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Hagerstown Community College / HCC

Academic Catalog

2023-2024 Catalog 
    Feb 26, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog

Dental Hygiene, A.A.S.

The Dental Hygiene program is designated as a Health Manpower Shortage Program; therefore, some residents of Maryland enrolled in this program of study on the first day of the term may be eligible for in-county tuition rates for courses required for program completion.

Special Admissions Requirements: Program Application Deadline: April 1st

Dental hygienists are licensed preventive oral health care professionals. They provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services to patients in dental offices, schools, long-­term facilities, and public health settings.  Clinical skills include: taking health histories, blood pressure screenings, oral cancer screenings, dental charting, periodontal assessment, exposing and interpreting dental radiographs, non­surgical periodontal therapy, dental prophylaxis, application of fluoride and sealants, nutritional counseling and tobacco cessation.

Purpose: For students who wish to complete a dental hygiene program with an associate of applied science degree. The dental hygiene program is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skill, and clinical practice to function effectively as an entry-­level registered dental hygienist.

Curriculum: The curriculum is divided into several broad areas of study and consists of lectures, laboratory and clinical experiences. Emphasis is on implementation of the dental hygiene process of care to meet the oral health needs of a variety of patients in multiple practice settings. Courses in general education and biological and behavioral sciences prepare students to interact with patients, other health care professionals and the community. It is the Dental Hygiene program’s philosophy to create ethical, competent professionals who are lifelong learners. Students who are considering transferring to a four-year college should inform their advisors at the earliest opportunity to discuss the options available. 

View the Dental Hygiene, A.A.S. Fee Sheet. 

Program Outcomes:

  1. Provide participatory classroom/lab instruction utilizing current oral healthcare theoretical knowledge, clinical skills, and professional behaviors through faculty who are competent in advanced teaching methodology, evidence-based research, and use of modern technology.
  2. Promote success for all dental hygiene students through faculty who promote a strong sense of community, continually strive to improve their teaching, and act as mentors and professional models for students.
  3. Provide students the opportunities to develop the reasoning, judgment, and leadership skills necessary to identify problems, develop solutions to problems, implement these solutions and evaluate effectiveness of these solutions.
  4. Provide instructional methodology and experiences with current technology that prepares students to successfully complete national, regional, and/or state licensure examinations and thrive in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing interdisciplinary health care workforce.
  5. Prepare students who possess the knowledge, clinical competency, information literacy, and life-long learning skills required to provide current, comprehensive dental hygiene services to diverse populations now and in the future.
  6. Prepare graduates who can apply a professional code of ethics and adhere to the legal and regulatory issues related to the scope and practice of dental hygiene.

Program Student Learning Outcomes: Graduates of the Associate of Applied Degree in Dental Hygiene will be competent to: 

  1. Apply professional values and ethics in all endeavors.
  2. Demonstrate interpersonal skills to effectively communicate and collaborate with professionals and patients across socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
  3. Comply with local, state, and federal regulations concerning infection control protocols for blood-borne and respiratory pathogens, other infectious diseases, and hazardous materials.
  4. Establish and enforce mechanisms to ensure the management of emergencies.
  5. Demonstrate critical and analytical reasoning to identify and develop comprehensive oral health care solutions and protocol.
  6. Integrate accepted scientific theories and research into educational, preventive, and therapeutic oral health services.
  7. Promote the values of the dental profession through service-based activities.
  8. Promote an ethical and equitable patient care and practice environment by demonstrating inclusion of diverse beliefs and values.
  9. Engage in research, education, industry involvement, technological and professional developments and/or advanced degrees.
  10. Facilitate referral to and consultations with relevant health care providers and other professionals to promote equitable and optimal patient care.
  11. Solicit and provide constructive feedback to promote professional growth of self.
  12. Apply the knowledge of the following sciences during the dental hygiene process of care:

a. Microbiology
b. Human anatomy and physiology
c. Human cellular biology
d. Chemistry
e. Biochemistry
f. Immunology and pathology
g. Nutrition
h. Pharmacokinetics

13. Identify predisposing, etiologic, environmental, and social risk factors for person-centered care.
14. Integrate observational and diagnostic data as part of the dental hygiene diagnosis.
15. Use all aspects of the dental hygiene diagnosis in combination with the person’s values, beliefs, and preferences to develop a dental hygiene care plan through shared decision-making.
16. Integrate educational, preventive, and therapeutic services to provide comprehensive person-centered care.
17. Modify dental hygiene care plans as necessary to meet goals of patient and clinician.
18. Accurately document assessment findings and data, dental hygiene diagnosis and care plan, implementation, outcome evaluation, and any communication between professionals and patient and anyone else in the circle of care. 

Admission Requirements: Admission to HCC does not guarantee admission to the Dental Hygiene Program. The requirements below must be completed and submitted to the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Management by the application deadline of April 1st. 

  • Submit official scores for the ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Assessments. The assessments measure foundational skills required for entry in the dental hygiene program. Applicants need to achieve a WorkKeys® assessment level of 5 in Applied Math, 5 in Graphic Literacy, and 4 in Workplace Documents taken within the last three years.
  • Submit a completed program application known as the Supplemental Application for the Dental Hygiene Program form.    
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended even if the courses taken are not directly applicable to the Dental Hygiene program. HCC calculates cumulative GPA from all college coursework as part of the scoring process (students who took classes at HCC do not need to submit official HCC transcripts).  All transcripts must be complete and show grades or outcomes for each class taken or the status of in-progress for classes that are in-progress at the application deadline.
  • Completed Dental Hygiene Observation Verification Form (8 hours of observation). Observation forms older than three years will not be accepted.
  • The following General Education courses must be completed or in progress by the April 1st deadline. These program required general education courses include ENG 101 - English Composition  (ENG 101E  and ENG 101P  are approved substitutions for ENG 101), BIO 116 - Human Anatomy and Physiology for Allied Health  OR  BIO 203 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I  must be completed and BIO 204 - Human Anatomy and Physiology II  must be in progress, CHM 101 - Introductory College Chemistry  or higher, and a Mathematics course selected from the approved General Education course list  ( MAT 109 - Statistics  preferred). 
  • Recommended courses completed prior to the supplemental application deadline are PSY 101 - General Psychology , an Arts/Humanities course selected from the approved General Education course list , and COM 103 - Public Speaking  or COM 108 - Introduction to Human Communication .
  • In addition to the minimum grade requirement for English Composition set forth by COMAR, HCC requires Dental Hygiene students to complete all General Education requirements with a minimum grade of “C” or higher. If a student has a grade below a C, they are not eligible to be scored until that grade is replace with a grade of “C” or higher.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average for all college coursework of a 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. In addition, a minimum grade point average of 2.5 for all program courses is required.
  • Completion of all required science courses within five years of the application deadline.
  • Foreign educated students’ transcripts evaluated by WES (World Education Services).
  • The Dental Hygiene program is a Maryland Health Manpower Shortage program.  All students who apply for this program must be eligible to work in the State of Maryland at the application deadline and while enrolled in the program. To become licensed as a Dental Hygienist, each student must have a valid Social Security number.

Program Requirements: Students learn and practice dental hygiene skills on each other and provide preventive dental hygiene services to community members and patients in the HCC Dental Education Clinic. It is the student’s responsibility to find their own patients to meet the clinical requirements necessary for program completion. All dental hygiene students must receive:

  1. Maintain a minimum grade of “C” or better in all non-clinical Dental Hygiene (DHY) courses. The Health Sciences Division “C” represents a grade of at least a 75%.
  2. For clinical Dental Hygiene (DHY) courses a minimum grade of 75% is required for DHY 102C , a minimum grade of 80% is required for DHY 111C  and DHY 202C , and a minimum grade of 85% for DHY 221C .
  3. Adherence to the Dental Hygiene Program Manual procedures and policies, the college Code of Student Conduct, and the dental hygiene professional standards of practice.

Students who violate the college’s Honor Code and Standards of Conduct, the dental hygiene program’s Standard of Conduct, the American Dental Hygiene Association Code of Ethics for Dental Hygienists and the American Dental Association Standard of Care that results in termination from the dental hygiene program are not eligible for readmission.

Fact Sheet:

Program Pathway

First Year Fall   First Year Spring
Course Number Course Name Credits   Course Number Course Name Credits
ENG 101

English Composition
*(ENG 101E  and ENG 101P  are approved substitutions for ENG 101)

3   Gen Ed Arts/Humanities 3
Gen Ed Mathematics
*(MAT 109  is recommended)
3   COM 103
COM 108
Public Speaking
Introduction to Human Communication
BIO 116
BIO 203 & BIO 204
Human Anatomy and Physiology for Allied Health (4 credits)
Anatomy and Physiology I & II (8 credits)
4   PSY 101 General Psychology 3
CHM 101
or higher
Introduction to College Chemistry (or higher) 4   BIO 205 Microbiology 4
TOTAL   14   TOTAL   13
Second Year Fall   Second Year Spring
Course Number Course Name Credits   Course Number Course Name Credits
DHY 101 Dental Hygiene Theory I   2   DHY 110 Dental Hygiene Theory II 2
DHY 102C Dental Hygiene Clinical I 2   DHY 111C Dental Hygiene Clinical II 2
DHY 104 Dental Radiology 3   DHY 112 Dental Materials and Procedures 3
DHY 108 Head, Neck, and Oral Anatomy 4   DHY 113 General and Oral Pathology 2
        DHY 116 Dental Pharmacology 2
        DHY 117 Introduction to Periodontics 2
TOTAL   11   TOTAL   13
Third Year Fall   Third Year Spring
DHY 201 Dental Hygiene Theory III 2   DHY 210 Community Dental Health 2
DHY 202C Dental Hygiene Clinical III 3   DHY 211 Dental Hygiene Ethics and Jurisprudence 1
DHY 203 Periodontics and Advanced Procedures 2   DHY 220 Dental Hygiene Theory IV 2
DHY 204 Pain Management in Dental Hygiene 2   DHY 221C Dental Hygiene Clinical IV 3
DHY 205 Nutrition and Biochemistry in Dentistry 2        
TOTAL   11   TOTAL   8

General Education Requirements (20-25 Credits)

*A minimum grade of “C” or better is required for all General Education Requirement courses.


Behavioral/Social Sciences


Program Requirements (50 Credits)

*A minimum grade of “C” or better is required for all non-clinical Dental Hygiene (DHY) courses. The Health Sciences Division “C” represents a grade of at least a 75%. For clinical Dental Hygiene (DHY) courses a minimum grade of 75% is required for DHY 102C , a minimum grade of 80% is required for DHY 111C  and DHY 202C , and a minimum grade of 85% for DHY 221C .

Degree Requirement (70 Credits)

Additional Program Requirements

Selection Criteria

Students will be admitted to the dental hygiene program each August. Students must achieve the required scores on the ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Assessment exam by the application deadline. Students are selected for admission based on a point system. Points are earned by the number of program required general education courses completed, grade point average in program required general education courses, grade point average in the program required science courses, for students who have completed all of their program required general education courses at HCC, cumulative grade point average for all college courses taken, for students who have completed HCC’s Dental Assisting Program and for students who have a current CDA from the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) (must show proof of official documentation). Those with the greatest number of points are admitted to the program.

Those students not admitted to the August class will be placed on a standby list until August 1. The standby list is dissolved after August 1, and students who desire admission to the dental hygiene program in the subsequent year, must fill out another Supplemental Application for the Dental Hygiene Program form.

Final Acceptance

Final acceptance into the program is contingent upon the following criteria. Students unable to meet these criteria will be withdrawn from the program and the seat filled by a student from the standby list.

  1. Those students accepted into the program must submit a $50 enrollment deposit when accepting their spot in the program.  This deposit will be applied to your tuition for the semester and is not refundable
  2. Successful completion of program requirements at the time of application
  3. Student attend the mandatory orientation session held on the second Friday in June
  4. Students must successfully pass a drug screen and criminal background check
  5. Students must be able to meet Dental Hygiene Technical Standards
  6. Satisfactory completion of a health examination record, a dental screening, and all required tests and immunizations, including a yearly TB test and Hepatitis series
  7. Current American Heart Association BLS Health Care Provider certification for Healthcare Providers.

Criminal Background Checks

All students who are offered admission to the Dental Hygiene program will be required to submit to fingerprinting and a complete a criminal background check. Based on the results of the criminal background check and consultation with dental licensing agencies, student may be ineligible for enrollment in the program. A valid government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, state ID, passport, military ID, or green card) and a social security number is required for a background check. Prior criminal records may prohibit students from clinical program placement, becoming licensed, or employment opportunities.  Students with a misdemeanor and/or felony should contact the local state licensing board prior to submitting an application. Students will be permitted to take their boards without a social security number, however they must have a valid social security number for licensure. 

Drug Screen

All students who are offered admission to the Dental Hygiene program will be required to submit to a drug screen. Drug screen results are disclosed to clinical facilities as required. A random drug screen may also be requested at any time during the dental hygiene program if a dental hygiene faculty member or a clinical facility representative has reasonable cause to suspect that a student is impaired and poses a safety concern to patients or others. If a student cannot meet program requirements because of the drug screen results, the student will be recommended for dismissal from the dental hygiene program.

Vaccine Requirements

Several immunizations are required as part of your health documentation, including:  HEP B 3 vaccine series AND Positive immunity titer, Tetanus (Tdap) within last 10 years, Varicella 2 vaccine series AND positive immunity titer, MMR 2 vaccine series AND positive immunity titer,  and the Flu vaccine (fall and spring). Since many individuals fail to maintain immunity over time, you may be required to repeat vaccination series/ receive a booster in order to demonstrate positive immunity. Positive immunity titers are required to proceed with Clinical or Externship rotations in all Health Sciences Programs. It is the student’s responsibility to verify immunity prior to the start of the program and take the necessary steps to ensure positive immunity by the health documentation deadline provided to each cohort.

Infectious and Bloodborne Diseases

The Hagerstown Community College Dental Hygiene Program complies with institutional, local, state, and federal regulations on bloodborne pathogen diseases, ionizing radiation, and hazardous materials. Students in the Program follow CDC, OSHA, and other guidelines to protect themselves and their patients from occupational exposure to these hazards. In addition, the Program has policies and procedures related to individuals who have bloodborne infectious disease(s).

Readmission to the Dental Hygiene Program

If a student should be unsuccessful in their first or second semester of the dental hygiene program readmission is not available. The first-year student will be required to reapply back into the general applicant pool, and all course work taken within the first year will require the student to repeat.  If a student is unsuccessful during their third or fourth semester, they may request readmission by submitting a letter to the program coordinator. Should a student be unsuccessful in two or more dental hygiene courses, the student is not eligible for readmission at Hagerstown Community College. The request for readmission letter should identify the student’s deficiencies and a detailed plan of action to ensure success should they be granted readmission. Readmission to the dental hygiene program must take place within one year of leaving the program. If unsuccessful the third semester the letter for readmission must be submitted prior to April 1st, if unsuccessful the fourth semester the readmission letter must be submitted by August 1st

Readmission to the dental hygiene program is based on highest grade-point average and available seats in the class in which they are seeking readmission. Readmission cannot be guaranteed and is based on the criteria described in the readmission requirements available in the Dental Hygiene Program Student Manual. The curriculum under which a student seeks readmission may be different from the one under which the student left. Students who are accepted for readmission must complete the degree requirements in place at the time of readmission.  Students may be required to repeat classes which they have already completed as part of the readmission requirements.   Students who fail or withdraw from a dental hygiene course after readmission are not eligible to be readmitted a second time.

Transfer from Other Colleges

Students transferring to HCC from other colleges who seek admission as a first-time student into the Dental Hygiene program must be enrolled as an HCC student and complete the Supplemental Application for the Dental Hygiene program form by the established deadline date. In order to be considered for admission, students must meet the same requirements as other first-time students and will be selected according to the same criteria. Official transcripts from all colleges attended must be received by the application deadline and a completed Transcript Evaluation Request must be submitted.  This is required even if the courses do not directly apply to the Dental Hygiene program.  All transcripts must be complete and show grades or outcomes for each class completed or the status of in-progress for classes that are in-progress at the application deadline.  HCC calculates cumulative GPA from all college coursework as part of the scoring process for entry into this program.  Required science courses that are older than five years must be repeated.  

Transfer from Other Dental Hygiene Programs/Advanced Placement Requirements

Students transferring to HCC who have been enrolled in another dental hygiene program must be enrolled as an HCC student, complete the Supplemental Application for the Dental Hygiene Program form, and submit transcripts from other colleges attended. Students may be considered for advanced placement in the dental hygiene program if the previous dental hygiene coursework has been completed within the last year, and the student is in good standing at the previous institution. Students whom fall or are unsuccessful at another institution are not eligible for transfer/advanced standing at Hagerstown Community College. Students transferring from another CODA-­approved accredited dental hygiene program to Hagerstown Community College must meet the following criteria for advanced placement:

  1. Fulfill all academic criteria for admission to the dental hygiene program, including submission of official transcript(s) from the former institution.
  2. A transfer evaluation will be completed on all transcripts by the Registrar to determine which courses a student may transfer to HCC for credit.  Science courses that are older than five years must be repeated.
  3. Attended a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
  4. Achieved satisfactory grades (“C” or higher) in non-science academic courses with a 2.0 G.P.A. A 2.5 G.P.A. in all science and previous dental hygiene courses is required.
  5. Achieved a score of 75% or greater on written and oral comprehensive examinations and 85% or greater in performance competency tests in the clinical area. For courses which include a lab, a practical exam is required. The student has to demonstrate clinical competence in all aspects evaluated in the course and pass a written exam.
  6. Submit a letter of recommendation from the Director of the former program.  In addition, the HCC Program Coordinator will conduct an interview with the dental hygiene program director of the student’s previous institution.
  7. Admission of applicants for advanced placement in the dental hygiene program are considered on an individual basis and restricted by the student capacity of the program. Students should contact the Dental Hygiene Program Coordinator for information. 

Ionizing Radiation and Pregnancy

Reporting of pregnancy to program officials is voluntary on the part of the student. Regulatory Guide 8.13, Instruction Concerning Prenatal Radiation Exposure, ( published by the United States Regulatory Commission provides information and guidelines.

Technical Standards

There are technical standards which students are expected to possess and demonstrate in order to be successful in this program.  More information on these standards can be found on the Web page for this program.