Dental Hygiene

Dental hygienists are important members of the dental health care team who are licensed to work with dentists in the delivery of dental care. Hygienists combine knowledge and clinical skills to plan and provide dental hygiene care for patients. They use interpersonal skills to motivate and instruct individual patients and community groups on methods to prevent oral disease and to maintain oral health.

The profession welcomes men and women of all ages and offers career opportunities with excellent income and scheduling flexibility. While most dental hygienists work in general or specialty dental offices and clinics, alternative opportunities include public health departments, nursing homes, school systems, private industry, academic institutions and dental sales manufacturers.

Stark State’s program consists of one semester of eligibility (pre-application) courses and four semesters plus one summer session of academic coursework and hands-on learning experiences in the classroom, laboratory, clinic and community. An important feature of the program is the on-campus Dental Hygiene Clinic which is open to the public. The hundreds of hours of supervised patient care experiences provide excellent skill and professional development training.

Enrollment in the program is limited. Admission is offered to eligible applicants on a space-available basis. The dental hygiene program requires a separate application; admission to Stark State does not automatically mean acceptance into the dental hygiene program. Applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria, described in program informational materials. Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a high school graduate or have a GED certificate.
  • Complete SSC’s Compass Assessment Test and take any courses recommended as a result of the test.
  • Complete four eligibility (pre-application) courses – ENG124, PSY121, CHM121, BIO121 and their prerequisites according to the eligibility rules regarding minimum grade, age of course, and number of repeats/drops.
  • Achieve a GPA of at least a 2.75 for the four eligibility courses.
  • Maintain an overall college GPA of at least 2.00.
  • Score at the 60th percentile or above on the PAX test.
  • Complete the dental office observation experience requirement.
  • Complete specified supplemental requirements.

Specific physical requirements are necessary to perform dental hygiene functions. Details are provided in program information materials.

The goal of Stark State’s program is to prepare students to demonstrate knowledge and competencies essential for the delivery of dental hygiene services and to enable them to assume the responsibilities for providing patient care. Graduates will understand the role of the dental hygienist and of other dental health team members; will be prepared to adapt to changing demands of the oral health care profession; and will seek opportunities for continuous professional development.

Graduates are eligible to take the Dental Hygiene National Board and Northeast Regional Board examinations, both of which are required for licensure in Ohio. Licensure is mandatory for employment in Ohio as a dental hygienist. Other states may have different licensing requirements.

According to Section 4715.21 of the Ohio Revised Code, applicants for licensure must submit to an FBI background check.

Dental hygiene applicants/students are responsible for informing the program director of any misdemeanor related to alcohol or drugs, or felony convictions so that they may be informed of the steps the Ohio State Dental Board will take before considering their application for licensure.

According to various sections of the Ohio Law and Regulations for Certification and Licensure Boards, persons convicted of any felony or a misdemeanor may not be able to take the licensure or certification examinations; may be refused acceptance of placement by the clinical/practicum sites; or may have restrictions placed on their ability to practice. For more information, contact the dean of student services and the applicable licensure/certification board.

The dental hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body of the American Dental Association, recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at 312-440-4653; at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611;

The Stark State College Dental Hygiene Program has the following written articulation agreement for a bachelor in science degree completion program with: Ohio State University, Dental Hygiene Program, Section of Primary Care, College of Dentistry