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Dental Hygiene Program

Dental Hygiene - Associate in Applied Science Degree

Program Requirements:

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Grand Strand


(843) 347-3186

a dental hygienist cleans a man's teeth

The Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene degree prepares students to provide direct patient care in the detection and prevention of oral diseases under the supervision of a dentist, as required by law. The dental hygienist's major role is as an educator and includes designing dental hygiene treatment and education for patients on an individual basis. Graduates of this program will be qualified to evaluate patient medical histories, take and record blood pressure, chart conditions of periodontal disease and decay for diagnosis by the dentist, conduct oral-cancer screening examinations, educate the patient on the latest techniques of oral home care, and perform a thorough cleaning of the patients' teeth. A dental hygienist is also qualified to apply sealants and fluoride for the prevention of decay, to expose and develop radiographs, and to provide nutritional counseling for dental patients.

Students in the Dental Hygiene program receive their education in a state-of-the-art Dental Clinic on the Grand Strand campus, under the direct supervision of licensed dentists and hygienists. Graduates are eligible to take national and state board examinations. After successful completion of these examinations, graduates will be licensed and recognized as a Registered Dental Hygienist.

Specific Admission Requirements for Program
Applicants will be accepted into the Dental Hygiene program by completing a weighted admission form. Students with the highest scores will receive admission to the program. A waiting list of applicants will not be maintained for future admission. An applicant who is not admitted to the program must resubmit the Dental Hygiene Application by the program application deadline date to be considered for admission to the next available class. The Program Admissions Application form is available on the Dental Hygiene Academic Page.

  • Criminal Background Check prior to acceptance and repeated annually. Felony or misdemeanor convictions could result in applicants and/or students being ineligible for licensure following completion of the program.
  • Urine Drug Screening prior to acceptance and repeated annually.
  • Submit a Health Sciences Division Student Health Record Form indicating the candidate has the ability to perform the physical tasks required in the program prior to second semester
  • Complete the Dental Hygiene Checklist for Admissions.
  • Complete Required TEAS Placement Test and minimum required scores achieved (see checklist for admissions document for score range)
  • Complete 15 hours of clinical observation observing a practicing dental hygienist in a private dental office. Forms must be completed by the supervising dentist/dental hygienist verifying observations. Forms must be sent to the Office of Admissions upon completion of observation hours.
  • Proof of CPR certification for Health Care Providers prior to and throughout curriculum
  • Review and acknowledge the Technical Standards of the Dental Sciences Department
  • Completion of the five prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" or higher and a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher: BIO 210 Anatomy and Physiology I, BIO 211 Anatomy & Physiology II, CHM 105 General, Organic and Biochemistry, MAT 101 Beginning Algebra, and ENG 101 English Composition I. Some of these courses may have time limits, so please refer to the transfer credit limit section in the catalog.
  • May not have more than two unsuccessful attempts in identified general education courses.
  • Payment of a non-refundable tuition deposit.
  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of admission to the program.

Course Sequence and Progression Requirements

A minimum grade of "C" or better is required for all DHG-prefixed courses for progression and graduation. Grades below "C" are considered course failures. Failure of one Dental Hygiene course will result in the student being dropped from the curriculum with eligibility for readmission the next time the course is offered. Readmission will be on a space available basis and the student will also be required to meet all admission requirements for readmission.The Dental Hygiene Program does not currently accept advanced placement students. All courses with a DHG prefix, as well as AHS 113, are reserved for Dental Hygiene majors. If possible, students are strongly encouraged to complete BIO 225 prior to enrollment in the dental hygiene program. Other corequisite courses such as SPC 205, PSY 201, SOC 101, and other Humanities may also be completed prior to enrollment in the dental hygiene program.

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 States 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.

For more information about HGTC's accreditations, click here.

Dental hygienists have excellent career opportunities with work schedules that can be flexible, whether you are employed full-time or part-time. Financial rewards are excellent and the work is challenging. Career opportunities are available in the following settings:

  • Private dental practices
  • Hospitals
  • Health-insurance companies
  • Dental-hygiene educational institution
  • Public health departments
  • Industrial clinics
  • Research facilities

For more information about careers, visit O*Net Online for an overview of South Carolina and National earnings statistics, and Career Services for more employment, career, and professional development resources.


“The Horry-Georgetown Technical College Dental Hygiene program believes that the dental hygienist is an extremely important member of the dental health team who makes a significant contribution to the total health care of all people.  Through the use of state-of-the-art technology in lecture and clinical instruction, it is the mission of this program to provide the student with a well-rounded general education as well as an evidenced-based professional education.  In so doing, the student will be prepared for his/her role as a successful dental hygienist, as well as an enlightened and contributing citizen to the community. 

It is the aim of the dental hygiene program faculty to create a supportive environment in which the student will develop self-confidence, expertise in clinical skills and the desire to learn to become a successful, dedicated healthcare provider.  Through the use of problem solving, planned experiences, goal setting, and self-assessment, the graduate is expected to become a purposeful, critically thinking, and self-directed member of the profession, able to make pivotal judgments in both personal and professional roles.” 

GOAL 1. The dental hygiene student will demonstrate knowledge in the fundamental components of the Dental Hygiene curriculum.  

1.1  Demonstrate working knowledge of the general education component of the curriculum.

    • Display effective interpersonal, written, and communication skills with individuals and groups from diverse cultural populations.
    • Demonstrate critical thinking skills.
    • Demonstrate technology literacy.
    • Demonstrate quantitative reasoning. 

1.2  Demonstrate a working knowledge of the biomedical sciences and their relationship to total body health. 

1.3  Demonstrate essential knowledge of the dental sciences focusing on oral health and disease to effectively apply the dental hygiene process of care and prevention methodologies to all patients. 

GOAL 2. The dental hygiene student will demonstrate competency in the clinical and interpersonal skills necessary for the provision of evidenced based comprehensive preventive, educational, and ethical dental hygiene services within a diverse patient population. 

2.1  The student will demonstrate core values in ethics, skills, and knowledge in relationship to the dental hygiene process of care (assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation). 

GOAL 3. The dental hygiene student will exhibit attributes of professional growth and development.  

3.1 Continuously perform self-assessment for life-long learning and professional growth. 

GOAL 4. The dental hygiene student/graduate will participate in community service activities promoting oral health initiatives. 

4.1 Advance dental hygiene and the dental profession through service activities and affiliations with professional organizations. 

Applicants to the Dental Hygiene program should be aware a current, unrestricted license or certification may be required to practice in the state in which you intend to reside/practice. Each state is unique in its licensure requirements. Students are encouraged to reach out to the program chair for more information and assistance with understanding professional licensure.

For more information about Health Science Admissions visit: www.hgtc.edu/healthscience

For more information, contact:
Michelle Meeker  - (843) 839-1091

Curriculum Sequence

First Semester - Fall Course Title Semester
Credit Hours
AHS 113 Head and Neck Anatomy 1
BIO 225 Microbiology 4
DHG 125 Tooth Morphology and Histology 2
DHG 151 Dental Hygiene Principles 5
  TOTAL 12
Second Semester - Spring    
DHG 121 Dental Radiography 3
DHG 141 Periodontology 2
DHG 165 Clinical Dental Hygiene I 5
DHG 243 Nutrition and Dental Health 2
SPC 205 Public Speaking 3
  TOTAL 15
Third Semester - Summer    
DHG 175 Clinical Dental Hygiene II 5
DHG 239 Dental Assisting for Dental Hygienists 2
PSY 201 General Psychology 3
  TOTAL 10
Fourth Semester - Fall    
DHG 140 General and Oral Pathology 2
DHG 143 Dental Pharmacology 2
DHG 230 Public Health Dentistry 3
DHG 241 Integrated Dental Hygiene I 1
DHG 255 Clinical Dental Hygiene III 5
  TOTAL 13
Fifth Semester - Spring    
DHG 242 Integrated Dental Hygiene II 1
DHG 265 Clinical Dental Hygiene IV 5
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology 3
Humanities**   3
  TOTAL 12

Total Credit Hours


*Students interested in transferring to a senior institution to complete a bachelor's degree may elect to take the following courses: MAT 110 in lieu of MAT 101 and CHM 110 in lieu of CHM 105.  It is the responsibility of students who plan to transfer to verify the transferability of credits and other transfer issues with the receiving institution prior to enrolling in classes at HGTC.

**Humanities: ART 101, HIS 101, HIS 102, HIS 201, HIS 202, PHI 101, PHI 110, MUS 105. HIS 201 recommended for transfer students to satisfy Reach Act requirements. The Reach Act was passed in 2021 by the General Assembly.