The Dental Hygiene program prepares the student to work as a dental hygienist under the supervision of a licensed dentist in dental offices and other health agencies. Dental hygienists remove soft and hard deposits from teeth, teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene, and provide other preventative dental care, such as cleaning and polishing teeth, taking radiographs and applying fluoride treatment. The dental hygienist also serves as an oral health educator in the clinical and community setting. Dental hygienists should work well with others and must have good manual dexterity to use dental instruments within a patient’s mouth, with little room for error.
Flexible scheduling is a distinctive feature of this job. Full-time, part-time, evening, and weekend schedules are widely available. Hygienists are frequently hired to work only two or three days a week, so hygienists may hold jobs in more than one dental office. Dental hygienists work in offices that are clean and well lit, and they must follow important health safeguards including wearing safety glasses, masks and gloves to protect themselves from blood-borne pathogens and infectious diseases.
Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2020. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median hourly salary of dental hygienists was $33.31 in May 2010. Earnings vary by geographic location, employment setting, and years of experience.
The Dental Hygiene program has been approved by the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The program in dental hygiene is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”. 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 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. Graduates from the Dental Hygiene program will be eligible to take the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination, the respective clinical dental hygiene board examination, and the examination for registration as a dental hygienist in the respective state.
Admission to the Program: Limited
Admission to limited enrollment programs is competitive and selection is based on candidates’ overall academic performance. All prospective students for the Dental Hygiene program must submit all admission materials and meet admission requirements before their applications will be considered for review. Applicants who are denied admission to a program and wish to apply for a subsequent academic year must repeat the application process in its entirety. As a result, no application files are carried over from prior years which allows the evaluation process to begin anew October 1 of each year. The most qualified applicants who are residents of the Carl Sandburg College district or who are residents of a community college district participating in a cooperative agreement with Carl Sandburg College will be given preference for admission to the programs.