Virginia Western Community College began delivery of the Associate of Applied Science Degree Dental Hygiene Program to Danville Community College via distance learning in 1997, graduating the first class in 1999. The program expanded to include Laurel Ridge Community College in 2000, graduating the first class in 2002. Students are admitted to the distance sites biennially. The program is designed to prepare qualified students as primary preventive oral health professionals licensed to practice dental hygiene. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to take national, regional, and state board examinations leading to licensure as a registered dental hygienist (RDH).

How does the distance program operate?

The Joint Venture programs are a distance satellite of VWCC’s accredited dental hygiene program. Students enroll in the same classes and have clinical experiences just like students on the Roanoke campus. The dental hygiene classroom environment consists of various modalities. While most courses originate from the main campus at VWCC, some courses may originate from one of the distance campuses or be in an on-line format. The dental hygiene lecture is delivered “live” to the other classroom site by compressed video (VTEL); students can see and talk to the classroom instructor and to students at the Roanoke site. Preclinical, clinic, and laboratory courses will take place at the clinical facility developed by the Joint Venture site. DCC has a new facility in the Foundation Hall on the Danville campus. Laurel Ridge students attend and have a clinical site on the Middletown campus. Students may complete any remaining general support courses in the curriculum (English, Microbiology, Psychology, etc.) at DCC or Laurel Ridge while completing the program. (BIO 141 and 142 or equivalents must be completed as prerequisites.)

How do Laurel Ridge and DCC students communicate with VWCC faculty who teach distance courses?

Students can talk with the instructor during class sessions using the compressed video. In addition, weekly conference time will be provided for students at the joint venture site as “office hours” for faculty-student communication. Students will have individual email accounts. Other communication can be done by phone or fax. A local program coordinator is employed at the DCC and Laurel Ridge sites to serve as a clinical faculty member and academic advisor for students. This individual is a dental hygienist with an education background.

How can I learn more about the student experience at the joint venture site?

For specific questions about the distance classroom and clinical experiences of the students at Joint Venture sites, you may be able to speak with the following Site Coordinators during the Fall or Spring semester: 

Laurel Ridge campus: Lori Ellington 540-868-7187 (
DCC campus: Tina Gauldin 434-797-8548 (

To apply for admission, send all application materials directly to: Pamela Woody, VWCC, 3091 Colonial Ave., Roanoke, VA 24015. She is one of the academic processors at VWCC who will review your application material for completeness and provide guidance on the admission requirements. You may reach out to Ms. Rhonda Perdue ( or to for course suggestions and other information.  Early application is encouraged for advising purposes. The earlier you submit your completed academic materials, the earlier we can inform you of any missing prerequisites and work with you to complete any outstanding courses, GPA deficiencies, documents, etc.  Please keep in mind, if you apply within four weeks of the application deadline, we will not be able to reach out to applicants to inform them of any missing documents on their behalf.  We encourage early application for a review (at least by September) prior to the application deadline of December 1.  This allows time for the Health Professions Advising and Applications Office to communicate with applicants regarding their admission submissions.  If you apply within the month prior to the deadline, due to the large volume of admission submissions, the Health Professions Advising and Applications Office will be unable to communicate with you regarding your application package and any missing items prior to the deadline of December 1.


Est. Tuition*: $
Credits: 72 Hours
Time: 2 Years

*Estimated cost reflects in-state rate and is subject to change


The cost of attendance is an estimate of the costs a student may have while at Virginia Western.

Click here for the cost of attendance for financial aid.

 Fralin Center HP339
New Students: Chapman Hall
Fax: 540-857-6640

Mailing address:
School of Health Professions
3091 Colonial Ave., SW
Roanoke, VA 24015


Marlana Thomas
Administrative Officer, Dental Hygiene

B.S. Dental Hygiene – Old Dominion University, 2010
M.S. Education – Old Dominion University, 2011


Martha Sullivan, Dean