Dental Hygiene

Students who wish to be considered for admission to the Dental Hygiene degree program must complete a college application, indicating Dental Hygiene as the major (DH.GS), and present credentials as outlined in the following guidelines.

To be considered for admission to the Dental Hygiene program, there are additional steps and requirements that must be met after you've submitted your free application to Montco, indicating Dental Hygiene as the desired major.

Present credentials as outlined in the following guidelines.

  1. All applicants must submit a final high school transcript or GED scores, including one year of Chemistry with a laboratory component having earned a grade of "C" or better. An equivalent course taken at a post-secondary institution would be an acceptable substitute. Chemistry with laboratory course must be successfully completed within 10 years prior to enrolling in Dental Hygiene courses.
  2. All applicants must submit official college transcript(s), if applicable.
  3. Additionally, one of the following credentials must be submitted.
    1. ACT score composite of 18 or above, or
    2. SAT score of a minimum of 800 total, or
    3. SAT I or SAT Reasoning combined with math and verbal/critical reading score of 920 total, or
    4. College transcript including 14 semester hours consisting of two 4 credit lab science courses and two 3 credit courses from the general education component of the Dental Hygiene curriculum. Grades for the four courses/14 credits must each be a "C" or better and result in a GPA of at least 2.5. The 14 credits will be used for evaluation purposes and are only transferable if successfully completed within the past 10 years. All science courses must be successfully completed within 10 years prior to enrolling in Dental Hygiene courses.
  4. All applicants must take college placement tests in English, Mathematics, and Reading and must place above the developmental level prior to enrolling in Dental Hygiene.
  5. All applicants are required to demonstrate a minimum of six hours of observation in a dental office in order to ensure that the applicant is familiar with the work environment in which most dental hygienists are employed. Written verification from the dentist or dental hygienist, on dental office letterhead, is required of each applicant to verify current dental office employment or completion of the six-hour observation in a dental office. Verification must be submitted to the Dental Hygiene Advisor, by January 31 prior to the fall semester that the student desires to enter the Dental Hygiene Program.
  6. One class is admitted each academic year, fall semester.
  7. Following application to the Dental Hygiene Program, applicants are advised to take the required non-dental hygiene courses (see Sequence of Courses) while awaiting program acceptance. Due to class size limitations, Montco does not guarantee continuous enrollment between non-Dental Hygiene and Dental Hygiene courses.

In addition to meeting the program’s essential functions and admission requirements, all applicants are required to submit a Petition for Dental Hygiene Admission to the Office of Admissions, Records and Registration. The Petition for Dental Hygiene Admission demonstrates the applicant’s attainment of the Dental Hygiene Program Admission Requirements. Admission to the clinical component of the Dental Hygiene Program is based on a point system and ranking procedure. Points are awarded based on place of permanent residence, number of non-DHG courses completed, courses completed at Montco, course grades and date of application. A Total Point Score is derived for each applicant and used in ranking applicants who submit a completed Petition for Dental Hygiene Admission. Applicants are urged to meet with the Dental Hygiene Advisor (215-641-6577) prior to submitting the Petition for Dental Hygiene Program Admissions to verify completion of Admission Requirements as well as the accuracy of their records.

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Essential Functions

In addition to the academic admission requirements for students entering the Dental Hygiene Program, the following Essential Functions are also expected of all students with or without accommodations. Students must:

  • have the intellectual, conceptual and critical thinking abilities to assess, analyze, reason and synthesize data in order to draw sound conclusions and make clinical decisions.
  • be able to problem solve as well as obtain, interpret and document information.
  • have effective oral and written communication skills in order to accurately transmit information appropriate to the ability of patients, colleagues, and other healthcare workers. Students must be able to read and write clearly in English.
  • have gross and fine motor skills sufficient to lift and operate equipment and provide safe and effective dental hygiene care.
  • have interpersonal skills such that they are capable of interacting with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, economic and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Possess the physical mobility necessary to move from place to place in small spaces as well as full range of motion, manual and finger dexterity.
  • have physical endurance that enables them to stay on task for a prolonged period while sitting, standing or moving.
  • have the visual and perceptual abilities sufficient for observation of patients, oral conditions and assessment. They need these to discriminate between subtle changes in oral conditions clinically and radiographically. They must possess a high degree of hand-eye coordination.
  • have auditory ability and other sensory skills sufficient to monitor and assess the health needs and diagnose the oral conditions of patients as well as maintain patient safety.
  • have tactile sensitivity sufficient for the use of detection, light pressure and control when using small instruments in the oral cavity.
  • demonstrate professional attitudes and behaviors.
      • Students must be able to use reasonable judgment under stressful conditions that impact patient care.
      • Students must be able to work independently as a member of a team to maintain the highest standards in relation to quality care.
      • Students must be able to present a professional appearance, maintain personal health and be emotionally stable.
  • demonstrate general skills.including time management, patient management, ability to multitask, prioritize, comprehend as well as follow instructions and comply with a variety of clinical and professional rules and regulations related to safe clinical practice.

Students must be able to fulfill these essential functions of the job without endangering patients or other healthcare workers.

Students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodations. Prior to the start of the Program, students may contact the Director of Services for Disabilities at 215-641-6575 for more information. At the West Campus, contact the Coordinator of Disability Services in the Student Success Center at 610-718-1853.

Program Requirements

Dental Hygiene students are required to:

  1. Attend the mandatory Dental Hygiene Program Orientation.
  2. Demonstrate proof of computer literacy prior to enrolling in Dental Hygiene courses. Successful completion of one of the following will fulfill this requirement: demonstrate computer proficiency obtained through life experiences, demonstrate computer skills obtained at another academic institution including high school or acquired through on the job training, or complete a computer science course such as CIS 100.
  3. Purchase all required dental hygiene textbooks, manuals, instruments, supply kits and loupes.
  4. Purchase the Dental Hygiene Program uniform, uniform jacket, gowns, shoes, and name pin. NOTE: No ear gauges, piercings other than the ear lobe, or visible tattoos are permitted while in uniform.
  5. Purchase student liability insurance annually. A copy of each student’s liability insurance policy must be kept on file by the program.
  6. Assume all responsibility for transportation to and from enrichment/extramural dental site assignments.
  7. Obtain and maintain current American Heart Association's Health Care Provider OR American Red Cross' Professional Rescuer CPR status. A copy of each student's CPR certification must be kept on file by the program.
  8. Have a comprehensive physical examination, which includes documentation of selected vaccinations and a urine drug screen within six months of entering the Program, verify immunity to Hepatitis B and rubella as well as provide record of a current tetanus shot.
  9. Submit application for Child Abuse History Clearance, FBI Clearance and PA Criminal Record Check annually. NOTE: A Child Abuse History will and a Criminal Record and/or FBI Record may exclude the student from participation in the Program.
  10. Submit documentation of an annual influenza vaccination.
  11. Students are responsible for finding their own patients to satisfy their semester patient requirements.

NOTE: Students in the Dental Hygiene Program may be exposed to blood-borne pathogens. Students are provided with a thorough knowledge and understanding of infectious diseases, the mechanism of disease transmission, the OSHA blood-borne standards, and CDC guidelines for infection control.

Academic Preperation

Applicants who do not have the necessary academic preparation for the Dental Hygiene program may take preparatory courses at the College to strengthen their academic background, Advisors are available to assist students in selecting appropriate coursework.

Academic Standing

Applicants who have successfully completed (grade “C” or better) course(s) in an ADA CODA accredited dental assisting or dental hygiene program or similar may qualify for course transfers or challenge examinations. Upon request, information is available from the Dental Hygiene Program Director.

Progression in Dental Hygiene

Candidates for the A.A.S. Degree in Dental Hygiene may progress within the program and be recommended to the PA State Board of Dentistry for licensure and eligibility to take the Dental Hygiene National Board and NERB examination if the following requirements have been met.
  • Minimum grade of “C” in all dental hygiene (DHG) and related science (BIO) courses as prerequisite for courses at the next level.
  • Complete courses in prescribed sequence as identified under Sequence of Courses.

All students must complete the Dental Hygiene Program within four academic years of the date of initial enrollment in the program. Eligibility for re-admission to the Program is based upon space availability as well as meeting minimal specified requirements.

Licensure Considerations

Note: The Dental Law #216 of the State Board of Dentistry, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in Section 4.1 states:

The PA State Board of Dentistry has the authority to refuse, revoke or suspend the license of any applicant where the Board shall find that the applicant.*

* Has been found guilty of a crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or having been found guilty of a felony in violation of the laws of the Commonwealth or any other state. For purposes of this clause, the phrase “having been found guilty” shall include a finding or verdict of guilt, an admission of guilt or plea of nolo contender.

* Is unable to practice as a dental hygienist with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness, drunkenness, excessive use of controlled substances, chemicals or any type of material, or as a result of any mental or physical condition.

Additional reasons that the PA State Board of Dentistry may refuse a professional dental hygiene license can be found in section 4.1 of the Dental Law #216 of the State Board of Dentistry, Commonwealth of PA. All questions related to licensure are to be directed to the Commonwealth of PA, State Board of Dentistry, P.O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649.