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Dental Hygiene

Program Description

The Dental Hygiene Program is four semesters in length and begins each August. The curriculum focuses on basic science, including microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and general education classes. The program provides essential technical and clinical skills in preparation for providing preventive dental hygiene services to the public. Graduates are eligible to take the Dental Hygiene National Board Examination, Regional and/or State Board Licensing Examinations. The Dental Hygiene Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.


Dental Hygiene Program Philosophy

The Rochester Community and Technical College Dental Hygiene Program is designed to provide academic and clinical educational opportunities for individuals to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for the professional practice of dental hygiene. The philosophy of patient centered care is applied to each phase of the educational process. The integration of problem solving skills, clinical skills, and a theoretical knowledge base allow the student to accept responsibility for delivery of quality, ethical, and legal oral health care.

The Dental Hygiene Program continuously strives to expand opportunities for student growth and development. The philosophy of the Dental Hygiene Program embraces the belief that life long learning is an integral part of responsible oral health care delivery.

Dental Hygiene Goals:

  1. To provide a broad-based educational experience, which enables students to continue life-long learning.
  2. To provide didactic and clinical experiences, which prepare students to become licensed dental hygienists.
  3. To create an environment, which fosters student growth as an ethical and legal health care provider.
  4. To emphasize the need for involvement, as a dental professional, in the education and treatment of the public.
  5. To encourage commitment to the dental hygiene profession through professional organizations and continuing education.
  6. To develop articulation agreements with transfer colleges and universities to provide the opportunity for students to continue their education.

Dental Hygiene Facts

Dental hygienists are licensed health care professionals who are skilled in preventing diseases such as dental caries (cavities) and periodontal (gum) disease through education and treatment. The dental hygienist is a clinician, an educator, and a manager. The dental hygienist provides direct patient care and functions as an integral part of the dental team.

Upon completion of the Dental Hygiene program, students will be trained in educational methods and preventive clinical services for a variety of career opportunities in private dental offices, schools, hospitals, clinics, and public health agencies.

Licensure: Upon receipt of the AAS degree in dental hygiene, graduates must obtain a license for the state(s) in which they wish to practice by successfully completing a regional board examination, as well as the National Board Examination. Graduates will then practice in accordance with requirements of individual states. Minnesota requires a specified number of hours of continuing education to maintain licensure.

· Nearly 150,000 dental hygienists practicing in the United States
· There are over 200 accredited Dental Hygiene programs in the United States
· New graduates are starting at about $20 per hour in the Rochester area
· Statewide salary range is $15 - $35.75 per hour
· Statewide average salary is $24.81 per hour
· Twin Cities area average is $26.49 per hour
· Benefits vary

Dental Hygiene Career Opportunities

  • Clinician
    - Performs oral health assessments
    - Provides services to patients to prevent gum disease and cavities
    - Takes x-rays and other diagnostic test
  • Administrator
  • Researcher
  • Consumer advocate
  • Public Health Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Hygiene Educator

Last Updated: October 7, 2014

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