tooth decay and damage, according to the Illinois State Dental Society. Training programs for dental hygienists take two forms: a four-year college program leading to a baccalaureate degree and a two-year program that provides training and certification in dental hygiene. Dental hygienist programs in Illinois are available at both two-year and four-year colleges.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

The dental hygienist program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is the only baccalaureate program in dental hygiene available in Illinois, according to SIUC. The four-year program includes 120 hours of academic course work, including extra preparation in periodontal care and an internship in rural health and geriatric populations. Course work includes oral anatomy and tooth morphology, dental radiology, general and oral pathology, infection control and local anesthesia. Clinical rotations and hands-on practice sessions round out the degree program. Although tuition varies for the program based on rates that SIUC sets each year, the dental hygienist program charges additional fees totaling approximately $7,000 for textbooks, instruments, uniforms, lab fees and fees for the national board exam, as of March 2010. SIUC's dental hygienist program requires a high school diploma and satisfactory college aptitude test scores as part of its admission process.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Allied Health Mail Code 6615 Carbondale, IL 62901-6615 618-453-8869

Kennedy-King College

Every June, Kennedy-King College's six-semester dental hygienist program welcomes 30 new students. The two-year program--students study throughout spring, summer and fall--yields an associate's degree in applied science and readies graduates for state and national certification and licensure exams. Through a unique partnership with the University of Illinois-Chicago dental program, Kennedy-King dental hygiene students complete basic instruction and pre-clinical course work on campus at Kennedy-King but rotate through UIC's dental clinics for clinical and lab work. Course work includes nutrition and biochemistry, head and neck anatomy, oral structures and function, and college-level English and math classes. Tuition and fees change every year, although Kennedy-King notes that students must purchase their own textbooks, uniforms, gloves, instruments and malpractice insurance in addition to paying tuition for the program.

Kennedy-King College 6800 S. Wentworth Ave. Chicago, IL 60621 773-602-5000

College of DuPage

The dental hygienist program at College of DuPage is a two-year course of study that provides graduates with an associate's degree in applied science and qualification to sit for the national certification and state licensing exams. College of DuPage's program includes classroom instruction balanced with laboratory sessions and on-campus clinical rotations, with a few slots available for off-campus rotations in clinical dental practices. Course work includes sessions in head and neck anatomy, tooth morphology, general and oral pathology, dental radiation and periodontics. Although tuition varies from year to year based on the fee charged per credit hour, program costs usually total approximately $15,000, as of March 2010. Additional fees range from $7,000 to $9,000 for books, instruments, lab fees, uniforms, exam fees, drug tests, immunization fees and malpractice insurance.

College of DuPage Dental Hygiene Program 425 Fawell Blvd. Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599 630-942-4237

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