This nationally accredited program educates students in two years with one summer session in-between. Upon program completion, students receive an associate in applied science degree. As a forerunner for dental hygiene programs, WCJC established the first accredited dental hygiene program in a Texas community college setting. The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, the Western Regional Board Examination, and the Texas Jurisprudence examination for licensure. Upon receipt of state licensure, the Registered Dental Hygienist may provide educational, clinical, and therapeutic services.
As part of a dental team in a private dental office, dental hygienists perform numerous services designed to detect and prevent diseases of the mouth. These include performing a prophylaxis (cleaning teeth); examining head, neck, and oral areas for signs of disease; obtaining a thorough dental and medical history; educating patients and the community on oral hygiene and nutrition; exposing and developing radiographs; and applying fluoride and sealants. In addition to private dental practices, dental hygienists may seek employment in public health settings, correctional facilities, mental health facilities and as sales representatives. Opportunities for dental hygiene education are also available.