Dental Hygiene, Associate in Applied Science


Program Information

Essential Functions of a Dental Hygienist

Overview of the Clinical Education Process

Career Assessment Form

Virtual Information Session
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Dental Hygiene is a rewarding field that offers flexible work schedules and attractive salaries. If you are interested in working directly with clients to help them achieve and maintain optimal oral health, a career in Dental Hygiene could be a great option.

Dental hygienists are licensed oral health professionals who play an essential role in the field of dentistry. Dental hygienists provide a variety of services that prevent, or limit the extent of, cavities and/or gum disease. They also provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services for people of all ages and in every situation. As a licensed hygienist you could have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of a range of populations, including the medically compromised, mentally or physically challenged, and socially or culturally disadvantaged. While most dental hygienists practice in private dental offices, others provide services in hospitals, private businesses, correctional institutions and a variety of private and public centers.

Northampton's Dental Hygiene program is among the most respected in Pennsylvania. During the two-year program, all pre-clinical and clinical practice occurs in the dental clinic located at the Fowler Family Southside Center campus. Professional hygienists working in the field enhance the hands-on aspects of the clinical portion of the program. The dental hygiene program is competency-based and assesses all clinical and laboratory courses using pass/fail criteria. Students must earn grades of C (75%) or better in all DENH courses to qualify for semester promotion. If you are interested in a higher level of education, Northampton has developed articulation agreements with dental hygiene baccalaureate degree programs to facilitate admissions and the transfer of credits.

Northampton's program in Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678. www.ada.org

Program Mission

While upholding the mission and vision of Northampton Community College, the Dental Hygiene program provides excellent, comprehensive learning experiences to prepare students with the knowledge and clinical skills to competently practice as dental hygienists.

Statement of Values

The Dental Hygiene program values:

  • Excellence - Quality in the educational experiences that we provide
  • Innovation - Curricular responsiveness to adapt quickly to changes in the profession
  • Sustainability - Commitment through our professional actions to respond to the institution, the community, the economy and the environment
  • Accountability - Individual responsibility for his/her actions, growth and development
  • Integrity - Academic, personal and professional honesty, fairness, ethical conduct and respect for others
  • Diversity Equity & Inclusion - Environment that fosters and values every person's contributions, celebrating the ways in which cultures, identities, and backgrounds enrich the dental hygiene program and enhance our profession
  • Engagement - Involvement in and collaboration with, the communities we serve

Career Potential: Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner, Dental Sales, Dental Hygiene Instructor, School Hygienist, Registered Dental Hygienist in a general, periodontic, pediatric, prosthodontic and/or orthodontic private practice.

Transfer Potential: Penn College of Technology, West Virginia University, Farmingdale State College, University of Bridgeport, St. Petersburg College

Admission Requirements

Admission is on a competitive basis. All applicants must submit:

  • an application
  • official transcripts (updated copies)
  • a completed Career Assessment Form (a new form must be submitted every year)

The minimum admission requirements to the program include:

  • Completed high school Biology with a lab component with a grade of B and *
  • completed high school Chemistry with a lab component with a grade of B (if a candidate did not complete Biology and/or Chemistry with B grades in high school, equivalent courses taken at a post-secondary institution are acceptable substitutes, i.e., NCC CHEM135 and BIOS115) and *
  • an overall high school grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B)

The minimum admission requirements to the program for applicants who have completed more than 12 college credits include:

  • The most recently completed Biology course with a lab - if completed in high school with a grade of B, or if completed in college, a grade of B minus (i.e., NCC BIOS115, BIOS160 or BIOS204) and *
  • the most recently completed Chemistry course with a lab - if completed in high school with a grade of B, or if completed in college, a grade of B minus (i.e., NCC CHEM135) and *
  • a program-specific college science GPA of 2.70 (possible courses include NCC CHEM135, BIOS160 and BIOS202 only) and
  • a cumulative college GPA of 2.70 in all program- specific non-science courses

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the Dental Hygiene program.

*High school courses must be college preparatory level. Equivalents from other colleges may satisfy requirements.

Please Note: Students accepted into the Dental Hygiene program will be required to submit results of a criminal background check and Pennsylvania Child and Elder Abuse History Clearance to the program director. Students will also be required to have health insurance, complete a personal medical history, and be certified prior to the start of the semester in First Aid and CPR/BLS of Healthcare Providers.


Dental Hygiene is a fall-start program. Students may apply to the clinical program starting October 1. Applications must be completed by January 15. Students will not be able to apply to the clinical program after January 15.

After January 15, students who wish to take general education courses toward the Dental Hygiene degree may apply to the General Studies program of study.

Contact the Admissions Office at 610-861-5500 for further information.


Students must earn a grade of “C” or better in all DENH courses.


Academic Dismissal from Health Sciences Selective Admission Programs

Any student who does not successfully complete* one (1) course that carries the prefix of the student's Health Sciences major will be dismissed from the program. This policy applies to courses in these programs: Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMSG), Radiography (RADT), Nursing (NURS) and Funeral Services (FUNS).

Any student who does not successfully complete* two (2) courses (either two different courses or the same course twice), that carry the prefix of the student's Health Sciences major will be dismissed from the program. This policy applies to courses in these programs: Dental Hygiene (DENH), Medical Assistant (MDAS), Veterinary Technician (VETC), and Respiratory Care (RESP).

Students may apply again for possible readmission, which includes testing of previous core course material. Readmission is on a space available basis, and priority is given to students entering the program for the first time and to those students who have successfully completed the core courses and have maintained continuous enrollment.

If the student is readmitted and again does not successfully complete one (1) course that carries the prefix of the student's Health Sciences program, they will be dismissed from the program and will not be eligible to reapply.

*Unsuccessful course completion is defined as a final course grade of F or W.


1. Students will be competent with respect to the Northampton Community College's Dental Hygiene Department document, "Competencies for Entry into the Profession of Dental Hygiene".

Students must demonstrate competency in the following:

Core Competencies

  • Model professional behavior.
  • Adhere to state and federal laws, recommendations and regulations in the provision of dental hygiene care.
  • Gather, evaluate and use information effectively.
  • Reflect on personal performance through self-assessment.
  • Communicate effectively with individuals and groups from diverse populations both verbally and in writing.
  • Use evidence-based decision making to evaluate products and existing, emerging therapies.

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

  • Identify risk factors and develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to promote health and prevent disease.
  • Utilize methods to ensure the health and safety of the client and the dental hygienist in the delivery of dental hygiene services.
  • Foster interprofessional relationships and collaborate on strategies for health promotion and disease prevention for individuals and communities.

Community Involvement

  • Assess the oral health needs of the community and plan, implement and evaluate programs to address those needs.
  • Provide community oral health promotion and disease prevention activities in a variety of settings.

Client Care

  • Systematically collect, analyze and record data on the general, oral and social health status of a variety of clients to identify risk factors, clients' needs and oral health problems. (Assess)
  • Use assessment data and critical decision making skills to reach conclusions about clients' oral health needs. (Diagnose)
  • Collaborate with clients and other health professionals to formulate client-centered, comprehensive dental hygiene care plans that are based on current evidence-based practices and that acknowledge clients' informed consent. (Plan)
  • Provide specialized treatment that includes preventive and therapeutic services designed to achieve and maintain oral health. (Implement)
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented clinical, preventive and educational services and modify as needed. (Evaluate)

2. Students will be prepared to successfully complete the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the clinical board examination administered by the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA).

3. A relevant, current dental hygiene program will be maintained with a curriculum that reflects the standards of clinical practice, education and research.

4. Quality individualized client-centered dental hygiene care will be provided.

5. Students and faculty will engage in interprofessional collaboration to enhance learning experiences, interpersonal skills, and interactions with diverse populations and health care teams.

6. Students and faculty will participate in community service and professional association activities.


Summer II Session

COLS101College Success

1 credits

CHEM135Chemistry of Life

4 credits

ENGL101English I

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:8

First Semester

BIOS160Human Biology

4 credits

DENH103Pre-Clinical Preventive Oral Health Services

3 credits

DENH104Foundations of Preventive Oral Health Services

4 credits

DENH105Oral Histology

1 credits

DENH106Oral Anatomy

2 credits

DENH110Oral Radiology

2 credits

Total Credit Hours:16

Second Semester

BIOS202Microbiology for Allied Health

4 credits

DENH150Clinical Preventive Oral Health Services I

3 credits

DENH152Preventive Oral Health Services I

2 credits


2 credits

DENH154Oral Health Care for Medically Complex Clients and Clients with Special Needs

1 credits

DENH155General and Oral Pathology

2 credits

ENGL151LEnglish II

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:18

Summer I Session


2 credits

COMM101Introduction to Communication

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:5

Third Semester

DENH205Nutrition for the Dental Health Care Provider

2 credits

DENH206Local Anesthesia

2 credits

DENH210Clinical Preventive Oral Health Services II

4 credits

DENH211Preventive Oral Health Services II

3 credits

DENH220Community Dental Health I

1 credits

PSYC103Introduction to Psychology

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:15

Fourth Semester

DENH240Community Dental Health II

1 credits

DENH250Clinical Preventive Oral Health Services III

4 credits

DENH251Preventive Oral Health Services III

2 credits

SOCA103Principles of Sociology

3 credits

General Education Elective

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:13

Total Credit Hours: 75

  • For the General Education Elective, students must choose one course from the list of approved courses in one of the following categories: Arts and Humanities (AH); Social Science: Societies and Institutions over Time (SIT).
  • The free elective requirement has been waived for this program.
  • Computer competencies and writing intensive work are included in various courses in this program. Thus, completing the program automatically satisfies the computing and writing intensive requirements for this program.
  • Healthcare Provider CPR and Basic First Aid certifications are required immediately prior to Fall Semester - First Year.
  • Students must earn grades of "C" or better in all DENH courses to qualify for semester promotion/graduation.