Goodwin College is proud to announce the graduation of its first Dental Hygiene cohort since the program’s inception in 2014. In keeping with the spirit of the College’s career-focused mission “to educate a diverse student population in a dynamic environment that aligns education, commerce, and community,” these graduates are entering the healthcare workforce armed not only with the latest knowledge in dental care, but with the personal goal of creating more meaningful and productive lives for themselves and their families as well.
The cohort model used in Goodwin’s Dental Hygiene school creates a strong sense of camaraderie. These small groups of students to work together, learn together, grow together, and encourage each other along the path to becoming dental professionals. The cohort model also helps the Dental Hygiene program maintain a low student-to-faculty ratio, currently 5 to 1, which supports best practices in learning.
While the most familiar places of employment for dental hygienists are in private practices, there are other numerous career opportunities for these professionals. Those interested in clinical work can consider community health centers, hospitals, school-based health centers, mobile dentistry, government health and human service organizations, and the military. Careers in education include clinical instruction, didactic instruction, or dental hygiene programs. Leadership roles in advocacy can be found working in nursing homes or state agencies specializing in mental health, addiction, or developmental disability services. Opportunities even extend into the corporate world as dental sales representatives and corporate educators, or the areas of research and development with pharmaceutical companies and universities.
At the culmination of their training and the successful completion of the required 80-credit program, students are eligible to take the exams necessary to apply for their Connecticut Dental Hygienist Licensure. These include the written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) and the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA), clinical exam.
The 15 Goodwin students of the inaugural cohort completed their Dental Hygiene classes in 2016. As of this writing, 14 have taken and passed the National Board exams with one student yet to take the written test. Graduates have found work in general practice and pediatrics in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Job opportunities for dental hygienists are projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024. Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will spur the demand for preventive dental services (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program). As the current population ages and people retain more of their original teeth did previous generations, the demand for dental care is expected to drive employment positively. Trends in cosmetic dental services are expected to continue as new technologies allow for less invasive, faster procedures.
Goodwin designed its Dental Hygienist program in line with the concepts that have proven successful for its other programs: career focus (a Career Services team assists students through the employment search process and job placement); student support (Academic Support Center, Math Lab, ESL, library resources); and flexibility (trimester scheduling, the ability to balance work and family commitments while attending school). The College offers classes in a trimester schedule format, allowing students to take two to three classes at a time. Providing this reasonable course load enables the student to focus on core program requirements.
Goodwin’s Dental Hygiene college offers onsite clinical facility with ample hours of patient contact time including evenings and Saturdays. The clinic, located at 403 Main Street in East Hartford, is open during the fall and spring semesters, up to 70 hours per week. For more information on Goodwin College’s Dental Hygiene program, click here.