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Dental Hygiene - A.A.S.

** We are no longer accepting students into this program as of August 1, 2017.**

Dental Hygiene is a growing profession that offers a number of opportunities to men and women of all ages and cultural backgrounds. The interrelationship between oral and general health coupled with a growing aging population creates a continued demand for qualified hygienists who are capable of providing individualized, comprehensive dental health care and oral health counseling for patients of all age groups.

SUNY Canton's program is an ADA accredited program that provides students with both the knowledge base and the clinical skills to treat a diverse population of patients. SUNY Canton has partnered with Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) to offer this jointly registered program in Rome, New York.

Admission Application and Transcripts
Due February 1st

Clinical Development

  • ADA Accredited
  • State of the Art Clinic
  • Well Qualified Faculty
  • Low Faculty/Student Ratio
  • 100% Success on National Licensing Exam
  • 97% Success on NERB Exam
  • 100% Job Placement upon Graduation

Dental Hygiene Admissions Requirements
Alternate Path to an Associate Degree

The clinical and lab courses are taught at the Veteran's Administration Outpatient Medical Facility located at 125 Brookley Road, Rome, New York. Depending upon the semester, students spend 10-15 hours a week in the clinical setting learning, practicing and mastering the functions written in the NYS Dental Practice Act. The students progress from practice on typodonts and fellow students to providing oral health services to patients from within the community. A dentist and several registered dental hygienists who hold advanced degrees closely supervise the students as they interact with the patients in the clinic.

Reviewing X-Rays


  • Accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. SUNY Canton’s program completed its most recent site visit in September 2007 and was granted the accreditation status of “full approval without reporting requirements." The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted by calling (312) 440-2547 or by sending a written correspondence to CODA 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. You may also visit their website at http://www.ada.org
  • The program is also registered with the NYS Education Department, Office of Professions.

Students in this Major:

  • Perform all phases of dental hygiene care, including assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, and documentation based on accepted scientific theories and research.
  • Are prepared to provide the services outlined in the NYS Dental Hygiene Practice Act under the general and/or direct supervision of a dentist.
  • Develop skills to communicate effectively, professionally and respectfully with their peers, the faculty and staff, other health care professionals, and their patients.
  • Maintain patient confidentiality and provide therapeutic interventions with
    cultural sensitivity and without discrimination.
  • Develop critical thinking skills and are prepared to pass the National Dental Hygiene Exam and both portions of the CDCA Exam (previously Northeast Regional Exam) with 75% proficiency.
  • Are expected to conform with the ADHA’s Professional Code of Ethics while attending all classes, labs/clinics and when completing projects within the community.
Placement Rates

Employment statistics are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-2024 Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Career Opportunities:

  • Private dental offices
  • Hospital dental clinics
  • Military Installations
  • Nursing homes, residential assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation centers
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • County and state health departments
  • School-based oral health programs

Potential Salary:

  • The average annual salary for a full-time hygienist nationwide is $72,000; with an average annual salary of $50,000 - $56,000 in the Syracuse and Utica areas.

Admission Requirements:

  • Applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • Refer to the table of high school course prerequisites for admission.
  • Admission is selective based on academic performance. Applicants must have a minimum grade of 75 on the NYS Regents Examination in chemistry, geometry/Math A plus one year; or a C grade in equivalent college level courses. As well as a minimum C grade in Human Anatomy & Physiology I.* In addition, all candidates are expected to partake in an interview as part of the application process. The selection committee will review and rank qualified applicants beginning in early February.
  • Students entering college for the first time who have successfully completed 2 units of math and received a >75 on the Biology and Chemistry regents are encouraged to apply to the Dental Hygiene Select program. This 1 year program is designed to prepare students coming straight from high school for the AAS program. Students earning a 3.0 GPA or higher in the Select program are automatically reserved a seat in the AAS program the following year.

*Note: Transfer credit may be awarded for courses that were previously taken at an accredited institution, passed with a grade of “C” or better, and are similar in content and credit hours to those in the SUNY Canton curriculum, such as Anatomy and Physiology I and II, and Microbiology. Anatomy and Physiology I, Anatomy and Physiology II, and Microbiology completed more than seven years prior to acceptance will need to be repeated or challenged.

* Fulfills writing intensive requirement.

  • Students have the option of taking ANTH 102 Intro to Cultural Anthropology either the 3rd of 4th semester.
  • A grade of "C" (75) or better is required for all DHYG and BIOL courses to continue in the program.
  • Once matriculated into the dental hygiene program students must complete the program within 4 years.
  • A DHYG and/or BIOL course may only be repeated one time before losing matriculation in the program. A withdraw is considered one attempt. If the student fails a second time, he/she will lose matriculation in the program and will be required to apply as a new applicant. The applicant is expected to begin as a first semester freshman and will be evaluated using selection criteria.
  • Students dismissed from the program must re-apply and will be evaluated using the selection criteria and will be considered on a space available basis.
  • Transcripts for students wishing to transfer from another ADA accredited dental hygiene program will be evaluated on an individual basis. Students are required to provide course descriptions and a list of course requirements to aid in this evaluation. If it is determined that the course is equivalent to that offered at SUNY Canton, credit will be awarded.
  • Students must have CPR certification (Health Provider Status) prior to entering DHYG 141: Pre-Clinic; and all students must complete a NYS certified child abuse course as part of DHYG 280 Ethics & Jurisprudence.
  • Although the program has a patient coordinator that assists in the scheduling of patients, the Dental Hygiene student is ultimately responsible for finding new patients and treating a diverse group of patients. Students are also responsible for seeking transportation to and from all off-campus clinical rotations.

Applicants for NYS licensure must be a U.S. citizen or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residency in the U.S. The applicant must also be of good moral character. Anyone convicted of a crime or who has committed an act which raised question as to his/ her moral character will be subjected to review by the State. SUNY Canton strongly encourages anyone with a prior conviction to contact the Office of Professional Discipline. Completion of coursework does not guarantee NYS License. For additional information, you can visit the NYS Education Department, Office of Professions.

Residency Requirements: Students must complete Clinical Dental Hygiene II (DHYG 250/251) and Clinical Dental Hygiene III (DHYG 270)


Dental Hygiene
Program Director
Pamela Quinn