2020-21 University Catalog 
    Apr 22, 2024  
2020-21 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dental Hygiene Department

Paula Russell, Department Chair/Director, Klamath Falls
Academic Program Director:  Paula Hendrix, BSDH in Salem at Chemeketa Community College, Suzanne Hopper - Online Degree Completion
Professor: S. Hopper
Associate Professor: P. Russell, P. Hendrix
Assistant Professors: K. Beaty, J. Luebbers, D. Swigart, T. Willey
Instructors: J. Bopp C. Botsch, E. Wells

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (entry level program)
  • Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene, Online Degree Completion (for licensed professionals)

The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene is offered on the Oregon Tech campus in Klamath Falls, on the Chemeketa Community College campus in Salem, Oregon, and online for licensed professionals completing their Bachelor’s degree.


The Dental Hygiene Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), a national Commission that is responsible for the professional accreditation of dental schools, dental hygiene programs, and other programs related to dentistry. Oregon Tech’s Dental Hygiene Program’s accreditation status is “approval without reporting requirements” which means it meets all of the “Accreditation Standards for Dental Hygiene Education Programs”.

Program Purpose and Mission Statement

The Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene Program provides and educational environment that fosters respect and encourages critical thinking. Its mission is to educate students to become primary healthcare providers who are well prepared to serve the public in multiple roles and who are empowered to become life-long learners.

Upon graduation, students are prepared for entry into the dental hygiene profession and are eligible for state and national exams leading to licensure as a registered dental hygienist or expanded practice dental hygienist.

Program Educational Objectives

The dental hygiene graduate will be competent in:

  1. Communication: Communication and collaborating with other members of the health care team to support comprehensive patient care
  2. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Critical thinking and problem solving related to comprehensive care and management of patients
  3. Professionalism, Ethical Practice: Applying ethical, legal, and regulatory concepts in the provision and/or support of oral health care services to comprehensive care and management of patients
  4. Lifelong Learning: Demonstration competent knowledge and self-assessment skills necessary for life-long learning
  5. Provision of Oral Health Care: Providing the dental hygiene process of care for a wide range of patient profiles and all types of periodontal diseases
  6. Community Health: Assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating community based oral health programs including health promotion and disease prevention activities
  7. Disease Prevention: Evaluate factors that can be used to promote patient adherence to disease prevention and/or health maintenance strategies.

Career Opportunities

Dental hygienists are most commonly employed in private dental practices and provide oral health preventive and therapeutic services. Graduates are prepared for licensure as a dental hygienist and graduate with the qualifications to obtain permits and endorsements for expanded practice in such settings as nursing homes, schools, and hospitals. In addition to clinical practice, dental hygienists have careers in the fields of education, research, administration, and public health.

Student Preparation

A science background is essential for individuals interested in any health sciences profession. Students considering a career in dental hygiene should take a college-bound course of study in high school that includes algebra, chemistry, and biology or human anatomy and physiology.

Admissions Procedures

Any student who meets the general admissions requirements may enroll in Pre-Dental Hygiene courses (freshman year). Students are selected to enter the professional program through an application process.

A limited number of seats are available in the professional program courses (sophomore, junior, and senior years).

The application deadline is in March of the calendar year of enrollment. To be eligible for admission into the Dental Hygiene Program the following minimum eligibility requirements must be met:

  1. Applicants must have on file with the Oregon Tech Office of Admissions an official Application for Admission to Oregon Tech, accompanied by a $50 non-refundable fee and official transcripts of each college or university attended. Admission to Oregon Tech is independent of admission to the Dental Hygiene Program. All applicants to Oregon Tech are admitted as pre-dental hygiene majors until accepted into the dental hygiene program.
  2. Applicants must have successfully completed or be in progress of completing all freshmen pre-dental hygiene courses. Introduction to Dental Hygiene (DH 100  on campus or DHE 100  online) must be taken through Oregon Tech. All other prerequisite (freshman) courses must be completed by the end of spring term, with the exception of BIO 233 , which may be extended into the summer but must be successfully completed prior to program entry in the subsequent fall term.
  3. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA in previous college work.
  4. Applicants must submit a Dental Hygiene Application for Admission, related forms, and application fee of $75 to the Dental Hygiene department. Detailed information and instructions can be found on the Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene Program web page, www.oit.edu/dentalhygiene/how-to-apply.

Program Requirements

Dental hygiene students admitted to the Dental Hygiene Program (sophomore, junior, senior years) must purchase instruments and other supplies to be used during clinical practice and pay additional fees associated with dental hygiene courses. A background check, drug test, and proof of immunizations specific to healthcare workers are required prior to final admission into the professional program.

Graduation Requirements

All courses listed in the curriculum for the catalog year a student begins a program must be fulfilled. Total credits required for graduation are: Bachelor of Science degree, 190. A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for graduation. Students must maintain a grade of “C” or better in all Dental Hygiene courses to continue in the program.