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Dental Hygiene

By virtue of an agreement between Union County College and the School of Health-Related Professions (SHRP) of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), an A.A.S. degree in Dental Hygiene is conferred jointly by these two institutions. The general education courses are taught by Union County College and the professional courses are taught by the Department of Allied Dental Education, SHRP-UMDNJ at the Scotch Plains and Newark campuses. All students will be attending both Scotch Plains and Newark campuses. Enrollment is limited and admission to this program is competitive. Completion of this program entitles the student to sit for the National and Northeast Regional Board Examination for Dental Hygiene.
The program is accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation.
A dental hygienist, under the supervision of a dentist, removes deposits from the teeth, applies agents which make teeth more resistant to decay, instructs groups and individuals in the proper care of teeth and surrounding tissues, charts disease and decay conditions for diagnosis and treatment by the dentist, and performs patient services delegated by the dentist.
The dental hygienist must possess manual dexterity, and good vision, health and oral hygiene habits.
Admission is limited. For admission information, contact the Union County College Admissions or Recruitment Office. Application deadline – April 1 dental classes begin January of each year.

Inextricably related to SHRP’s overall mission, the mission of the SHRP-UMDNJ’s Department of Allied Dental Education is to promote professional standards of excellence and leadership among its students and health professionals while meeting the health care needs of New Jersey residents through patient care, education, research, and service.
The Department’s unique and innovative curriculum reflects the direction of allied dental practice and often presages the evolution of the profession. The Department seeks to develop new and innovative approaches to education while keeping pace with current treatment modalities and research strategies. The students develop a humanistic approach to health care delivery as well as critical thinking, problem-solving, independent decision making, and research skills which characterize the professional.
The Department strives to instill in its students and its members of the allied dental professions, a dedication to lifelong learning, and provides opportunities for continued growth within the health professions. 
The specific objectives of this program are that the graduate must be able to:
  • exhibit competency as clinicians through demonstrated performance on the Northeast Regional Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the National Board Examination and feedback from Employer Surveys;
  • assume responsibility for health promotion and disease prevention for individuals and communities through participation in multiple dental health education projects;
  • perform multiple, advanced level dental auxiliary functions as defined in the New Jersey State Dental Practice Act under the auspices of Dental Specialties II;
  • obtain the RDH license;
  • demonstrate professional development through membership in the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association and participation in related activities;
  • display professionalism in the delivery of comprehensive dental health care through achievement of satisfactory grades in this section of the evaluation form for Clinical Services I, II, and III;
  • prepare individuals for employment as dental hygienists;
  • determine student satisfaction with educational programming;
  • assess patient satisfaction with treatment service provided by students through data collection from the patient satisfaction survey. 

Search for courses in the online course catalog.


Pre-Admission Requirements*

BIO 105 - Anatomy and Physiology I
BIO 106 - Anatomy and Physiology II
BIO 108 - Microbiology
CHE 105 - Chemistry-Health Sciences
ENG 101 - English Composition I
PSY 101 - General Psychology I


First Year

First Semester

ADEC 1110 - Dental Head and Neck Anatomy
ADEC 1209 - Intro to Dental Professions
DENH 1109 - Intro to Clinical Dental Hygiene
ADEC 1250 - Dental Materials
ADEC 1240 - Medical Emergencies

Second Semester

ADEC 1205 - Dental Health Education
ADEC 1219 - Dental Radiology
DENH 1231 - Clinical Dental Hygiene
DENH 1249 - Clinical Services I
DENH 1280 - Oral Embryology and Histology

Second Year

First Semester

DENH 1220 - Nutrition
DENH 2300 - Oral Pathology
DENH 2310 - Dental Health Ed/Community Dent. Health
DENH 2320 - Pharmacology and Oral Medicine
DENH 2321 - Periodontology I
DENH 2332 - Clinical Dental Hygiene II
DENH 2349 - Clinical Services II
ADEC 1269 - Dental Specialties I

Second Semester

ADEC 2460 - Practice Management
DENH 2459 - Dental Specialties II
DENH 2419 - Capstone Seminar
DENH 2422 - Periodontology II
DENH 2449 - Clinical Services III
DENH 2453 - Pain Control

General education requirements - These courses must be completed before entering the professional phase of the program in January
SOC 101 - Principles of Sociology
ENG 102 - English Composition II
ENG 129 - Public Speaking
MAT 119 - Algebra

Career Options

Graduates will sit for the National and Northeast Regional Examination for Dental Hygiene.

Students register for the professional phase courses at the UMDNJ Scotch Plains campus and pay the UMDNJ undergraduate tuition rate and fees.

The nature of the courses may require students to act as dental service providers and patients with fellow students.

Please note that the State Board of Dentistry of New Jersey conducts criminal background checks on all applicants.

Admission Info

A high school diploma or its recognized equivalency with a minimum of a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) and completion of six college level prerequisite courses with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 is required for admission into the program. All basic skills requirements must have been completed PRIOR to entry into the program. Those persons who lack certain basic skills will have to complete the indicated remedial courses and demonstrate competence in all basic skills before beginning the program in January. "Candidates must also take the written pre-qualifying Allied Health Examination developed by Keystone Professional Testing, LLC" at the affiliate college.

Applications to the Dental Hygiene Program must first be admitted to one of the following affiliate Schools designating the dental hygiene program as their chosen program of study: Application deadline is May 15, annually.

Candidates are rank-ordered according to GPA in the prerequisite courses below. Performance in additional college level course work and dental work experience are considered although not required.

The following college level courses must be competed with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 (C ) or above:
Prerequisite Courses
English Composition I
Anatomy & Physiology I
Anatomy & Physiology II
College Chemistry I
General Psychology I

* Thomas Edison State College applicants MUST apply through SHRP Office of Enrollment Services (973) 972-5454.

Test of English Foreign Language Examination (TOEFL): To insure that persons admitted to the Dental Hygiene Program are sufficiently fluent in the English language to facilitate learning at the college level, a foreign applicant must score a minimum of 550 (written) and 79/80 (Internet) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Program Information

Type of Program: Associate in Applied Science Degree

Continue to Online Application

Fast Fact

Union County College is #1 among New Jersey community colleges in non-credit Continuing Education enrollments, serving more than 26,000 learners aged 4 to 94 with certificate programs, and courses in professional development, health, fitness, leisure and personal enrichment.
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