Dental Hygiene - Profession

Dental Hygiene Profession Menu


285 Jay Street
Academic Building 701 (A-701)
Brooklyn, NY 11201


Phone: 718-260-5070


Overview of the Dental Hygiene Profession and Educational Program

A dental hygienist is a licensed member of the dental healthcare team who provides educational, clinical, and therapeutic services to their patients within the scope of their state Dental Hygiene Practice Act. Patient care provided by a Dental Hygienist includes collection of assessment data and creating a treatment plan, implementation of care, and evaluation of the treatment provided.

Dental hygiene students are taught responsibility for professional judgment, ethical conduct, and infection control. They learn to develop an effective and responsible style of communication which enables them to involve the patient as a partner in care as a necessary condition for restoring and maintaining the patient's oral health. Students treat a broad range of patients with varied characteristics and health conditions and are given the opportunity to work in a variety of health-care settings with different population groups.

The program includes theory, laboratory and clinical practice and general education courses. Students gain proficiency in clinical skills by treating patients in our on-campus dental hygiene clinic. Satisfactory performance in off-campus affiliated clinics may be required of each candidate for the associate in applied science degree with a major in Dental Hygiene. Computer experience related to dental hygiene practice is also offered. Prior to beginning clinical assignments, students must complete a departmental medical form, provide proof of required immunizations, malpractice insurance and Health Care Provider CPR certification.

Students must complete all requirements for the AAS degree within five years of the date of their matriculation into the dental hygiene curriculum.

To practice dental hygiene, graduates are required to pass a National Board Examination on the theory of dental hygiene and a Regional Board Examination on the clinical practice of dental hygiene. Application for licensure must be made to the individual state(s) where the applicant intends to practice.

Among the employers of the graduates of this program are private dental practices, public and private health agencies, hospitals, industrial clinics, government agencies, U.S. Armed Services, schools of dentistry and dental hygiene and dental supply companies.

Performance Standards

Once a student is admitted to the clinical phase of the program, he or she must comply with all program policies and procedures.

Attend Classes: The dental hygiene program runs under a block schedule, students must take the courses in the order in which they are given. The program offers a day and evening section, students will be given opportunity for preference during the application process. Due to limited clinic space, and faculty to student ratio, students cannot switch between day and evening sections while in the program.

Day Students: Fall and Spring sessions are full-time. Students need to be flexible Monday to Friday between the hours of 7:30 am and 6 pm.

Evening Students: Fall, Spring, and Summer (June or July) sessions as a full-time student. Students need to be flexible Monday to Friday between the hours of 5 pm and10 pm, as well as Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Vaccinations: Submit documented evidence of a complete physical examination demonstrating good health. The First and Second-Year Student Medical Examination Form is provided by the department. Students are responsible for satisfying NYS immunization and department immunization requirements to be permitted into the clinical portion of the courses to meet CDC guidelines for Health Care Providers. These include:

  • T-dap
  • Varicella
  • MMR
  • Hepatitis B*
  • COVID-19
  • Influenza - annually
  • Tuberculosis baseline screening - blood test (skin test not accepted)

*If in-progress of Hepatitis B series documentation must be provided.

*Any missing or incomplete immunizations will void the student from clinical participation and prevent them from entering the program.

Bloodborne Pathogens:

  • As a healthcare provider, you will have the potential for exposure to respiratory and bloodborne pathogens.
  • Dental Hygienists will encounter saliva and blood while working on patients. Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease.
  • The most common bloodborne pathogens are Hepatitis B, C & HIV.
  • How to manage bloodborne pathogens is taught to dental hygiene students to help protect everyone against occupational transmission of bloodborne disease.

Functional/Technical Standards


  • Adequate motor/physical ability and health status to acquire specific technical skills that allow for the performance of oral hygiene procedures without creating actual or potential harm to, or compromise of the patient's, colleagues, faculty, or their own health and well-being.
  • Dexterity skills that involve a refined use of the small muscles controlling and use during instrumentation.


  • Exhibit functional use of visual, auditory, and somatic sensation. Adequate visual acuity to acquire information from printed or handwritten materials, films, slides, videos, and x- rays; to differentiate between variations in the depth of field, color, shade size and shape of clinical findings or their diagrammatic representation; and to observe and respond to non-verbal communication.
  • Display sufficient auditory ability to facilitate proper communication with faculty, peers, and patients; as well as recognize the sounds of equipment that is functioning abnormally and adequate tactile sensitivity to differentiate between normal and abnormal structures both intra-oral and/or extra-oral.


  • Students must be proficient in the English language necessary to obtain information from lectures, texts, written materials, and conversations with dental personnel; and to be able to communicate and understand information on written examinations and patient charts and communicate with patients and members of the dental health community. It is essential to effectively partake in problem identification, problem solving and offering directions to patients during and after treatment.


  • To problem solve and administer timely and appropriate dental hygiene care, it is essential for students to be able to: analyze, integrate, synthesize, calculate, summarize, and interpret written, oral, and diagrammatic/pictorial information.
  • In addition, documentation by recording accurate and complete patient information in a prescribed, legally acceptable format; and being able and willing to perform varied tasks in an appropriate sequence or several tasks simultaneously.


  • Be able to fully utilize his/her intellectual abilities in providing the patient with appropriate, efficient, and safe treatment. This is demonstrated by, but not limited to, the student's exercise of good judgment; prompt completion of patient related responsibilities; development of compassionate and effective relationships with patients, peers, and faculty; adaptation to changing environments; display of flexibility; compliance with departmental procedures and regulations; tactful and congenial management of apprehensive patients; acceptance of reasonable feedback and adherence to the College's and Department's standards of academic integrity.
  • In addition, he/she needs to be prepared to function under stress and in the face of the uncertainties inherent in the clinical treatment of patients.

Criteria for Admission into and Progression within the Dental Hygiene Curriculums

All new and transfer students who do not meet the admissions criteria for direct entry into the clinical program will be classified as pre-clinical dental hygiene students taking introductory courses. During the introductory courses sequence, students will be programmed for developmental skills courses as needed and credit courses in general education and science, which are required for the degree in dental hygiene.

Students will be considered for acceptance into the clinical program each fall if they:

  • Are CUNY proficient in writing and math and are proficient at or above the 12th grade level in reading
  • Have completed all 22 required general education credits as delineated in the NYCCT college catalog and departmental literature with at least a “C” in biology and chemistry and a minimum combined average of 2.5. Grades in repeated courses will be averaged.

*Completion of the introductory courses does not guarantee progression into the clinical program.

*Because of capacity limitations, students who have completed the introductory phase with the minimum 2.5 index or higher will be numerically ranked each semester and seats will be allocated based on the highest cumulative average in the introductory sequence, as space permits. Due to the high number of applicants to the dental hygiene program in the past two years, the average GPA, for acceptance to the program has been approximately 3.0 or higher.

Progression from Pre-Clinical Dental Hygiene to Clinical Dental Hygiene

The introductory courses must be completed in a maximum of four semesters after admission to the pre-clinical course sequence of the dental hygiene program. Available seats in the clinical program will be allocated based on the highest cumulative academic averages in the required 22-credit sequence. Students accepted into the clinical program in the last two years had minimum GPAs of 3.2 and 3.36. Seats will be offered up to the limit authorized by the College. Students who do not meet the above requirements for progression from the pre-clinical sequence to the clinical program by the end of four semesters will be required to transfer out of the dental hygiene curriculum.

Progression in and Graduation from Dental Hygiene

  • A minimum grade of “C” in each course designated with the prefix DEN will be required for progression in and graduation from the dental hygiene program.
  • DEN 1100 may not be repeated in the event of failure or a grade of “D” and the student will be required to choose another major.
  • Students who withdraw will be considered for readmission on an individual basis and only if they withdraw in good standing (passing all courses at time of withdrawal).

*As per College policy, no dental hygiene course may be repeated more than once. In addition:

  • No more than two dental hygiene courses may be repeated during the entire course of study.
  • A student may not fail more than one course in any one semester.
  • If a student fails to meet any of these provisions, he/she will be required to withdraw from the dental hygiene curriculum.

Approximate Additional Costs Other Than Tuition Associated with AAS Degree

*These additional costs are not covered by Financial Aid



Board Examinations:

Clinical Exam

National Board Dental Hygiene Exam (NBDHE)

$1485 (total fee for both)



Dental Hygiene License:

N.Y. State Dental Hygiene License

N.Y. State Dental Hygiene Anesthesia License

$153 (total fee for both)



Professional Membership:

Student American Dental Hygienists' Association (SADHA)

*Required of all students in the dental hygiene program)


$65 - One Year

$120 - Two Years

Instruments and Supplies






Hygiene Pin


Career Opportunity and Projected Growth

Dental Hygienists: Occupational Outlook Handbook :: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Employment Outlook

A 6% growth in the employment of Dental Hygienist is expected between 2019-2029.1

Annual Wages in the New York City Region2:

Mean Average: $86,200

Median Average: $91,370

Entry Level Dental Hygienist: $69,000

Experienced Dental Hygienist: $94,800



Educational Program

In the educational curriculum, the dental hygiene student will learn critical thinking skills to develop professional judgement, ethical conduct, and prevention of disease transmission by utilizing infection control guidelines. Students will develop communication skills for healthcare professionals, which will enable them to engage the patient as a partner in their own oral healthcare. The student will learn all aspects of documentation and standard chart entries, which are considered the standard in the profession. Students will provide care to a broad range of patients with a variety of systemic health conditions on campus at the City Tech patient care clinic. To participate in the clinical courses, students must complete the City Tech form for an annual physical, provide proof of required immunizations, maintain an active certification in Healthcare Provider CPR and be covered by malpractice insurance.

After completion of the educational program, graduates will be eligible to take the series of licensing examinations namely, the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination (NDHBE) and the CDCA-WREB Examination.