A student hygienist examines the mouth of a woman laying in a dental chair

Dental Hygiene Degree, AAS

Find an in-demand, high-paying job as a dental hygienist. With San Juan College's Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Dental Hygiene, you will be among the leaders in oral health care and have an impact on your patients’ lives.

With more than 600 hours of clinical experience in our state-of-the-art dental clinic, program graduates are well-prepared to enter this exciting profession. Come and see why our dental hygiene students have a job placement rate of 98%.

Students who successfully complete the program will be eligible to sit for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, Regional clinical board, examination, and state jurisprudence exam for licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH).

Why Study Dental Hygiene?

Play a crucial role in preventative health care health as a dental hygienist! Hygienists perform oral examinations and educate patients to help them achieve good oral health. A degree in dental hygiene will put you in a rewarding career where you will make real differences in your patients' lives while affording you the flexibility to work anywhere in the country.

The San Juan College Dental Hygiene Program is a two-year program that allows you to enter the workforce quickly and enjoy the benefits of this in-demand and high-paying career. Not only does the dental hygiene profession have a bright outlook with a fast growth rate, it also provides a strong starting salary, even for entry-level positions.

Hygienists also enjoy a great work-life balance. They typically work a stable and steady schedule of regular office hours, and they can even work part-time, if desired. This leaves plenty of time for family life and personal interests. Become a part of one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States by earning an associate degree in dental hygiene at San Juan College.

Why Earn an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene at San Juan College?

Outstanding and Affordable

Accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), our Dental Hygiene program offers excellent training for thousands of dollars less than other schools. Our expert faculty have an exceptionally high level of experience, which translates to results.

Over 98% of our graduates pass their clinical board exams and receive a license. We are also proud of our 100% local anesthesia board pass rate. The current job placement rate for SJC dental hygiene graduates is over 98%.

State-of-the-Art Equipment and Clinic

As a dental hygiene student, you'll have access to first-rate clinical facilities equipped with the latest dentistry tools and technology. Its nine operatories (rooms for dental work) are equipped with:

  • A-dec dental chairs and delivery systems
  • Dentsply Ultrasonic Cavitron units
  • Schick intraoral digital radiology
  • Computer access

Through the clinical facilities, you'll be trained in the following:

  • Screening and diagnosing patients
  • Conducting dental cleanings
  • Local anesthesia and nitrous oxide analgesia
  • Dental laser therapy
  • Digital radiography (X-rays)

SJC's Dental Hygiene program also offers experiences with exciting new technologies, such as computer-controlled anesthetic delivery.

Community Impact

The mission of our Dental Hygiene program is to improve the quality of life of the people we serve. We strive to develop exceptional dental hygienists who promote the health and well-being of communities in New Mexico, the Four Corners, and beyond. We train our graduates to serve people of diverse populations with care and compassion.

As a student, you'll have unique opportunities to work with low-income communities and public outreach programs. They may include:

Affordable Option

Because of SJC's low tuition rate, the associate degree in dental hygiene is a great investment for you. View estimated program costs. You'll have access to excellent faculty and modern technology that will prepare you for your career. You may also qualify to get your degree tuition-free through the NM Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships

What You'll Learn in the Dental Hygiene Program

Develop the skills you need to work as a dental hygienist at San Juan College. Learn in the classroom from our experienced faculty. Build your confidence as you spend more than 600 hours of clinical experience working with patients.

In your courses, you'll study:

  • Head and neck anatomy
  • Tooth morphology, oral histology, and embryology
  • Clinical dental hygiene therapy, theory, and practice
  • Infection control and oral pathology
  • Dental X-rays
  • Dental biomaterials (like dental implants)
  • Operation preparation
  • Patient assessment and comprehensive care
  • Pharmacology
  • Disease prevention and public health
  • Anesthesia and pain control
  • Ethics and jurisprudence in dentistry

In addition to the dental hygiene skills listed above, you'll develop career skills such as:

  • Professionalism
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Oral communication
  • Compassion
  • Attention to detail
  • Resume writing and job interview preparation

Dental Hygiene AAS Curriculum

Two San Juan College dental students work on a patient

Serving the Community

Gain experience and help Farmington patients at the San Juan College Dental Hygiene Clinic. You'll provide affordable dental services like teeth cleaning and dental x-rays for local patients.

Careers and Outcomes

Find a fulfilling and in-demand career as a dental hygienist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow by 9% from 2021 to 2031. You'll earn an excellent and competitive salary that can start as high as $78,000/year.

Many dental hygienists enjoy a flexible lifestyle, working 32 hours per week within normal business hours. You can work in New Mexico or move to anywhere else in the United States.

Most of our graduates find jobs as dental hygienists. Alongside dentists, you'll assess patients and provide treatment for oral diseases. Examples of clinical settings include:

  • Private dental practices
  • Community clinics
  • Hospitals
  • University dental clinics
  • Prison facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools

Many dental offices in the Farmington area have employed or currently employ dental hygienists from our program:

  • Desert Hills Dental Care
  • Integrity Dental
  • Jack O. Smalley
  • Animas Pediatric Dental
  • Summit Family Dental
  • Thompson Dental Group
  • PMS Dental Clinic
  • Pinon Hills Dental
  • Mountain Dental

Your Dental Hygiene AAS can also help you with further studies. Some of our graduates pursue a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene or a discipline such as public health. 

Dental Hygiene AAS Accreditation Information

The program in dental hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of approval without reporting requirements. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678. The Commission’s web address is: http://www.ada.org/en/coda.

Eligibility Requirements

The SJC Dental Hygiene program is highly selective and has minimum admission requirements. Visit our Admissions to Dental Hygiene page for more information.

How to Apply

Before you apply, please make sure you meet all of the minimum eligibility requirements listed on our Admissions to Dental Hygiene page. 

  1. Apply to and be accepted to San Juan College.
    • This is not the same as applying to and being admitted to the SJC dental hygiene program.
    • By applying to San Juan College, we can properly determine which prerequisite and general education courses will transfer.
    • When you apply, mark Pre-Dental Hygiene as your program of choice.
  2. Send all official transcripts.
    • This process may take 3-4 weeks. Please be sure to have your transcripts sent in well ahead of the application deadline!
    • For electronic transcripts, please have them emailed directly to transcripts@sanjuancollege.edu.
  3. Complete all of your prerequisite and general education courses.
    • All prerequisite courses must either be completed or in progress at the time of application. Fill out the In Progress Grade Report Form and attach it to your application.
    • All of the prerequisite courses must be completed prior to entering the Dental Hygiene program.
    • Students are strongly encouraged to complete all general education courses before applying to the program.
  4. Contact the Dental Hygiene program to set up an appointment with our program advisor to conduct a review of your eligibility. 
  5. Complete and submit an application packet for the Dental Hygiene program.

Licensure Information

Students who complete the Dental Hygiene AAS are eligible to take the following:

Please note: You must earn your license in the state you plan to practice.

For more information about licensure and to find links to specific State Boards, please visit the American Dental Hygienists Association.

Next Steps

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to some common questions. If you have other inquiries, please contact the Dental Hygiene program.

Visit our FAQ Page

To apply to the Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene, you must first apply to San Juan College. Be sure to mark Pre-Dental Hygiene as your major, and don't forget to send all official transcripts. 

Apply Now

Before applying, please ensure you meet all the minimum eligibility requirements in the Admission Requirements section. This includes completing all prerequisite courses and completing the dental hygiene observation time. 

Download and Submit Your Application


Phone: (505) 566-3320

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Room 1911

M-F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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