Dental Hygiene Program FAQs
Here are some commonly asked questions about the Dental Hygiene program. Information also is available in these two documents.
Dental Hygiene is a licensed profession that is very rigorous in its education. It has made the lists of best programs for the earnings you can make compared to the degree needed to enter the profession and has put the profession in high demand. But, based on the accreditation standards for our program, we limit enrollment based on resources available, including the number of chairs available in the clinic.
Our accreditation standards dictate that the number of students enrolled must be proportionate to the resources available to the program. Under consideration are patient supply, financial support, the size of facilities (number of clinic and lab stations), the equipment and technology available and the number of qualified faculty.
Our clinic has 23 dental chairs, thereby allowing for 24 or 25 students, as at least one or two students rotate during each clinic session into on-campus or off-campus rotations that don’t require a chair. We normally accept 24 so that we have an even number of students for partner activities.
Students need to excel in sciences, be organized, be dedicated to the program and be diligent in their studies. They need to have strong psycho-motor skills and spatial relations. Students need to be good problem solvers.
In addition, when working with patients, they need to be firm when needed and empathetic when needed. Good listening and communication skills are necessary. Being flexible is needed, as each patient is different – we can’t be black and white in our profession, as we will deal with a lot of gray.
But of utmost importance is being ethical and of good moral character.
The college and the program follow guidelines for admission related to residency status. You may graduate from the program and not be a U.S. citizen, but you might not be eligible for a dental hygiene license, per federal laws.
In North Carolina, to obtain a DH license, you need to be a U.S. citizen or have resident status. If you are on an F-1 student visa or are a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program participant, you are not eligible, at this time, for licensure after graduation. For more information on obtaining a North Carolina Dental Hygiene license, visit the State Board of Dental Examiners website.
The program design for an AAS program in North Carolina needs to reflect that the program can be completed in two years. However, students are more successful in the program if the non-DEN courses are taken ahead of the DEN courses in the curriculum. They are part of the competitive admissions process.
The Dental Hygiene Program has a lock-step curriculum. The DEN classes are sequenced to build upon information in each course and gain knowledge to form the foundation for other courses. They must be taken in order as listed on the Program Planning Guide. In addition, per our accreditation standards, to take the DEN courses, you must be accepted into the program and coded as a Dental Hygiene student.
Yes, it is a lock-step curriculum with courses that must be taken in the order of the Program Planning Guide. The program also has five clinical courses that each are prerequisites to others, so each student will be enrolled for at least four semesters and a summer term in between.
Students are in classes Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. While not all time is scheduled during the week, students are asked to hold these times in case of any make-up sessions, Individualized Learning Center skills labs sessions, open labs and clinic chart room time.
Many students choose to study during the day between classes on campus. Students also have several labs and clinics in addition to lecture classes, so it is busier than the schedule looks. They spend most evenings and weekends studying as well – it is a full-time commitment to be in the program.
It is not recommended to work during the program, especially not full-time. Classes are scheduled Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. But if we have weather delays or cancellations, etc., we need to make up all clinics/labs/classes missed and may need to schedule on an evening or weekend.
The clinic schedules vary by semester. Pre-clinic is two, three-hour sessions. Clinic I is two, 4.5-hour sessions. Clinics II, III and IV are three, four-hour sessions. All sessions are scheduled Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Patient requirements vary by semester and year and may change. They are reviewed at the start of each semester along with syllabus review for our clinical courses.
Students will treat patients in all age range categories – pediatric (from age 4), adolescent, adult and geriatric. Students will also be required to treat patients with special needs, and a variety of levels of gum health and tartar will also be treated.
Students are required to help locate patients for the clinic and are supplemented by a clinic pool of patients.
Only Wake Tech-approved ads, supplied to the students once accepted into the program, can be used to recruit patients.