Dental Hygiene

Jill M. Hay, RDH, M.Ed, Coordinator
Phone: (419) 995-8327
Office: CK 122

A Career in Dental Hygiene

Registered dental hygienists are licensed members of the oral health team who are responsible for assessing the oral health status of patients and providing individualized preventive treatment. Individuals choose this caring profession because it is a challenging and rewarding career with the security of a professional license and the responsibility of direct patient care. Treatment often provided by a dental hygienist includes: taking social, medical and dental histories; assessing the patient's oral health and planning preventive treatment; making radiographic surveys (x-rays); providing individual oral health care instructions; removing deposits from teeth (cleaning); administering fluoride therapy; and placing dental sealants. Most dental hygienists practice in a private dental office. However, some seek employment in public health settings, specialty practices, school systems, industry, federal services and higher education. The need for licensed dental hygienists continues to grow as the demand for access to preventive oral health care increases.

The Associate Degree program at Rhodes State College provides the student with an excellent dental hygiene education, encouraging personal and professional growth. The faculty are committed to offering the highest level of instruction to each student. All clinical instruction, assessment and evaluation is provided by licensed dental hygienists and dentists in the modern, well-equipped Dental Hygiene Clinic. Dental health activities are integrated throughout the program preparing graduates to be vital members of the community. The curriculum is a combination of classroom, laboratory and clinical courses providing the student with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice dental hygiene. Emphasis is given to assisting the student to appreciate the value of comprehensive dental hygiene care.

Mission Statement

The Dental Hygiene Program prepares students to become competent oral healthcare professionals. 

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate entry-level competence necessary to provide educational, clinical, and consultative services to individuals of all ages and from any population by assuming the role of a dental hygienist in clinical and non-clinical practice settings.
  2. Assess the overall health of all patients and develop individualized comprehensive dental hygiene care plans.
  3. Apply biomedical science and general education knowledge to the practice of dental hygiene. 
  4. Apply dental and dental hygiene science knowledge in the provision of safe and effective dental hygiene care within the scope of the Ohio Revised Code and established professional standards of dental hygiene practice.
  5. Participate in community activities which promote the importance of oral and general health.
  6. Assume the responsibility of life-long learning through continued credit and non-credit education by being a participating member in dental hygiene professional associations.
  7. Analyze current research and apply information to the practice of dental hygiene in private and public health settings. 

Notice to Prospective or Current Dental Hygiene Students

You are at risk if you have been convicted of a prior felony and/or some misdemeanors. You may not be able to participate in clinical education experiences required to complete the program. A criminal record may also prevent you from obtaining a license or certificate in your chosen healthcare profession.

Bloodborne Pathogens

Dental hygiene students provide services in the oral cavity where they come in contact with blood and saliva. Although diseases may be encountered, research indicates that risks are negligible when optimal infection control is practiced. Upon entering the program, current infection control measures and practice are presented to the students by qualified faculty. Compliance of these practices is assessed and evaluated throughout the students' clinical experience to ensure a safe working environment.

Prior to entering the program, all new Health Sciences Division students will receive the Division of Health Sciences Infectious Disease Policy. This comprehensive document demonstrates the College's commitment to protecting students' rights, to educating students about infectious diseases, and to taking every reasonable precaution to provide a safe educational and work environment.

Dental Hygiene Licensure

Graduates of the program are awarded an Associate Degree of Applied Science. Upon successful completion of the program, the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) Dental Hygiene Examination, and the Ohio Jurisprudence Examination, graduates will be eligible to apply for state licensure. 

Reentry or Admission with Advanced Standing

Students seeking reentry to the Dental Hygiene Program may be accepted one time on a space-available basis. A student who withdrew or was academically disqualified from the previous academic year must be in good standing with the College and follow the prescribed procedures stated in the program's Re-entry Policy. This document is published in the Clinic Manual and is available upon request from the Office of the Chairperson of Dental Hygiene.

Advanced standing may be granted to a transfer student when courses are equivalent and were completed within the accepted time frame:

Dental Hygiene courses: within the previous academic year

Related (Basic) Studies courses: within the previous five years

Technical Standards
See here for details.

Tech Prep Partner
See here for details.

“C” grade policy

  • A minimum 2.0 GPA is required for graduation.
  • A grade of “C” or higher must be achieved in all courses carrying the specific program prefix such as DHY, EMS, MAT, NSG, OTA, PNS, PTA, RAD, RES and SRG.
  • All programs and certificates require a grade of “C” (2.0) or better in required science courses and in required basic/related health science (BHS) courses as well as in selected general education and basic/related science courses (see program requirements).

All of the following required coursework needs to have been completed within five years of matriculation into a Health Sciences program or certificate.

BIO 1000Basic Human Structure and Function3
BIO 1110Anatomy and Physiology I (The age requirement may be waived by the Program Chair or Coordinator if the applicant is currently working in a healthcare field. )4
BIO 1120Anatomy and Physiology II (The age requirement may be waived by the Program Chair or Coordinator if the applicant is currently working in a healthcare field. )4
BIO 1400Microbiology4
BHS 1390Medical Terminology2
BHS 2110Growth and Development: Lifespan2
CHM 1120Introductory Organic and Biochemistry4
DTN 1220Principles of Nutrition2
NSG 1721Pharmacology for Nursing2

Criminal Background Checks and Drug Screening

To meet the expanding requirements of our clinical affiliates, both a criminal background check and a drug screen will be mandatory prior to clinical experiences for most students within the Division of Health Sciences and Public Service. Some program exceptions may apply. You are at risk if you have been convicted of a prior felony and/or some misdemeanors. Students with certain felony, misdemeanor, or drug-related convictions will be ineligible for admission into clinical experiences. A criminal record may also prevent you from obtaining a license or certificate in your chosen healthcare profession or to obtain employment post-graduation. Students admitted to a program containing off-campus clinical/practicum experiences will be required to submit to drug screening. Positive drug screenings may result in dismissal from all clinical courses. Any student who refuses/fails to cooperate or complete any required drug screening will be considered “positive” and dismissed from the clinical component of their program. All students requiring drug screening may be subject to random drug screens and for cause during the program.

Recommended High School Coursework

Students are encouraged to complete college prep classes in high school. Although not required, the courses provide a better understanding of college-level work. Recommended college prep courses include:
English: 4 units
Math: 4 units
Natural Science: 3 units
Social Science: 3 units

Health Insurance

The Division of Health Sciences and Public Service is committed to protecting students, faculty, and patients from infectious diseases during clinical practice and taking every reasonable precaution to provide a safe educational and work environment. All new students entering the health-related programs will be informed of the risks of blood-borne and other infectious diseases. Students with a high risk of infectious diseases should be aware of their own health status and risk of exposure to other students, employees, or patients involved in the clinical environment. All students are required to provide their own health insurance coverage for the duration of their program and be able to provide proof of insurance if requested.

Radiation Monitoring

For educational and training purposes, students under the age of 18 are held to the same radiation exposure limits as members of the general public (1mSv/year). This limit is 1/50 that of the occupational exposure limit which is 50mSv/year (National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements).  The occupational radiation exposure of radiologic personnel engaged in general x-ray activity are typically considerably lower exposures than this limit. All students are monitored while in areas of possible radiation exposure.