Students interested in the pre-health major in dental hygiene must complete the two-year program requirements (a total minimum of 60 credits) for application to the Bachelor of Science degree program in dental hygiene offered by the VCU School of Dentistry. Applications to the program are normally submitted in spring of the sophomore year. Students planning to start the program in the fall would begin the admissions process during the fall semester of the preceding year. Students apply to the baccalaureate program through the American Dental Education Association Dental Hygiene Centralized Application Service in the spring of the year preceding entrance. All prerequisite coursework should be completed by the spring of the year of desired admission.
Completion of the pre-health major in dental hygiene does not guarantee admission to the junior- and senior-year program for the B.S. in Dental Hygiene nor does it result in a college degree. Students must be admitted to and complete all program requirements to earn a baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene. Admission into the program is based on both academic and nonacademic qualities (work ethic, knowledge of the profession, motivation, compassion, integrity, communication skills, leadership and desire to contribute to society, resiliency, willingness to accept responsibility, and maturity). Students are strongly encouraged to consult with a UAA pre-health major academic adviser to learn about admission requirements that are specific to the program and to speak about alternate/parallel majors. For more information about the admission requirements and application deadlines for the B.S. in Dental Hygiene, visit the program’s website.
Dental hygienists provide education and clinical services to promote optimal oral health. They provide treatment to help prevent gum disease, tooth decay and other oral health problems. While they most typically work in private dental offices and clinics, dental hygienists also may find employment in health departments, hospitals, nursing homes, school districts, corporate settings, military services, correctional facilities or dental education facilities. This flexible career allows hygienists to choose to work anywhere from one to five days per week.
Dental hygienists in a clinical role assess, diagnose, plan, implement, evaluate and document treatment for prevention, intervention and control of oral diseases, while practicing in collaboration with other health professional. Corporate dental hygienists are employed by companies that support the oral health industry through the sale of products and services. Community Health programs are typically funded by government or nonprofit organizations. These positions often offer an opportunity to provide care to those who otherwise would not have access to dental care. Research conducted by dental hygienists can be either qualitative or quantitative. Quantitative research involves conducting surveys & analyzing the results, while qualitative research may involve testing a new procedure, product, or theory for accuracy or effectiveness. Dental Hygiene educators are in great demand. Colleges and universities throughout the U. S. require dental hygiene instructors who use educational theory and methodology to educate competent oral health care professionals. Corporations also employ educators who provide continuing education to licensed dental hygienists. Dental hygienists in administrative positions apply organizational skills, communicate objectives, identify and manage resources, and evaluate and modify programs of health, education and health care.
Current VCU students who wish to change their major to the pre-health major in dental hygiene must meet the following criteria to be considered for the major:
Minimum GPA of 2.8. No more than 75 credits completed. Students who do not meet these requirements may see a pre-health adviser, but they will be referred for programming and not assigned to an adviser.
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