Career Opportunities

Dental hygienists are employed in private dental practices, corporate dental practices, research, government health agencies, school systems, hospital and public health clinics, and military services.

Special Admissions Requirements

Anyone desiring entrance into this major must first gain admission to Penn College. Acceptance into this selective admission major is based upon additional requirements beyond College admission. Details are available on the Selective Admission Criteria and Process webpage.

Special Equipment Needs

Upon admission to this major, additional expenses will be encountered for uniforms, personal protective equipment, and instruments. Refer to the list of tools, uniforms, and supplies.

Laptop Computer Required  

  • Windows 10 or higher, macOS 11 or higher (recommended). 
  • Intel Core i5 or i7 (generation 10 or higher) processor (recommended). 
  • 8+ GB RAM (recommended).  
  • 250+ GB Solid State Disk (SSD) drive (recommended). 
  • Laptop must include a webcam and microphone (required). 
  • Laptop must include a wireless network card (required). 
  • Broadband Internet connection when working off campus (required). 
  • Additional plug-ins may be required (Information Technology Services Service Desk available for assistance). 
  • Chromebooks and other devices running ChromeOS are prohibited

Remediation Strategies

All incoming students must meet placement requirements in math. Students are expected to remediate any deficiencies as explained in the College Catalog (see Incoming students whose placement results identify a need for the developmental math course MTH 004 may not enroll in this major.

Transfer Procedures

Students in this major can transfer to the bachelor's degree in Dental Hygiene or Applied Health Studies. 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.

Program Goals

A graduate of this major should be able to:
  • demonstrate professional and ethical conduct consistent with current dental hygiene standards of care.
  • develop the knowledge and skills necessary to apply the dental hygiene process of care to diverse populations in all age ranges.
  • promote oral health within the community.

Performance Standards

Students must earn a minimum grade of 'C' in each DEN course. Failure to do so will result in termination from the major.

The following grading system applies to all dental (DEN) courses in this major. There is no rounding of grades:

A= 90-100
B= 80-89.99
C= 75 –79.99
F= 74.99 and below


First SemesterCreditsNotesLectureLab/ClinicalM/SType
FYE101First Year Experience 1.50 1.50 SREQ
DEN103Dental Hygiene I 42 6 MREQ
DEN104Preventive Dentistry 21.50 1.50 MREQ
DEN109Orofacial Anatomy 33 MREQ
DEN108Oral Histology 11 MREQ
BIO115Human Anatomy & Physiology I 43 3 SREQ
ENL111English Composition I 33 SREQ
Second SemesterCreditsNotesLectureLab/ClinicalM/SType
DEN123Dental Radiology 32 3 MREQ
DEN126Dental Hygiene II 52 9 MREQ
DEN130Introduction to Periodontics 22 MREQ
DEN211Oral Health & Nutrition 22 MREQ
BIO125Human Anatomy & Physiology II 43 3 SREQ
BIO201Microbiology 43 3 SREQ
Summer SessionCreditsNotesLectureLab/ClinicalM/SType
MMMMath Elective (MTH151 or Higher) 3 SMMM
Third SemesterCreditsNotesLectureLab/ClinicalM/SType
DEN202General & Oral Pathology 22 MREQ
DEN204Pharmacology 22 MREQ
DEN212Periodontics II 11 MREQ
DEN214Dental Materials & Specialties 32 3 MREQ
DEN216Dental Hygiene III 62 12 MREQ
PSY111General Psychology 33 SREQ
Fourth SemesterCreditsNotesLectureLab/ClinicalM/SType
DEN220Community Dental Health 22 MREQ
DEN224Dental Law & Ethics 1Writing Enriched Requirement1 MREQ
DEN227Dental Hygiene Theory & Practice 51 12 MREQ
DEN240Techniques in Pain Control 21 3 MREQ
SPC101Fundamentals of Speech 33 SREQ
CSC124Information, Technology & Society 33 SREQ
SSPCore Social Science Perspective 3 SSSP

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.

Penn College complies with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. Pursuant to this Act, all forms of marijuana, including medical marijuana, are classified as prohibited controlled substances. Additionally, alcohol, illegal drugs, and legal drugs obtained without a prescription or which may impair a student’s ability to perform his/her educational responsibilities are strictly prohibited. Students are subject to drug screening at various phases of the program. Please note that a positive drug screening for marijuana will be deemed a positive test and will result in a student being dismissed from the program, even if the student has been lawfully certified to use medical marijuana and/or possesses a valid medical marijuana identification card issued in accordance with applicable state law.


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: