Dental Hygiene Degree

Dental Hygiene Degree at Harper College

Begin your career as a dental hygienist

Career options  Health Science icon


  • Dental Hygienist

Harper College's 81-credit-hour Dental Hygiene Program is a full-time, five-semester career program leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Harper College is a great place to begin your career in dental hygiene. You'll get hands-on experience working in the Dental Hygiene Clinic, which is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Practice your skills on patients who come to the clinic for dental hygiene care.

In 2016 and 2017, 100% of the graduates of Harper’s Dental Hygiene Program passed both the American Dental Association’s National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the Commission on Dental Competency Assessment’s Clinical Board Examination.

This is a limited-enrollment program. Please review this program's admission criteria and process (see below).

AAS degree program requirements

This program meets state guidelines and is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

Because of the nature of clinical experiences and individualized instruction required in this program and specialized technology and the equipment necessary to offer this program, a higher tuition rate is assessed for career specific courses. These include courses with the prefix DHY. Tuition for these courses in this program is 200 percent of the standard tuition rate.

Prior to receiving a license in the practice of dental hygiene, graduates must successfully complete the program and pass the Dental Hygiene Written National Board exam and a Regional Clinical exam.

Admission Requirements:

Dental Hygiene is a limited enrollment program. For admission requirements, please contact the Admissions Outreach Office at 847.925.6700 or visit harpercollege.edu.

Students who apply for this limited enrollment program are obligated to meet the current admission requirements and follow program curriculum as defined at the time of acceptance to the program.

Upon admission to the Dental Hygiene program, the mathematics requirement is met.

PREREQUISITES:

A grade of C or better in all BIO, CHM, DHY and DIT courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 160 1 4 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces the anatomy of the human body; the following systems studied either regionally or systemically: integumentary, skeletal, articular, muscular, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, digestive, excretory, endocrine and reproductive. Includes some introductory histology. Specially designed for students in health careers, biology, and physical education. Strongly recommended preparation: One year of high school biology with a grade of C or better taken within the last five years, or BIO 110. (NOTE: Lab science credit.)

Prerequisite: Placement into ENG 101. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf

BIO 161 1 4 Program Requirement

Description: Emphasizes physiological principles at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and system level, as they pertain to the human organism. The following systems are studied in detail: skeletal, muscular, circulatory, nervous, digestive, respiratory, urinary, reproductive and endocrine. In this course, special applications will be made to meet the needs of students in health careers, biology and physical education.(NOTE: Lab science credit.)

Prerequisite: BIO 160 with a grade of C or better, or consent of instructor.

CHM 100 1 4 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces basic concepts of inorganic and organic chemistry and biochemistry. Emphasizes chemical principles applied to biological systems. Laboratory exercises apply theory to biological and consumer products. Especially designed for students in allied health sciences. Meets the prerequisite of the Nursing program. IAI P1 902L

ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

PSY 101 3 Social and Behavioral Science

Description: Investigates human and animal behavior with emphasis on the scientific nature of contemporary and classic psychological investigation. Emphasizes psychological theories, principles, and research applications. Introduces the divisions of the American Psychological Association. References biological processes, sensation, perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, mental disorders, intelligence, aptitude, personality, development, daily life and everyday problems. IAI S6 900

FIRST SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all BIO, CHM, DHY and DIT courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 130 1 4 Natural Science

Description: Examines characteristics and importance of microorganisms; emphasis on identification, anatomy and physiology, control, relationship to health and disease and economic importance. College chemistry or equivalent is desirable. Strongly recommended preparation: One year of high school biology with a grade of C or better taken within the last five years, or BIO 110.(NOTE: Lab science credit.)

Prerequisite: Placement into ENG 101. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf

DHY 100 5 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces the student to clinical dental hygiene with emphasis on the role of the dental hygienist in the control and prevention of dental disease. NOTE: Students must be admitted into the Dental Hygiene program to register for this course.

DHY 159 3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces anatomy of the head and neck regions with special emphasis on the human dentition. Skeletal, muscular, glandular, circulatory, nervous and epithelial structures are considered in detail. Also includes introductory material on human histology and orofacial embryology. NOTE: Students must be admitted into the DHY program to register for this course.

DHY 161 2 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces the student to terms and anatomic structures of the oral cavity including a detailed study of crown and root morphology of both primary and permanent dentitions. NOTE: Students must be admitted into the Dental Hygiene program to register for this course.

DIT 101 1 3 Natural Science

Description: Introduces the science of nutrition and its relationship to health and disease. Nutrients found in foods, their digestion, absorption and metabolism by the body; cultural, socioeconomic and psychological influences on food selection; and application of these concepts to promote good nutritional health and prevent disease will be covered.

SECOND SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all BIO, CHM, DHY and DIT courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DHY 101 5 Program Requirement

Description: Applies theoretical concepts in a clinical setting and introduces periodontology. Refines clinical skills and emphasizes the preventive aspects of dentistry. The student performs traditional dental hygiene clinical functions.

Prerequisite: DHY 100, DHY 159, and DHY 161 with grades of C or better.

DHY 111 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides theory in radiation physics, safety and the biological effects of ionizing radiation. Intraoral exposure techniques, darkroom procedures and film interpretation are emphasized in the laboratory. Practical experience provided on mannequins and selected patients.

Prerequisite: DHY 100, DHY 159, and DHY 161 with grades of C or better.

DHY 190 2 Program Requirement

Description: Studies fundamentals of microscopic and gross pathology and general pathological processes. Specifically emphasizes diseases of dental and periodontal tissues and of the supporting oral structures. Correlates clinical manifestations of disease with dental hygiene practice.

Prerequisite: DHY 100, DHY 159, and DHY 161 with grades of C or better.

SOC 101 + 3 Social and Behavioral Science

Description: Analysis and description of the structure and dynamics of human society. Application of scientific methods to the observation and analysis of social norms, groups, inter-group relations, social change, social stratification and institutions. IAI S7 900

SPE 101 3 Communications

Description: Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900

SUMMER SESSION:

A grade of C or better in all BIO, CHM, DHY and DIT courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DHY 119 2 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces characteristics and oral health management needs of geriatrics, special populations and the medically compromised with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Physical, psycho/social and oral characteristics associated with special needs populations are discussed. Modifications of comprehensive dental hygiene care will be emphasized. The caregiver team concept will be incorporated.

Prerequisite: DHY 101, DHY 111, and DHY 190 with grades of C or better.

DHY 151 2 Program Requirement

Description: Provides clinical practice in oral prophylaxis on adult patients, including preventive techniques, exposing radiographs and patient management.

Prerequisite: DHY 101, DHY 111, and DHY 190 with grades of C or better.

DHY 269 1 Program Requirement

Description: Studies the characteristics, properties, composition and function of materials used in dentistry. Includes familiarization with techniques and procedures used in the dental profession.

Prerequisite: DHY 101, DHY 111 and DHY 190 with grades of C or better.

DHY 270 1 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces the student to the use and manipulation of materials used in dentistry, with an emphasis on the clinical application of materials that relate directly to the functions of the dental hygienist.

Prerequisite: DHY 101, DHY 111 and DHY 190 with grades of C or better.

THIRD SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all BIO, CHM, DHY and DIT courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DHY 200 2 Program Requirement

Description: Reviews etiological and histological components of periodontal disease emphasizing current theoretical concepts in treatment and management of periodontally involved patients. Provides laboratory experience to refine non-surgical techniques.

Prerequisite: DHY 119, DHY 151, DHY 269, and DHY 270 with grades of C or better.

DHY 202 1 Program Requirement

Description: Continues practice in the techniques of exposing, processing, mounting and evaluating dental radiographs.

Prerequisite: DHY 119, DHY 151, DHY 269 and DHY 270 with grades of C or better.

DHY 220 2 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces the principles of dental public health and its application to dental hygiene, including: epidemiology, disease prevention, assessment methods, program planning and resource identification. Reviews and interprets dental scientific literature and introduces the utilization of research tools and statistical analysis.

Prerequisite: DHY 119, DHY 151, DHY 269 and DHY 270 with grades of C or better.

DHY 230 2 Program Requirement

Description: Provides students with the basic and current concepts of local anesthetics and pain control and to provide for the safe and effective administration of local anesthetics. Includes the rationale for pain control, psychological considerations, armamentarium, anatomy, neurophysiology and pharmacology of anesthetic agents. Provides laboratory instruction and clinical practice in topical and local anesthetic techniques. Introduces the use and administration of nitrous oxide analgesia.

Prerequisite: DHY 119, DHY 151, DHY 269 and DHY 270 with grades of C or better.

DHY 240 2 Program Requirement

Description: Examines the principles of drug actions and characteristics of major drug groups. Emphasis is placed on drugs used in dentistry and the management of dental patients who receive drug treatment for medical problems.

Prerequisite: DHY 119, DHY 151, DHY 269 and DHY 270 with grades of C or better.

DHY 250 5 Program Requirement

Description: Continues clinical practice of dental hygiene with emphasis on the comprehensive treatment of periodontally involved patients.

Prerequisite: DHY 119, DHY 151, DHY 269 and DHY 270 with grades of C or better.

FOURTH SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all BIO, CHM, DHY and DIT courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DHY 201 2 Program Requirement

Description: Studies the development of dental office and clinic practice management procedures and professional interrelationships. Considers the role of the dental hygienist in the various dental specialties and various employment modalities.

Prerequisite: DHY 200, DHY 202, DHY 220, DHY 230, DHY 240, and DHY 250 with grades of C or better.

DHY 203 1 Program Requirement

Description: Continues DHY 202.

Prerequisite: DHY 200, DHY 202, DHY 220, DHY 230, DHY 240 and DHY 250 with grades of C or better.

DHY 221 2 Program Requirement

Description: Emphasizes the direct application of preventive dentistry services in the community and the design of treatment plans to meet identified community needs. Community fluoridation, school-based services, tobacco cessation, and consumer education and health promotion will be included. Students will be required to participate in group activities to share service learning experiences.

Prerequisite: DHY 200, DHY 202, DHY 220, DHY 230, DHY 240 and DHY 250 with grades of C or better.

DHY 251 5 Program Requirement

Description: Continues DHY 250.

Prerequisite: DHY 200, DHY 202, DHY 220, DHY 230, DHY 240 and DHY 250 with grades of C or better.

1 - Must be completed with a grade of C or better no earlier than five years prior to beginning the Dental Hygiene program.

+ - This course meets the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement.

Program learning outcomes

The Goals/Program Outcomes of the Dental Hygiene Program at Harper College are to:

  1. maintain admission policies that ensure admission of a qualified student body who have the potential to achieve the program outcomes.
  2. provide career education that prepares qualified, entry-level dental hygiene professionals who are competent to provide safe, ethical and comprehensive oral health services to a diverse population as defined by the Harper College Dental Hygiene Graduate Competencies for the Entry-Level Dental Hygienist.
  3. maintain a contemporary program that provides a dynamic, integrated and interprofessional curriculum which reflects relevant, evidence-based dental hygiene practice.
  4. provide quality individualized patient-centered dental hygiene care.
  5. provide service to the Harper College and surrounding communities, and serve as a resource of oral health knowledge and education for the health care community.
  6. promote professional growth and develop leadership in dental hygiene education by engaging in professional development activities.

Student Learning Outcomes/Graduate Competencies For The Entry-Level Dental Hygienist

Students who successfully complete this program are able to:

Patient Care

  • utilize the dental hygiene process of care in provision of comprehensive, quality patient care.

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

  • provide individualized patient educational services to promote health maintenance and disease prevention
  • individually and/or in collaboration with health care professionals, apply the dental hygiene process of care in planning and providing oral health related programs to the public

Professionalism and Ethics

  • use evidence-based research to critically evaluate the validity of foundational knowledge, information, products and/or techniques and their relevance to the practice of dental hygiene.
  • apply principles of ethical reasoning, ethical decision making, and critical thinking as they pertain to the academic environment, research, patient care and dental hygiene practice, and demonstrate professional responsibility as it applies to the legal and regulatory concepts in the provision and/or support of oral health care services.
  • perform self-assessment, monitor knowledge and performance, and take corrective action to address deficiencies.
  • demonstrate cultural sensitivity and the interpersonal and communication skills required for effective functioning with diverse population groups and other members of the health care team.
  • demonstrate professional growth by participating in professional activities and continuing education.

Program length

The dental hygiene curriculum is sequenced over five-semesters. Students complete one fall and spring semester (17 weeks each) in the first year and one eight-week summer session and one fall and spring semester (17 weeks each) in the second year with graduation in May.

Courses in dental hygiene, i.e., course numbers with the DHY prefix must be taken in the semester sequence published in the Catalog. SPE 101 and SOC 101 can be taken before they are scheduled in the curriculum but not after. See curriculum above.

Schedule

Dental Hygiene classes, labs and clinics are scheduled Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and occasional Saturdays or evenings. General education or science classes are sometimes scheduled in the evenings as well.

Admission criteria and process

Please note: This program has selective admission requirements. Information provided on this page is subject to change.

Status Start Term Application Window
Closed Fall 2018 October 1, 2017–February 1, 2018

Steps to prepare for application to this limited enrollment program:

  1. Attend the mandatory Health Care Careers Information Meeting
  2. Review program and policy information
  3. Learn about admission requirements
  4. Apply to Harper if you have not previously done so

Resources

Next steps

For more information about dental hygienist training at Harper, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.