What to Look for In a Good DH Program

There are a lot of good Dental Hygiene programs out there, and of course we at Concorde feel we have one of the best. But, whether you choose Concorde or not, we want you to be able to make an informed decision on your professional future as a dental hygienist.

So, we thought we’d take a hard look at what common qualities most, if not all, good Dental Hygiene programs share. Here’s what we found, from three of our best Dental Hygiene Program Directors.

Accreditation

According to Alissa Sanchez, Dental Hygiene Program Director at Concorde’s campus in Kansas City, Mo., the first thing to look for in a good DH school is that it is fully accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and that it offers a student-centered supportive learning environment.

Sanchez’s colleagues concur.

Donna Sutton, DH Program Director at Concorde – Dallas, said prospective students can check a school’s accreditation status at www.ada.org/coda and then search for schools by state and type of program. Dental Hygiene is under allied health with Dental Assisting and Dental Lab Technology.

“The college or university needs to be accredited also through an accreditor approved by the (U.S.) Department of Education,” Sutton said.

Do your homework on Dental Hygiene faculty

Diane Osso, DH Program Director at Concorde’s campus in Aurora, Colo., said the experience of full-time faculty and the program director is important. More seasoned faculty will have better prepared classes and course material and usually are better lecturers.

Faculty turnover rate is another important factor to consider, Osso said.

“All new faculty is a bad thing,” she said. “It can show many internal issues with the program. New faculty drains time of existing faculty that can be spent improving the program.”

Sutton added, “Visit the faculty and notice the cleanliness and equipment available.”

It’s important, Osso said, that equipment be up to date. New technology should be available for students.

Board pass rates and retention rates

“The bottom line is being able to make it through DH school,” Osso said. “Retention rates that are high should point to quality students being admitted, well-prepared curriculum and good faculty/school support. Even if you graduate with a 4.0 GPA, you can’t get a license without passing boards.

“A high pass rate for the national and clinic boards is one of the best indicators for whether a program is good.”

Other than that, simply check out the school’s atmosphere and climate – the cleanliness, temperature of the building, state of repair. It might not seem like much, but it counts.

“Ask to visit a class or talk to current students,” Sutton said. “Visit the facility and notice the cleanliness and equipment available.”

Finally, ask about graduate employment and job placement assistance. After all, that’s why you come to Concorde or a Dental Hygiene career college … to land that career of your dreams!

Dental hygiene

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