Dental Hygiene Career

Degree offered

Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene

Credits required 77


Patricia Dent

Program contact

Patricia Willard, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Dental Hygiene, ext. 2143

Program Goal Statement

The Dental Hygiene program prepares graduates to competently begin professional dental hygiene practice. Upon graduation, practice settings include private dental offices, school and public health departments, and research facilities. Students receive a thorough foundation in general sciences and in dental hygiene science. Students have the opportunity to develop the necessary knowledge, clinical skills, and judgment in the on-campus dental hygiene clinic.

Student Learning Outcomes

See Learning Outcomes

Program Information

  • Applicants with completed applications meeting minimum criteria submitted by February 1 will be given priority consideration for admission.
  • Some courses in this program are only offered during the day. Students planning to transfer into this program should seek advice from the program director on which courses to take.
  • Once enrolled in the Dental Hygiene program, students are required to complete all courses in the four semesters of instruction in required sequence and without interruption in order to integrate theoretical and clinical education.

Program Accreditation

  • The program in Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, which is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Post Secondary Accreditation and by the U.S. Department of Education. Graduates take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the ADEX/North East Regional Clinical Board Examination.
  • For 2013, the BCC pass rate for the National Board (required for licensure in Massachusetts) is 95%, and the Northeast Regional Board of Dental Hygiene is 85%.

After BCC

  • Graduates have worked as registered dental hygienists in general and specialty facilities and as dental hygiene educators, consultants, dental sales representatives, and public and community health coordinators.

Infused General Education Competencies

Ethical Dimensions, Multicultural Perspective, Technical Literacy

Degree Requirements

General Courses

BIO 220Introduction to Nutrition

3 credits

BIO 233Human Anatomy and Physiology I

4 credits

BIO 234Human Anatomy and Physiology II

4 credits

BIO 239Elements of Microbiology

4 credits

CHM 116Health Science Chemistry II

4 credits

COM 101Fundamentals of Public Speaking

3 credits

CSS 101College Success Seminar

1 credit

ENG 101Composition I: College Writing

3 credits

ENG 102Composition II: Writing about Literature

3 credits

MTH 119Fundamental Statistics

3 credits

PSY 101General Psychology

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:35

Elective Courses – Choose one Global Awareness course

SOC 101Principles of Sociology

3 credits

SOC 212The Sociology of Social Problems

3 credits

SOC 252The Sociology of Human Relations

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:3

Elective Courses

Historic Awareness Elective

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:0-3

See General Education Competency/Historic Awareness for course listings

Program Courses

DHG 111Dental Anatomy and Oral Histology

3 credits

DHG 113Orientation to Clinical Dental Hygiene

3 credits

DHG 115Medical-Dental Emergencies

1 credit

DHG 119Head and Neck Anatomy

2 credits

DHG 120Dental Hygiene Theory II

2 credits

DHG 122Clinical Dental Hygiene II

2 credits

DHG 124Oral Radiography

2 credits

DHG 126Periodontology

3 credits

DHG 128Pharmacology for Dental Hygienists

1 credit

DHG 230Pain Management in Dental Hygiene

1 credit

DHG 231Dental Hygiene Theory III

1 credit

DHG 233Clinical Dental Hygiene III

4 credits

DHG 235General and Oral Pathology

2 credits

DHG 237Dental Materials

2 credits

DHG 240Dental Hygiene Theory IV

1 credit

DHG 242Clinical Dental Hygiene IV

4 credits

DHG 244Oral Health in the Community

2 credits

Total Credit Hours:36

Recommended Course Sequence - PreAdmission

BIO 233, ENG 101, College Chemistry with Lab, High School Algebra

Recommended Course Sequence - Fall Semester 1

BIO 234, CSS 101, DHG 111, DHG 113, DHG 115, DHG 119, PSY 101

Recommended Course Sequence - Spring Semester 2

CHM 116, DHG 120, DHG 122, DHG 124, DHG 126, DHG 128, ENG 102

Recommended Course Sequence - Fall Semester 3

BIO 239, DHG 230, DHG 231, DHG 233, DHG 235, DHG 237, MTH 119

Recommended Course Sequence - Spring Semester 4

BIO 220, COM 101, DHG 240, DHG 242, DHG 244, Global Awareness Elective, Historic Awareness Elective


Special Requirements for the Program

Admission to the Dental Hygiene Program

The Dental Hygiene program is a competitive program with selective admission requirements. A limited number of students are admitted to the Dental Hygiene Program.

Students applying to BCC with a state-approved high school equivalency credential rather than with a high school diploma will need to take the required pre-admission courses at BCC before being considered for admission to the program. See Minimum Requirements for Admission to the Program.

Meeting these minimum criteria places the applicant in the selection pool but does not guarantee admission to the Dental Hygiene program. Final selection will be based on the applicant pool and space available. Many students find that taking general and elective courses before entering the program allows for full focus on the challenging Dental Hygiene curriculum.

Minimum Requirements for Admission to the Program are as Follows 

  • High school Algebra I (or a higher level mathematics in high school or college ) with a grade of B- or greater
  • BIO 233 (equivalent to college Anatomy and Physiology 1) with a grade of B- or greater 
  • General college chemistry with a laboratory component (or a higher level college chemistry) with a grade of B- or greater
  • ENG 101 (equivalent to English Composition I or a higher level college English) with a grade of B- or greater
  • Earn a composite score of 50 or higher on the TEAS Exam.
  • Overall GPA must be 3.0+ to be considered for admission to Dental Hygiene
  • Attend one mandatory health science admissions information session (seating is limited.)
  • It is strongly recommended that students complete the science courses required for admission and program degree completion within 5 years of application.

Additional Requirements 

Accepted applicants must have a physical examination, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and varicella (chicken pox) immunizations or titre results (blood test to prove immune status).  A TB test is required each year. Health insurance is required. Additional laboratory tests, including drug screening, are required by clinical agencies. A ten-panel random drug screen is required upon entrance, yearly, and/or randomly.  The fee is paid by the student.

Upon admission to the Dental Hygiene program, all students must undergo a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check and a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) check.  These checks are required due to potential unsupervised contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly during a clinical experience.  Students found to have certain criminal convictions or pending criminal actions will be presumed ineligible for clinical placement.  The College is authorized by the Commonwealth's Department of Criminal Justice to access CORI records.  Sex Offender checks shall be performed pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Sections 178C-178P.

For more information regarding the College's CORI/SORI check process, please contact the Human Resource Department at (508) 678-2811, ext. 2194.

A positive CORI/SORI check may prevent students from working in contracted health facilities and onsite dental hygiene clinic, which will prevent students from completing the program objectives.

All students must be CPR certified by the American Heart Association (Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers). Students must present evidence of certification before beginning DHG 122 and must maintain certification until the completion of DHG 242.

Additional Costs

Students must carry professional liability insurance and provide their own transportation to off-campus clinical assignments. They are responsible for purchasing instruments, disposables, and uniforms, and paying CPR and Board application fees.

Grade Requirements

A grade of “C” or better must be attained in each clinical course and all other DHG courses. 

Essential Functions

  • Communicate clearly and effectively in English through speech and writing with patients, faculty, staff and peers.
  • Physical ability, sufficient mobility and motor coordination to safely provide patient care and to meet the needs of various patient populations.
  • Cognitive ability to learn and apply skills necessary to meet curriculum (including clinical) requirements to attain entry-level status into the profession.
  • Sufficient visual acuity, with or without correction, to safely provide patient care.
  • Emotional stability sufficient to interact professionally with patients, faculty, staff, and peers; respect patient confidentiality; use reasonable judgment; accept responsibility for actions.
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