This curriculum offers the theoretical and clinical education needed for a variety of dental hygiene careers. The major provides a diversified background to prepare students for licensing exams, for additional education, and for immediate employment.
About the curriculum
View the classes you will be attending in the College Catalog.
Accreditation & Industry Connections
The associate degree 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
Dental hygienists are employed in private dental practices, research, government health agencies, school systems, hospital and public health clinics, military services, and in dental hygiene education programs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dental hygienists was $74,070 in May 2017. The top 10 percent earned more than $101,330.
Industries with the highest published employment for this occupation are:
|Industry||Employment||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|Offices of Dentists||200,710||$36.04||$74,970|
|Offices of Physicians||1,940||$33.34||$69,350|
|Outpatient Care Centers||1,420||$35.43||$73,690|
|Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)||790||$28.66||$59,610|
Statistics reported in May 2017
Special Admissions Requirements
Acceptance into this competitive major is based on an admissions ranking process. To view acceptance criteria, testing requirements, performance expectations, and the admissions ranking system, consult the detailed special admissions information. Candidates for the Dental Hygiene program must possess the Technical Standards required of a dental hygienist.
Students must earn a minimum grade of 'C' in each aspect of their dental hygiene courses. Failure to do so will result in termination from the major.
Students in this major can transfer to the Dental Hygiene bachelor-degree option (BDE) or the Applied Health Studies major (BAH). This major will subscribe to the transfer standards established by the College.
International health credentials/licensure, sciences courses, and most math courses will not be accepted to satisfy requirements of this major. Please see additional information for international students applying to Health Sciences majors.
Tools, Uniforms & Supplies
Students accepted into the Dental Hygiene major will incur expenses for tools/instruments, uniforms, malpractice insurance, clearances and certifications, etc. See the complete list.
Uniforms and tools are available for purchase through The College Store.
Clubs & Activities
Student American Dental Hygienists' Association (SADHA)
Notice of Conviction
Child abuse clearance and criminal background checks are required by some agencies involved in fieldwork and/or capstones. Agencies can bar students from their sites if a criminal record exists or a positive drug test is noted. By virtue of contract for Penn College students to be at clinical sites, agencies have the right to ask for random drug testing. The Pennsylvania Board of Dentistry advises that a drug-related conviction and/or conviction of a felonious act can result in denial and/or revocation of a license to practice dental hygiene. Inability to gain clinical or fieldwork or intern education experiences results in inability to meet program objectives and outcomes. For additional clarification, students can speak with their program director.
Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee
- Ms. Lou Anne Barnhart, RDH, '81, Dental Hygienist, Loyalsock Dental Associates
- Ms. Lillian J Caperila, RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, Manager, Professional Education & Dental Hygiene Relations, Premier Dental Products Company
- Ms. Bridget Dorsey, RDH, Dental Hygienist, Field Sales Consultant, Henry Schein Dental
- Dr. JoAnn R Gurenlian, RDH, PhD., President, Gurenlian & Associates
- Dr. Henry T Hsu, Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology
- Dr. Carl Jenkins, DDS, General Dentist
- Mr. David Tule, RDH, '80, Dental Hygienist, Bryden & Kessel Family Dentistry
Advisory committees, which act as recommending bodies to the faculty and administration, consist of in-field professionals who act as partners in the development of curriculum. Their curricular and equipment advice as well as their industry connections and internship opportunities are invaluable to our students and to the growth of our institution.