Student Hygienist Cleaning Patient's Teeth

Dental Hygiene

In the dental hygiene program, you'll become a health professional who promotes and improves the well-being of all people. You'll gain hands-on clinical experience in a variety of settings, learn collaboratively with other students and develop into a lifelong learner capable of providing care in a wide range of settings as you prepare for your career as a dental hygienist.

Why Study Dental Hygiene?

As a dental hygiene major at USD, you will learn to emphasize prevention and outreach through your work in oral health and oral disease prevention. Our program provides you with real-world, hands-on experience in a variety of settings – including dental clinics, schools, nursing homes, tribal hospitals and penitentiaries – so you can gain confidence and learn by doing. Plus, as a student in the USD School of Health Sciences, you'll study and practice alongside students from a variety of disciplines, which will prepare you to be a collaborative member of your future patients' care teams.

With faculty who care about your success, USD will help you find the educational path you need to achieve your goals. You'll graduate ready to provide essential services in the traditional dental office setting and a variety of other facilities. Dental hygienists can also find employment in other areas such as dental sales, education, the military, research labs and public health settings. 

Join a community of leaders dedicated to their patients and learn to deliver high quality oral health care as a dental hygiene major.

Degrees & Offerings

Dental Hygiene (B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

Through the dental hygiene program, you'll gain hands-on clinical experience, take innovative classes and receive personalized support. Your education will equip you with the knowledge and experience you need to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and a clinical licensing exam, which is required for licensure in any state, and set you up for success as a compassionate and confident dental hygienist.

Program Details






Application Requirements and Materials

In addition to applying and being accepted to USD, you will also go through a separate admission process for this program. For most students, this will happen after at least one year of enrollment at USD. Review the steps below for more information, and reach out to your admissions counselor or advisor if you have any questions.

Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.


As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

USD embeds many clinical experiences into your education so that you gain hands-on experience in several settings. You'll also have a range of other opportunities for professional development and service, including the following:

  • Providing public dental health services 
  • Facilitating oral cancer screenings
  • Giving oral health presentations 
  • Completing a three-week dental office internship
A unique part of your USD education is access to undergraduate research opportunities. As a dental hygiene student at USD, you will have the chance to explore your interests and conduct innovative research with the support of professors who care about your success. Grants and travel funding are available through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including a student chapter of the American Dental Hygienists' Association (SADHA) housed in the Department of Dental Hygiene and the USD Dental Club. Through your involvement outside the classroom, you'll be able to find your community, network with other professionals and experience personal and professional growth.

Explore Student Organizations

Departments & Facilities

Explore the clinic facilities and program housed in the Department of Dental Hygiene.
Dental Hygiene Student Cleaning a Patient's Teeth

Dental Hygiene

The Department of Dental Hygiene provides students with enriching experiences in and beyond the classroom as they prepare for careers in oral health and oral disease prevention.

A dental hygiene student in a room with a faculty member.

Delta Dental Oral Health Center

The Delta Dental Oral Health Center is a new community dental hygiene clinic at USD, named in honor of a $1 million gift from the Delta Dental of South Dakota Foundation. Services are open to the public.

Dental Hygiene Student Cleaning a Patient's Teeth

Sioux Falls Dental Clinic

Our dental hygiene clinic in Sioux Falls is open to the public. Students learn under the close supervision of licensed dentists and licensed hygienists. Our services are offered at reduced rates; however, appointments generally take more time than traditional dental offices.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the Department of Dental Hygiene. Our faculty are experts in their field, contributing research and scholarship in a wide range of areas addressing dentistry practices and technologies.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Miranda Drake

Miranda Drake

Chair-Dental Hygiene
Bio Image for Faculty Member Ann Grunewaldt

Ann Grunewaldt

Clinical Instructor/Clinic Manager
Bio Image for Faculty Member Julie Fallan

Julie Fallan

Asst Admissions/Advisor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kelsey Irish

Kelsey Irish

Clinical Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Tara Koele

Tara Koele

Clinical Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Blake Kopf

Blake Kopf

Dentist/Supervising Dentist
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jessica Pierret

Jessica Pierret

Dental Assistant
Bio Image for Faculty Member Katie Ray

Katie Ray

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Carissa Regnerus

Carissa Regnerus

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Nicole Solomon

Nicole Solomon

Program Assistant I
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jessica Sona

Jessica Sona

Asst Prof of Practice/SF Clinic Director
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lasandra Wilson

Lasandra Wilson

Clinical Instructor
A student placing an item on a projector.

Become the Leader Your Patients Need

Patients have needs that extend beyond a single area of expertise, they should have an expert care team that works together to help them live healthy, fulfilling lives.

At USD, we prepare you not only to thrive in your career path, but also to collaborate effectively with health care professionals from a variety of fields. Our learning environment mirrors the health care industry–bringing you and your peers together to learn, study and practice as coordinated teams. 

Rendering of New Health Sciences Building

Real-World Experience

A strength of your USD education is the breadth of hands-on experiences you'll gain as you prepare for your future career.

Through the dental hygiene program, you will gain invaluable clinical experience in a variety of settings, including dental clinics, schools, nursing homes, tribal hospitals, and penitentiaries. These experiences ensure you are ready to face challenges with confidence in your profession. You’ll also have the opportunity to lead oral health education and oral disease prevention activities at a variety of community events – combining learning with service, education, and community.

Surprisingly Affordable

USD offers low tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, as well as scholarships, financial aid and employment opportunities to help make your education even more affordable.

Undergraduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Undergraduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees. 

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.


USD awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships each year. View our scholarships to see which ones you may qualify for and how you can apply.

student success story

April Moen smiling.
It is very motivational to see our professors love what they do, as it gives me confidence that I picked the right career path. I’ve been shown what it’s like to be a true leader and how to successfully communicate with my peers.

April Moen

B.S. Dental Hygiene '24

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