Dental hygiene involves the use of a process of care to assess oral health status, develop a dental hygiene diagnosis, and plan and implement preventive and therapeutic services to achieve optimum oral health. This process of care is utilized to support the oral health status of individuals in a variety of clinical settings, and groups in community education and healthcare settings.
Dental hygiene has evolved into a multifaceted profession offering opportunities in a variety of areas. Career opportunities for the licensed dental hygienist are available in dental clinics and practices, administrative and managerial healthcare, education, research, and public health. The dental hygiene program at the University of Southern Indiana provides a curriculum which includes didactic courses, laboratory and clinical experiences, and community oral health education experiences. This diversity prepares graduates to deliver oral healthcare services and education in a variety of practice settings.
The Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene requires two academic years of prerequisite courses and two academic years of professional education courses. Prerequisite courses may be taken at any accredited college or university. Courses completed at another university must be comparable to those offered by USI and must transfer for credit. Dental hygiene courses taken while enrolled in the University of Southern Indiana dental assisting program must be completed within three years of entering the dental hygiene program. A grade of C or better is required in all courses to be applied to the dental hygiene degree.
Prerequisite courses cannot be taken on pass/fail option. All chemistry, biology, health professions, nutrition, and math prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the spring semester in the year the student desires admission to the program. The remainder of the prerequisite courses must be completed prior to beginning the dental hygiene professional curriculum.
Students seeking admission to the dental hygiene program also must be accepted for admission to USI. Admission to the University and completion of the prerequisite courses does not guarantee admission to the dental hygiene program. Admission into the dental hygiene program is limited to 24 students each academic year. Students are accepted into the dental hygiene program based on the cumulative grade point average in the required prerequisite courses. Twenty-four students with the highest grade point average in the required prerequisite courses are offered admission into the program each year. Applicants meeting academic requirements also must present evidence of satisfactory health status, satisfactory criminal background check, satisfactory drug screen to be eligible for dental hygiene licensure, and capable of fulfilling clinical practice requirements.
Application materials for the dental hygiene program are available in the College of Nursing and Health Professions office and on the program's web site. The completed application must be submitted to the dental hygiene program by February 1 of the year the student desires admission to the program. Applications received after February 1 will be considered on a space available basis.
Admission requirements include the following:
- acceptance to the University of Southern Indiana;
- completion of the required prerequisite college courses with a grade of C or higher and a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.8 (4.0 scale);
- submission of a dental hygiene application;
- submission of medical and immunization records;
- CPR certification for healthcare providers;
- completion of a criminal background check; and
- completion of drug testing.