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 Fall 2021 Dental Hygiene Program Application is Open

The application open date for fall 2021 will be October 1, 2020 and the deadline will be January 31, 2021. Applicants will be notified of decisions by April 30, 2021, via email only to your RCBC student email account.

Program Overview

The dental hygiene curriculum is designed to provide learning opportunities through classroom, laboratory and clinical instruction. The practice of dental hygiene is extremely science oriented. Therefore a strong background in biological sciences is required. The non-dental hygiene courses 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.

Classes are web-enhanced and portions of the courses require online access.

*indicates non-dental hygiene courses

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.  

Dental Hygiene as a Profession

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.

Program Goals
  • To prepare individuals to obtain entry level positions as professional dental hygienists with the ability to transfer to accredited institutions of higher learning.
  • To produce dental hygiene graduates who practice within the legal, ethical, and regulatory framework and standards of professional dental hygiene practice.
  • To produce dental hygiene graduates who participate as members of their professional organizations, able to serve their community as health professionals.
  • To provide an educational opportunity which allows Burlington County residents and employers to meet their education and employment goals.
  • To provide a comprehensive dental hygiene curriculum that prepares graduates to be professionally competent and motivated to become lifelong learners.
Program Requirements
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
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 October 1 of the year prior to the one to which you are applying. For example, if you are applying for the 2021 class, you can send in your application starting October 1, 2020.

 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 WebAdvisor, 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) from the American Red Cross or 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 are virtual online labs with in-person clinics. 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, Chome, 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 middle of March.

Recommended Course Sequence Curriculum

Year One

Semester 1 Course Title Credits
BIO 110/111* Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology I with Lab  4
CHE 107/108* Chemistry with Lab 4
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

 

Total

19

Semester 2 Course Title Credits
ENG 101* College Composition 3
BIO 114/115 * Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology II with Lab 4
BIO 155/156* Basic Microbiology with Lab 4
DHY 140   Oral Embryology and Histology 2
DHY 151 Clinical Services I   4
DHY 160 Periodontology 2

 

Total

19

Semester 3 Course Title Credits
PSY 101* General Psychology I  3
DHY 200 Dental Pharmacology and Pain Control 2
DHY 222 Local Anesthesia 1

 

Total

6

Year Two

Semester 4 Course Title Credits
MTH 107 * Introduction to Statistics 3
CHE 210* Nutrition 3
DHY 201 Clinical Services II  4
DHY 210 Periodontology II   2
DHY 220  Oral Pathology 3
DHY 241 Supportive Therapies 3

 

Total

18

Semester 5 Course Title Credits
SOC 101* Principals of Sociology 3
SPE 102* Public Speaking 3
DHY 240 Dental Public Health 3
DHY 251 Clinical Services III 4

 

Total

13

 

Program Total

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. 

Admission Process

Because of the limited number of space within the program we utilize a selective admissions process. Therefore, admission to the college does not guarantee admission to the program. Applicants must be admitted to RCBC as a degree-seeking student (with a current RCBC email and student ID number) and must also qualify for admission to the Dental Hygiene Program based on the following standards:

The application open date for fall 2021 will be October 1, 2020, and the deadline will be January 30, 2021.  Applicants will be notified of decisions by April 30, 2021, via email only to RCBC student email account.

Application Criteria:

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 completed Dental Hygiene application.
  • Submission of proof of high school completion via
    • High School diploma
    • GED
    • Translation of Foreign credential
  •  All official high school and college transcripts need to be sent to the:
                    Office of Outreach and Admissions
                    900 College Circle
                    Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
  •  Transfer credits are evaluated by the Office of the Registrar. For visit rcbc.edu/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 better 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: Completion of all non-dental hygiene  courses is strongly recommended but not required. 

  • Achievement of cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or greater in all college coursework
  • Students with non-repeated failures in pre-requisites (non-Dental Hygiene) courses will not be admissible
  • Students with more than 2 failures and/or more than 2 repeats of the required courses will not be admissible. This includes dental hygiene courses from previously attended programs.
  • Students who failed or were dismissed out of other Dental Hygiene schools/programs will not be admissible.
  • 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.

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

Deadlines

  • Applications MUST be received by January 31, 2021
  • All OFFICIAL transcripts MUST be RECEIVED by January 31, 2021

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.

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.

RCBC Dental Hygiene Admission Rubric

All applicable courses are evaluated using the following scale:

A = 10 points
A- = 9 points
B+ = 8 points
B = 7 points
B- = 6 points
C+ = 3 points
C = 2 points
C-, D, or F = 0 points

The above listed courses are required prerequisite courses for the DHY program. There may be additional courses required that are not counted in the DHY Admissions Rubric, including: BIO 120 & 121, CHE 107 & 108, and developmental Math and English courses.

Please speak to your advisor for clarification and to see if you are in need of any of these additional courses. For more information on Academic Advising visit: www.rcbc.edu/advising

The grades of the prerequisite (non-dental hygiene) courses will be factored into the chart below and averaged for a total score based off of each attempt.

Courses Needed # of Credits Semester Taken Grade Semester Taken Grade Average Score
BIO 110* 3          
BIO 111* 1          
BIO 114* 3          
BIO 115* 1          
BIO 155 3          
BIO 156 1          
ENG 101 3          
SPE 102 3          
MTH 107 3          
CHE 107 3          
CHE 108 3          
CHE 210 3          
PSY 101 3          
SOC 101 3          
Total           ____ / 140

*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 or audit. If the final grade was “C” or better, then the course may be audited without taking a lab.

Acceptance into the Program

Accepted students will be notified via their RCBC student email account of our admissions decision at the beginning 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 to the following:

  • All DHY courses must be completed with an 80 or above.
  • All non-DHY curriculum courses must be completed with a C or better.
  • Attendance at the mandatory DHY Orientation for the fall 2021 cohort.
  • Proof of medical/health insurance.
  • Proof of “in person” American Heart Association BLS CPR course with card.
  • Completion of a physical examination including:
    •  Physical exam and medical history
    • The two-step tuberculosis test (single test must be completed annually)
    • Tetanus test (within the past 10 years)
    • MMR
    • Varicella
    • Hepatitis B (or titers proving immunity)
  • 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. 

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.

Full-Time Instructor
Faith 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.

Clinical Assistant 
Mary Kay Comegys, R.D.H.

Ms. Comegys brings a wealth of clinical experience to the Dental Hygiene Program having spent many years in a pediatric dental practice. She is an integral part of the program responsible for patient reception, student rotation supervision, sterilization and infection control and assistant to the director, faculty and students.

Adjunct Faculty

Lois I. Aaronson, RDH, BS
Marshall J. Alter, DMD
Mark Birnbaum, DMD
Pat Bocage, RDH, BS
Jennifer Brook, RDH
Mitchell G. Cohen, DMD, MAGD
Kym Davis, RDH
John Grant, DMD
Lindsey Holmes, RDH
Stephanie Houghkirk, RDH, BSDH
Kimberly Jakubicki, RDH
Denise McSorley, RDH, MS
Eileen Morrissey, RDH, MS
Jean Rath, RDH, BS
Barbara Ann Rich, DDS
Rita Salva, MA, RDH, CDA
Fina K. Saunders, RDH, MHSc
Harmit Sekhon, DMD
Amy Shah, RDH, MS
Jonathan Simon, RDH
Karen Vidovich, RDH
Tom Viola, RPh​
Accreditation

American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation is the accrediting body for our program and they can be contacted by mail at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60611 or by phone 1-800-621-8099, ext. 2718.

At its July 31, 2014 meeting the Commission on Dental Accreditation adopted a resolution to continue the accreditation status of "approval without reporting requirements" for the dental hygiene program offered by the Rowan College at Burlington County.  

CODA - Commission on Dental Accreditation Logo

Program Director

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

Dental Hygiene Clinic

Schedule an appointment at our Dental Hygiene Clinic for $5 a visit. Support our students in an educational setting while receiving real preventive service like assessments, cleanings, fluoride treatments, x-rays and sealants.