Dental Hygiene


Program Description
The Registered Dental Hygienist is a licensed health care professional dedicated to the maintenance of optimal oral health and the prevention of oral disease. These professional goals are accomplished through community oral health education, through delivery of preventive dental health services to individuals and through highly skilled patient treatment. Professional responsibilities vary by state or province but generally include the following clinical skills: perform thorough patient assessment, including review of health history; recording vital signs; head and neck inspection; oral cancer screening and dental charting; develop individualized oral self-care strategies; educate patients on the value of good oral health and its relationship to systemic health; perform various types of dental imaging; administer and monitor infiltration local anesthesia and nitrous oxide sedation; remove deposits and stains from the teeth; apply chemotherapeutic agents to treat or prevent dental diseases; and manage special needs and medically compromised patients.

Dental Hygiene offers exceptional career opportunities to men and women of all ages and backgrounds.  Most graduates are employed in general or specialty dental practices.  Alternate practice settings include hospital clinics, community health agencies, nursing homes, extended care facilities, public health agencies, schools, public and private agencies, health maintenance organizations and the military.  Graduates may continue their education in baccalaureate or higher degree programs to expand their career options to teaching, research, management, professional consulting or the dental products industry.

Dental hygienists are licensed by the state or province in which they plan to practice. Generally, candidates for licensure must be graduates of an accredited dental hygiene program, must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination taken near graduation and must pass a state or regional clinical examination. New York State uses the American Dental Hygiene Licensing Examination (ADEX) administered by the Commission on Dental Competency Assessment (CDCA). Many states now accept this examination for licensure. Candidates are encouraged to contact other jurisdictions in which they wish to be licensed to ensure that the ADEX licensure exam will fulfill the requirements for licensure in that jurisdiction. Applicants for licensure in New York must be of good moral character and will be subject to special review if criminal charges are pending or there has been a previous felony or misdemeanor conviction. Questions concerning these requirements may be directed to the NYS Education Department, Office of the Professionals, State Board of Dentistry.

Dental hygienists are valuable members of the dental health care team who work with dentists to provide oral health services to patients. They enjoy helping people, welcome challenging opportunities, perform detailed work and have an interest in life sciences. As a respected member of the dental team, dental hygienists can have a positive influence on the health of others, play a key role in the prevention of oral diseases which may impact systemic health, and enjoy a flexible, rewarding career.


Program Details

Campus: North

Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology

Pre-Admission Recommendations:
Math I

The Dental Hygiene course sequence begins in the fall semester only. Applicants are responsible for knowing admission requirements. Admission is competitive and is limited to 60 students. Applications are completed online and must be received by the North Campus Admissions Office by February 1st for consideration. Applications or courses completed after the deadline will only be evaluated on a space-available basis. Official transcripts must be received by the North Campus Admission Office by February1st.  Failure to submit transcripts will prevent application review. Acceptance is contingent on satisfactory Accuplacer test results.

The online application may be found at The competitive, selective admission process has the goal of identifying highly qualified candidates who demonstrate the academic potential for successfully completing the Dental Hygiene program. Potential students are strongly encouraged to spend time in a dental practice or clinic to observe the patient care environment and confirm interest in a dental hygiene career. To be considered for admission to the Dental Hygiene program, applicants must demonstrate academic achievement.

The following minimum requirements must be met for evaluation and ranking of an application:

  • Reading and writing skills must be at the EN 100 level as determined by the Accuplacer test results or equivalent.  Developmental courses must be completed prior to consideration for program entry.
  • Mathematics skills must be at or above the MT 006 level (basic algebra) as determined by the Accuplacer test results or equivalent. Developmental courses must be completed prior to consideration for program entry.
  • Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00 from all undergraduate colleges attended in the last five (5) years with grades of "C" or higher in courses required in the dental hygiene curriculum.
  • Chemistry Requirement All applicants must have a minimum grade of "C" in a 4 credit college-level Chemistry course with a lab.  Recommended SUNY Erie Chemistry courses are CH144/145 or higher-level courses. CH140/141 will be accepted as a minimal Chemistry course requirement but will provide no ranking points. Transfer Chemistry courses will be evaluated by the department on an individual basis.  The Chemistry course must be completed within the last five (5) years with no less than "C" grade.  If the applicant receives grades below "C" or "W"(withdraw), the candidate may repeat the course only once, repeating the course will lower a student's ranking score. Applicants who do not successfully complete the Chemistry course may not be evaluated and ranked. Completion of the course does not imply or guarantee admission to the Dental Hygiene program.
  • Preferred and highly recommended courses: completion of science courses required by the dental hygiene curriculum with competitive grades and cumulative grade point average above 3.00 (Microbiology with lab, Anatomy & Physiology I and II with labs). Bio-science courses must be completed within the last five (5) years with no grades less than "C". If the applicant receives grades below "C" or "W", the candidate may repeat the course only once, repeating the course may lower the students ranking score. Completion of these courses does not imply or guarantee admission to the Dental Hygiene program.
  • HESI- Admission Assessment (A2) Exam the A2 exam measures Math (Basic skills), English (Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and Grammar) and Anatomy & Physiology and Chemistry. It also provides a Learning Style Profile for each applicant. The A2 exam will be required if there are over 100 qualified applicants. Successful completion (75% all parts) of the computerized Admissions Assessment (A2) Exam is required. An applicant who does not obtain a 75% on each section tested will only have one more opportunity to retake the exam. If an applicant has already taken and passed the A2 exam within the last five years and can provide the required proof, he/she will not be required to retake the exam. After the applicant has met all the criteria for acceptance, s/he will be contacted by a Dental Hygiene department to schedule the exam.

Academic Experiences of the Most Recently Accepted Class:

  • The majority of students had completed general education requirements including College Composition, Oral Communication, Psychology and Sociology.
  • 98% of students had completed Anatomy & Physiology I and Anatomy & Physiology II.
  • 98% of students had completed Microbiology.
  • The average cumulative GPA was 3.62.
  • 25% had a college degree.

Application Review Procedure
The applicant is responsible for submitting official transcripts for the last five years of college. Official transcripts must be received no later than Feb. 1st. If the number of qualified applicants exceeds the available entering class openings, points will be assigned to each of the academic criteria. Academic profile scores can be increased by completing science requirements and earning high grades. Completed applications with all supporting college transcripts are reviewed to calculate an academic profile score as follows:

  • cumulative grade point average (must be at least 3.00 for college applicants)
  • required science course grades (Chemistry with lab,  A&P I and II with labs, and Microbiology with lab) two attempts may lower ranking points
  • academic degree(s) earned demonstrating full-time status with cumulative GPA at or above 3.00
  • HESI- A2 examination (if required)
  • additional advanced science course(s) or higher level math course(s) may be awarded additional points

Final review of potentially qualified applications will be completed late in March and accepted candidates will be notified in April. A limited number of applicants may receive alternate status. Applicants not admitted for the Fall semester must reapply for the next application period and compete with a new pool of applicants. The program does not offer a waiting list. When re-applying for the following application cycle, students are responsible to verify that bio-sciences courses are not expired. Expired bio-sciences course will not be considered for an evaluation and ranking of an application. Applications received after the February 1st deadline will only be considered on a space available basis.

Applicants not accepted to the two-year Dental Hygiene program may be offered admission to General Studies or Humanities (250/DH). This will provide the student an opportunity to establish a competitive academic credential and meet Dental Hygiene admission requirements through an individually developed schedule of pre-requisite and required liberal arts and science courses based on the applicant's academic history and Accuplacer test results. Advisers will provide academic advisement and tracking during required semester meetings. Admission to this preparatory track does not imply or guarantee admission to the Dental Hygiene program.

Note: Meeting minimum entry requirements does not guarantee admission due to space limitations. Science courses taken more than five (5) years ago are not accepted

SUNY Erie Community College Dental Hygiene curriculum and its program of study meets the educational requirements by the Board of Regents in New York State to award an Associate in Applied Science Degree (AAS) with a major in Dental Hygiene.  Graduates are eligible to take the exams for Dental Hygiene licensure in New York. Other states may have different educational requirements for program completion and licensure requirements. SUNY Erie Dental Hygiene has not made a determination of whether the curriculum meets the educational requirements for Dental Hygiene licensure in states other than in New York. If seeking licensure in a state other than New York, please review the requirements of that State’s Dental Board. To search a particular State’s Dental Board, please visit:



CDCA CSCE Prometric

National Board

















The Dental Hygiene Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL  60611. The Commission's web address is:


For more information:
Peter DeMarco, South Campus
Room 2109A
4041 Southwestern Blvd.
Orchard Park, NY 14127
(716) 851-1384