Dental Hygiene, A.A.S.

Program Code


Program Director: Sunnie McWhorter, MS, RDH   256-306-2854

Additional information is on the DH program website:


A registered dental hygienist (RDH) is a licensed dental professional whose primary role is providing preventive oral healthcare and patient education.  As a member of the dental team, the RDH is responsible for reviewing and recording a patient’s health and dental history, exposing x-rays, and removing calculus, plaque, and stains from the teeth. The hygienist also provides preventive services such as applying sealants, fluoride, and desensitizing agents as well as taking impressions of teeth and fabricating whitening materials. They work in close physical proximity to patients and so are at risk of exposure to infectious diseases. Most hygienists work in a private dental practice and generally direct their own tasks. 


The Dental Hygiene Program has been granted the classification of "initial accreditation" by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. Commission on Dental Accreditation, 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611-2678, 1-800-621-8099, ext. 465


DH graduates are qualified to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam and a clinical skills exam. Successful completion grants the individual eligibility to apply for licensure in the state of their choice.   The Alabama Board of Dental Examiners application for licensure as a dental hygienist states:  The applicant must not have been convicted of a felony or any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or of any law dealing with the administering or dispensing of legend drugs, including controlled substances.


The program is designed to be completed in 5 terms.  The coursework is progressive, requiring a grade of 75% or higher in each DHY course to progress to the next semester and a “C” or higher in general education courses. General education classes may be taken prior to beginning the program or as sequenced in the plan. Graduates are awarded an Associate in Applied Science Degree.


A new class of DH students is enrolled once a year and begins in the fall semester.  Applicants must minimally:

  1. Meet all admission requirements of CCC
  2. Submit an unofficial CCC transcript documenting all previously completed applicable coursework taken at Calhoun or accepted in transfer by the CCC      Office of Admissions and Records,
  3. Submit an ACT composite score of 18 or > from a test taken in the past 3 years


    Submit a Next-Generation ACCUPLACER test with a reading score of  245 or > and a writing score of 4 or > from a test taken in the past 3 years
  4. Have completed, at the time of program application, with a grade of C or > the following courses:
    • BIO 201 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
    • BIO 220 General Microbiology
    • CHM 104 Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry
  5. Complete the online DH program application.

Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance.  Class size is limited and there is a selective application process.  An application and the selection criteria can be found on the DH webpage.


Students enrolled in the dental hygiene program are required to successfully complete both academic and clinical requirements.  The purpose of the DH Eligibility Criteria, found on the DH webpage, is to delineate the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills deemed minimally necessary for admission, progression, and graduation, and for the provision of safe and effective client care.  Safety is paramount in all health programs. The College endorses the Americans’ with Disabilities Act.  If a student cannot meet the Eligibility Criteria it is their responsibility to request appropriate reasonable accommodations through the Student Disability Services Office.


  • Retain reliable transportation to and from the campus and assigned clinical education facilities.
  • Comply with a dress code that includes an assigned uniform
  • Undergo a health examination, TB screening, and validate immunity to infectious diseases
  • Submit proof of current certification in basic life support at the healthcare provider level
  • Purchase low-cost malpractice insurance through the CCC health sciences division
  • Submit to a background check by a designated vendor
  • Undergo drug and alcohol testing by a designated vendor

In the interest of the patients they will serve, every health science student is obligated to complete the above requirements.  Policies for the background check and drug testing are provided upon enrollment. Results may prohibit a student from participating in clinical education and necessitate withdrawal or course failure.


In addition to tuition, health students will have expenses related to the listed requirements, books, and associated supplies.  Approximated costs are discussed in information sessions and program orientation.


Additional DH program information including policies on application, readmission, transfer students, and advanced standing are available on the DH webpage or by contacting the program director. The curriculum plan and policies of the DH program are subject to change.  Written notice will be given to students enrolled in the program prior to implementation.

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