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.

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

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.


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

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 160 1 4 Program Requirement
BIO 161 1 4 Program Requirement
CHM 100 1 4 Program Requirement
ENG 101 3 Communications
PSY 101 3 Social and Behavioral Science


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

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 130 1 4 Natural Science
DHY 100 5 Program Requirement
DHY 159 3 Program Requirement
DHY 161 2 Program Requirement
NTR 101 1 3 Natural Science


A grade of C or better in all DHY courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DHY 101 5 Program Requirement
DHY 111 3 Program Requirement
DHY 190 2 Program Requirement
SOC 101 + 3 Social and Behavioral Science
SPE 101 3 Communications


A grade of C or better in all DHY courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DHY 119 2 Program Requirement
DHY 151 2 Program Requirement
DHY 269 1 Program Requirement
DHY 270 1 Program Requirement


A grade of C or better in all DHY courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DHY 200 2 Program Requirement
DHY 202 1 Program Requirement
DHY 220 2 Program Requirement
DHY 230 2 Program Requirement
DHY 240 2 Program Requirement
DHY 250 5 Program Requirement


A grade of C or better in all DHY courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DHY 201 2 Program Requirement
DHY 203 1 Program Requirement
DHY 221 2 Program Requirement
DHY 251 5 Program Requirement

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.


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.


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.