Program Overview

Prepare for a career as a Registered Dental Hygienist with a combination of classroom instruction and laboratory and clinical experience. This is a rigorous program, providing you with a knowledge base to integrate manual skills with the delivery of high-quality oral health care services. The practice of dental hygiene is extremely science oriented. Therefore a strong background in biological sciences is required. Please read through the following tabs for information regarding admission into the program.

COVID-19 and Dental Hygiene Students

Our primary goal is to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all of our students, faculty, staff and patients. We adhere to the highest standards of care while providing oral health services to our patients and a top-quality education to our students.

In continuing our goal, and for the safety of everyone who visits our dental hygiene clinic, classrooms and laboratory, we are following the recommended guidelines established by the American Dental Association (ADA), American Academy of Periodontics (AAP), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We will continuously monitor all the updates provided by these agencies.  

Program Courses

Program Courses

The non-dental hygiene courses (14) should be taken prior to admission as this is one of the criteria the admissions committee reviews. Anatomy and Physiology, and Microbiology must be taken within ten years of beginning the program. It is strongly recommended that the non-dental hygiene courses (14) including all sciences should be taken prior to admission as this is one of the criteria the admissions committee reviews.

*indicates non-dental hygiene courses

General Education Courses Credits
  Written & Oral Communications
(ENG 101* and SPE 102* required)
6
  Mathematics (MTH 107* required) 3
  Natural Science (BIO 110/111* required) 4
  Social Science (PSY 101* required) 3
  Additional General Education Requirements
(SOC 101* and CHE 210* required)
6
  Total 22
Program Courses Credits
BIO 114* Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology II  3
BIO 115 * Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology II Lab 1
BIO 155* Basic Microbiology 3
BIO 156* Basic Microbiology Lab 1
CHE 107* Chemistry 3
CHE 108* Chemistry Lab 1
DHY 101 Pre-clinical Dental Hygiene 4
DHY 110 Dental Head and Neck Anatomy 3
DHY 120 Dental Radiology 3
DHY 130 Dental and Medical Emergencies 1
DHY 140 Oral Embryology and Histology 2
DHY 151 Clinical Services I  4
DHY 160 Periodontology I 2
DHY 200 Dental Pharmacology and Pain Control 2
DHY 201 Clinical Services II 4
DHY 210  Periodontology II 2
DHY 220  Oral Pathology  3
DHY 222  Local Anesthesia  1
DHY 240  Dental Public Health  3
DHY 241  Supportive Therapies  3
DHY 251  Clinical Services III  4
Total 53
Total Required for Degree 75
Applying to the Program

Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) offers a two-year professional program leading to an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene (AAS.DHY). This program prepares students for a career as a Registered Dental Hygienist. 

Students interested in Dental Hygiene (DHY) are encouraged to attend one of our Informational Seminars held periodically throughout the year. 

Deadlines

The Dental Hygiene program accepts one cohort per year every fall semester. 

The application open date for fall 2023 will be November 1, 2022, and the deadline will be January 30, 2023. All (14) prerequisite courses should be completed by the application deadline for them to be considered. 

Applicants will be notified of decisions by March 30, 2023, via email only to RCBC student email account.

How to Apply

Applicants to the Dental Hygiene program are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Completion of the Admission Application to RCBC by visiting rcbc.edu/apply

  • Completion of a Dental Hygiene application. 

  • Applicants must also review and complete all application criteria listed below.

Application Criteria

  • Submission of proof of high school completion via

    • High school diploma, GED or Translation of Foreign credentials

    • Must be sent to the Office of Admissions

  • Submission of ALL college transcripts 

  • Applicants must be 18 years old prior to the start of the program

  • Achievement of cumulative grade point average (gpa) of 2.75 or greater in all college coursework

  • Completion of all required prerequisites (non-dental) with a grade of “C” or higher to apply:

    • ENG 101   Written Communication

    • SPE 102    Oral Communication

    • PSY 101    Introduction to Psychology

    • SOC 101   Introduction to Sociology

    • MTH 107  Introduction to Statistics

    • *BIO 110    Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology I

    • *BIO 111    Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology I (lab)

    • *BIO 114    Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology II

    • *BIO 115    Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology II (lab)

    • *BIO 155    Microbiology

    • *BIO 156    Microbiology lab

    • CHE 107   Chemistry

    • CHE 108   Chemistry lab 

    • CHE 210   Chemistry Nutrition   

Note: It is strongly recommended that all non-dental hygiene courses (14) be completed prior to the application deadline. Please speak with an academic advisor for assistance in planning your course load rcbc.edu/advising 

*Anatomy I and II and Microbiology, in order to be used for the DHY Program, must have been completed within 10 years of beginning the DHY Program. Older courses must be retaken. If the final grade was “C” or better, then the course may be audited without taking a lab.

Students are non-admissible into the program under the following conditions:

  • Students with non-repeated failures in pre-requisites (non-Dental Hygiene).

  • Students with more than 2 failures and/or more than 2 repeats of the required courses. Please note: we do not count courses that are 8 years old or older when looking at failed courses.

  • Students who are enrolled/failed/dismissed from other Dental Hygiene schools/programs.

NOTE: Meeting all admission standards DOES NOT guarantee admission into the program.

Admissions Decisions

Applicants will be selected according to total points earned based on an admission rubric. This rubric will evaluate the academic performance of a student within the pre-requisite courses (14) including all the sciences.

Applicants will be ranked according to total points scored and number of required courses repeated. The number of students admitted will be based on space availability, which varies by term.

Click here to view the rubric. 

Acceptance into the Program

Accepted students will be notified via their RCBC student email account of our admissions decision at the end of April.

Students are accepted on a conditional acceptance basis and can be denied if mandatory requirements are not met. If you are conditional accepted into the Dental Hygiene program students will need to complete the following:

  • All non-DHY curriculum courses (14) must be completed with a C or better.

  • Attendance at the mandatory DHY Orientation for the fall 2022 cohort.

  • Proof of medical/health insurance.

  • Proof of “in person” American Heart Association BLS with AED CPR course with card.

  • Comprehensive eye examination.

  • Completion of a physical examination including:

    • Influenza (annually)

    • COVID vaccine and booster

    • Physical exam and medical history

    • The two-step tuberculosis test prior to admittance and a single test must be completed annually thereafter.

    • Tetanus test (within the past 10 years)

    • MMR

    • Varicella

    • Hepatitis B (or titers proving immunity)

  • As healthcare providers dental hygienists are exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted to and from clinicians and patients. Dental hygienists are in constant contact with blood and saliva and are at great risk for infection without vaccines to protect them. Therefore, due to the high level of exposure in this profession, vaccinations are required to participate in the RCBC dental hygiene program.

  • Clear criminal history background checks/urine drug test

  • Malpractice insurance (fee for the coverage is part of the tuition rate; therefore, there will be no additional fees to the students for this coverage.)

  • Reliable transportation (to clinical sites)

NOTE: Students who are not accepted or decline admission to the Dental Hygiene program, must re-apply in a future application cycle. Also Waiting lists are not maintained from one year to the next. 

Transfer Advising

Rowan College at Burlington County provides numerous opportunities for students to transfer successfully to four-year schools in order to continue their education. Click here to visit the transfer page or contact us below.

Contact Us

RCBC Advising
Mount Laurel Campus
Student Success Center, Second Floor
transfer@rcbc.edu
(856) 222-9311, ext. 2737

Dental Hygiene Scope of Practice

Registered Dental Hygienists perform tasks in a variety of roles ranging from clinician, health educator, prevention specialist, and counselor. Communication skills are of utmost importance to be effective in these areas when dealing with a diverse population of clients. Our emphasis is the maintenance of health: the total health and well being of those who come under our care. The delivery of quality oral health care is dependent upon the personal integrity of the hygienist to perform more than rote clinical procedures. S/he must be able to think critically, analyze a patient’s individual needs and deliver a total health maintenance package, which includes complex assessment, treatment, education, documentation and evaluation of a variety of treatment options.

The practice of dental hygiene puts the student at risk for exposure to blood borne and infectious diseases. The Rowan College at Burlington County Dental Hygiene Program follows all local, state and federal regulations for the protection of faculty, students, patients and staff. A complete manual of our compliance policies and procedures is available upon request.

Mission Statement and Program Goals

Dental Program Mission Statement
The mission of the Rowan College in Burlington County Dental Hygiene Program is to provide affordable education that assures students a foundation for success as dental hygienists who are competent critical thinkers able to assist individuals and groups in the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of oral health.

 

Dental Hygiene Program Goals

  • Integrate basic sciences and technical skills in the application of

    dental hygiene practice;
  • Integrate ethical, legal and regulatory guidelines in the provision of professional dental hygiene care;
  • Evaluate scientific information as a basis for dental hygiene decision making and research;
  • Utilize professional knowledge to evaluate actions and competently care for and educate community members.
Frequently Asked Questions

 How can I find out more about the program?
 All information seminars will be held on the Mount Laurel Campus, in the Health Sciences Center, room 317. Please check the RCBC event calendar for additional upcoming information session information.

 I've had my dental x-ray license for many years. Do I still have to take DHY 120 Dental Radiology?
 Yes. Most dental x-ray courses are offered through the non-credit division of a college and in order to graduate you must have the 3 credits on your transcript. Additionally, hygienists are responsible for more interpretation than assistants. All radiographic series exposed are graded throughout the two years in school so it is best to get everyone on the same page in the name of fairness. Typically people do not remember what they do not use on a regular basis and while many will remember the important information about exposing radiographs, I think most incoming students would be hard pressed to identify the exact path of the electron before and after striking the tungsten target, and the chemical reactions responsible for producing the latent image. These facts will be part of the  licensing board examinations and an in-depth review is usually necessary.

 I have a degree from another college. Will any of my credits transfer?
 Yes, as long as they are from a regionally accredited institution, are for a comparable required course with the same number of credit hours and a similar course description and you received a grade of "C" or better. Anatomy and Physiology I and II along with Microbiology must have been completed within 10 years of beginning the program.

 I'm an adult learner. Will I be out of place? Will I be the oldest student in class?
 There are many adult learners in RCBC courses and DHY is no exception. The mix of students varies from year to year but we have had students ranging in age from 20 to 50. People who are serious about their education and dedicated to succeeding in the program are never out of place.

 I have no dental experience. Is it necessary to have worked in a dental office to be accepted? Will I be able to understand what is going on if I have never been employed in the dental field?
 Dental experience is not a prerequisite to entry into the DHY Program. It is helpful, but not necessary. We do not award extra points in the admission process for previous dental assisting experience. At orientation you will be given a primer of dental terms to help get you up to speed before classes start.

 If I have several years of experience and all of the non-dental hygiene courses completed prior to starting the program, how long will it take to graduate?
 The program will still take 2 years. The dental hygiene courses must be taken in sequence. You cannot take Clinical Services I prior to or in conjunction with Preclinical Dental Hygiene. Nor can you take any of the other DHY courses out of sequence.

 How much does the program cost?
 To view current tuition and fees for RCBC, please click here.

Although we work hard to maintain low tuition costs, tuition has risen slowly to meet the economic constraints of cuts in Federal and State funding. If you look at our curriculum, and take all of the non-dental hygiene courses prior to coming into the program, then you will not be taking a full 12 credit load by the time you enter, so you'll have to figure out the costs based on when you take which courses. At the current time the lab fees total about $1100 for the whole program, and there again, increases are inevitable.

You should also plan on spending another $2-3,000 for instruments, books, uniforms and supplies over the course of the program. Of course, you will be asked to join the student component of the American Dental Hygienists' Association, and there will be various events, conferences and meetings that you may also have to help fund. Students fund raise to help defray the cost, but we can't guarantee that you won't be required to pay a portion of the expenses.

If you are interested in scholarships, the Foundation Website is very helpful, and there are ADHA scholarships and the Delta Dental Foundation Scholarship too.

Do you keep a waiting list, and if so, how long is it? If not, do I have to reapply each year?
We do NOT maintain a waiting list from year to year. If you are waitlisted, your instructions will say that if you are not called before the start of fall classes, you must reapply for the following year. Being waitlisted just means that if someone does not accept placement into the RCBC Dental Hygiene Program, or drops out before the start of classes, you may be called to fill their spot.

 When do you accept applications?
 We begin accepting applications as of November 1 of the year prior to the one to which you are applying. For example, if you are applying for the 2023 class, you can send in your application starting November 1, 2022.

 What is the deadline for applications?
 The admissions committee will review qualified applicants sometime in the middle to end of February. All transcripts need to have been received and reviewed by January 31. It is the responsibility of the applicant to check on the status of their transcripts and ensure that all courses they should receive credit for have been accepted. The Dental Hygiene Program does not have access to these records. If you cannot access your electronic transcript through Self-Service, you can call the registrar at (856) 222-9311, ext. 1560.

Deadlines

  • Applications MUST be received by January 31 of the year for which you are applying
  • All OFFICIAL transcripts MUST be EVALUATED by January 31 of the year for which you are applying

 Do I need to be CPR certified in order to be accepted into the program?
 AFTER you are accepted into the program, you will need to provide proof of an instructor led CPR course with Basic Life Support (BLS) CPR & AED Training for Healthcare Professionals from the American Heart Association.

You need to be CPR certified in order to participate in clinical activities, and this certification must remain valid throughout the entire program.  CPR and physicals are NOT part of the application process.

 I understand that I will need to have a physical exam. Should I do that before I apply?
 AFTER you are accepted into the program, you will be given information and forms about your physical examination. You need to be CPR certified in order to participate in clinical activities but if you do it too early it will only need to be redone once you are accepted. CPR and physicals are NOT part of the application process.

 When do I start working on patients?
 During your first semester, as part of DHY 101 Preclinical Dental Hygiene you will be working on mannequins and on your fellow students. Students are required to sit as patient partners as part of the educational experience. In the second semester during DHY 151 Clinical Services I you will be seeing patients other than your student partner.  In DHY 120 you will need two patients to meet radiology requirements.

 Does the school supply the patients?
 Some of the patients you will be seeing are supplied through our facility's data base but it is the student's responsibility to supply an adequate number of patients to meet course requirements. During your tenure as a dental hygiene student you will be required to see a number of patients with a variety of oral conditions. Each clinical course has a specified number of requirements outlined clearly in the syllabus.

 Will I need a computer for the Dental Hygiene Program?
 All dental hygiene courses; lectures, labs and clinic sessions, are in person unless posted otherwise. Our courses are delivered via Blackboard Learning Systems and WebCT formats. Participation is part of the grade for every course and logging on to the website is mandatory. Supported browsers include: Microsoft Edge, Chrome, AOL, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari.

 When will I hear if I'm accepted?
 After the admissions committee meets and makes their selections, letters of conditional acceptance go out to all applicants. This usually occurs by the end of March.

Program Staff and Faculty

Gail Vasilenko Photo

Director of Dental Hygiene
Gail Vasilenko, MA, R.D.H., CDA

Gail Vasilenko is an associate professor who graduated in 1978 from the University of Bridgeport, Fones School of Dental Hygiene, the world’s first dental hygiene school. Previously at Rutgers University since 2001, her years of experience as a clinical supervisor have provided Gail with the insight and understanding of the many responsibilities involved to be an efficient educator and leader. As a mentor and role model, Gail’s communication skills develop relationships and build trust. Many years as outcomes assessment coordinator have provided Gail with the expertise to gather and analyze relevant data for program improvement. Gail holds a master’s degree in education from Seton Hall University and serves on multiple committees on the American Dental Hygienist’s Association. She earned the Mary Dutton Faculty Mentor Award and coming full circle to Rowan College at Burlington County, Gail was a member of the original steering committee for the initiation of the first Burlington County Dental Hygiene Program.

Amy ShahDental Lab Coordinator
Amy Shah, MA

Amy Shah graduated from The Ohio State University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene and 2015 with a master’s degree in dental hygiene. She specializes in periodontology, after working in a periodontal specialty office for several years. Amy joined the RCBC dental hygiene program 2016 and has taught several didactic and clinical courses within the program. In 2022, she was hired as a full-time instructor in the lab coordinator position. 

Assistant Professor
Faith's PhotoFaith Zimnes, R.D.H., M.S.
Faith Zimnes graduated from RCBC in 2010. She obtained her bachelor of science in Geoscience at the College of New Jersey and joined the RCBC faculty in 2013 as an adjunct. Ms. Zimnes was hired as a full-time instructor in 2016. Ms. Zimnes is the clinical coordinator for both freshmen and senior clinic sessions. She is the recipient of the 2017 Faculty Mentorship Award through the auspices of the New Jersey Dental Hygienist Association.

Adjunct Faculty

Lois I. Aaronson, BS, RDH
Marshall J. Alter, DMD
Samantha Bruno, BS, RDH
Mitchell G. Cohen, DMD, MAGD
Kym Davis, BS, RDH
Karen Vidovich, AS, RDH
Jennifer Brook, AS, RDH
Alyssa Gradel, BS, RDH
Lindsey Holmes, BS, RDH

Frances Lovric DDS
Taylor Paglione, BS, RDH
Barbara Ann Rich, DDS
Kathleen Savage, BS, RDH
Rita Salva, MA, RDH, CDA
Harmit Sekhon, DMD
Amy Shah, MS, RDH
Valerie Soto, BSHS, RDH
Tonya Stankowski, BA, RDH
Tom Viola, RPh​

Program Director

Gail Vasilenko
Director of Dental Hygiene
(856) 242-5234
gvasilenko@rcbc.edu

College Catalog

Want a more in-depth look into your program? Review the college catalog for more details.

RCBC ACCREDITATION

The program in dental hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of approval without reporting requirements. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United Stated 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: https://coda.ada.org/en.

Upcoming Dental Hygiene Information Sessions

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