Dental Hygiene Degree Program
In 2023, our exceptional Dental Hygiene Program celebrated 30 years of successfully training students at Taft College!
Taft College offers an Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene. The Taft College Dental Hygiene Program gives students the knowledge, experience, and educational requirements necessary to pass regional and national board examinations. The Program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and is approved by the Dental Hygiene Board of California.
The Dental Hygiene Program is a two-year program with more than 1,600 hours of courses focused solely on education that culminates competence in preventing and treating oral diseases to protect the oral cavity and patients’ total health. Throughout the program, students will learn and participate in lectures, labs, and patient care clinic sessions, where they gain skills in health assessment, dental hygiene treatment planning, periodontal instrumentation, and preventative oral health education leading them to entry-level competence for a license to practice.
An associate degree in dental hygiene offers you the salary potential of $62,712 two years after graduation from Taft College, with expected increases to $69,433 at five years, based on five-year studies of graduates by California Community Colleges.1 The median annual wage is $77,810 for dental hygienists, and this career has an above average job growth rate of nine percent between 2021 and 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.2
1 California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. Salary Surfer. 2021. https://salarysurfer.cccco.edu. Accessed 19 April 2023.
2 “Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 8 Sept. 2022. www.bls.gov/ooh. Accessed 19 April 2023.
Taft College accepts 20 qualified students into its Dental Hygiene Program each fall semester. There are minimum admission requirements that all applicants must meet in order to be considered for acceptance into the program. The application period for the class beginning each fall will be available mid-January and must be received in the Admissions Office by the last day of February.
To earn an Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene, students must complete: (1) all course requirements with a minimum grade of “C” in each course; and (2) complete General Education Graduation Requirements with an overall GPA of 2.0 or better.
Prerequisite courses for this Program include several science courses and intermediate algebra, among others. All Program prerequisites must be completed with a minimum grade of “C” or better by December of the prior year. Applicants must hold a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or better in all college coursework. No in-progress prerequisites will be accepted.
Program requirements and selection criteria are subject to change. Students applying to the Dental Hygiene program must meet catalog and program requirements in effect at the time of application to the program. Visit the Taft College Dental Hygiene website or contact the department for current information.
See the Selection Criteria for candidates and degree requirements in the Taft College Catalog. Please note: This links to an external website.
We believe the curriculum in the Taft College Dental Hygiene Program is of broad scope and depth to reflect the objectives and philosophy of higher education by fulfilling the Mission of the Community Colleges and the Dental Practice Act. The curriculum provides content that increases knowledge and skill so students successfully pass the national and clinic board exams and obtain a license to practice dental hygiene.
Dental hygiene curriculum is designed so that each semester builds upon the next in both didactic and clinical courses. Students must successfully complete prerequisites before they are eligible to apply to the program. Students must successfully complete all courses in order to move into the next semester.
The following are major subject areas:
- Prevention of disease transmission
- Patient/operator positioning
- Time and motion management
- Prevention and/or management of emergency situations
- Comprehensive patient assessment
- Diagnosis and planning of dental hygiene care
- Principles and methods of dental hygiene intervention
- Principles and methods of evaluating outcomes of dental hygiene care
- Monitoring and record keeping
- Professional ethics
For much more about the Dental Hygiene Program, link to the Dental Hygiene Department in the For More Information section, below.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the Dental Hygiene Program, a graduate will be competent in:
- Legal and Ethical Principles: Graduates will be competent in the ethical and legal aspects of the dental hygiene profession.
- Dental Hygiene Process of Care: Graduates will be competent in providing preventive and therapeutic dental hygiene services to patients of all ages, ethnicity, and socioeconomic levels.
- Community Awareness: Graduates will participate in various community health programs that will focus on improving the oral health of individuals, families, and community groups.
- Life-Long Learning: Graduates will have the ability to apply experience, skills, and knowledge to develop and implement a plan for professional growth.
- Infection Control: Graduates will be competent in all aspects of infection control procedures and hazardous waste management.
- Critical Thinking: Graduates will be competent in problem solving strategies related to comprehensive patient care and management of patients.
Taft College Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The next accreditation visit is Spring 2024.
Commission on Dental Accreditation: https://coda.ada.org
To submit Third Party Comments related to the Standards for Dental Hygiene Education or a complaint, please see the Commission on Dental Accreditation Third Part Comment PDF: third_party form (DOCX)
The Program is approved by the Dental Hygiene Board of California: https://dhbc.ca.gov/
For More Information
Accreditation and Faculty
Apply to the Dental Hygiene Program
Petition to Repeat Courses and Return to Program
Post Graduate Education
Program Goals and Requirements
- Kinesiology: Degree for Transfer
- Liberal Arts - Health and Physical Education: Associate in Arts
- Liberal Arts - Allied Health: Associate in Arts
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