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School of Health Professions :: Programs of Study

Dental Hygiene :: FAQ

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>> What are the admission guidelines for the program?

Applicants must meet the general admission requirements for the college. Cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be ≥ 2.75 by the end of Fall 2020. If your GPA is not above a 2.75, you are encouraged to seek advising from Ms. Perdue ( or Miss Woody (advisor) about how this will impact your eligibility and how to improve your GPA as early in the process as possible.

The following high school prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or higher by the end of the Spring 2021 semester:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Algebra I (or MTE 1-5)

Appropriate developmental or college courses can be substituted for high school deficiencies.

The following college level prerequisites must be completed by the end of Spring 2021 with a "C" or higher in each course:

  • SDV 101 (Orientation to Health Professions – 2 cr.)
  • BIO 141 (Human Anatomy & Physiology I – 4 cr. with lab)

The following college level prerequisite must be completed by end of SUMMER 2021 with a “C” or higher:

  • BIO 142 (Human Anatomy & Physiology II – 4 cr. with lab)
  • Please note this is the ONLY prerequisite that is allowed to be completed in summer prior to fall admission. If admitted into the program, without completion of this course, the BIO 142 must be completed by end of summer (July/beginning of August) with a final grade of “C” or higher to maintain your accepted status into the fall DNH program.

BIO 141/142 must be taken within the 5 years prior to the fall semester you are applying for. BIO 231 and BIO 232 with labs are acceptable equivalents.

>> Is admission to the program very competitive?

Approximately eighteen (18) students will be admitted yearly to the Roanoke Dental Hygiene class. Approximately eighteen (18) to the Joint Venture at Lord Fairfax Community College (in even numbered years). Approximately 15-20 to the Joint Venture at Danville Community College (in odd numbered years). The criteria that will be evaluated include: (1) academic record and GPA, (2) TEAS reading comprehension results, and (3) written interview and essay component. The total number of qualified applicants considered for admission (including the Joint Venture) for 2020 was 134.

>> What is the TEAS? When do I take it?

TEAS is the Test of Essential Academic Skills for Allied Health. The TEAS measures basic essential skills in the academic content areas of reading, mathematics, science and English and language usage. We are most interested in the results of the reading comprehension component for Dental Hygiene admission purposes.

Roanoke and DCC TEAS testing is usually conducted from late February to mid-March. All qualified early applicants should receive additional details by late-February 2021 regarding TEAS testing dates. (LFCC applicants will be completing the TEAS VI at LFCC from February 15, 2022 to March 15, 2022. Only qualified applicants, who meet the minimum criteria, will be tested during this time period.)

Applicants can only test once. Those who have applied before and took the TEAS must test again (previous scores cannot be used).

>> What if I complete the TEAS for another program beginning January 2021? Can I use those TEAS scores?

If you complete the TEAS VI after January 1, 2021, you may use your TEAS scores for the fall 2021 admission cycle. You will need to contact ATI and ask for a score transcript to be sent to VA Western CC-AH. After five days of your request, you will then need to email Ms. Woody at to confirm receipt of the TEAS scores from ATI. You will be contacted later in March regarding the next step in the application process and how to begin the interview process. If you have not heard from Miss Woody by March 20th, please reach out to her regarding the interview process.

>> Who makes the admission decisions? When are the results given to the applicants?

A Dental Hygiene Admissions Committee, which meets near the end of the spring semester, makes the admission decisions. Decisions are mailed to the applicants as soon as possible, usually during the 2nd full week of May.

>> Does it help to take the program support courses before starting the program?

The dental hygiene program is difficult, so some students like to have some of the general support courses (Eng 111, Psy 230, Bio 150, and Phi 220) done prior to beginning the program. It should be understood that support courses are not treated as prerequisites and meeting the admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. The advisor, Pam Woody, is available to advise you after your official transcripts are reviewed or Rhonda Perdue, another advisor for HP can assist with course selections as well.

>> Do I have to complete the observation form if I am currently working as a Dental Assisting?

Yes the 16 hours of observation is still required for those currently working in a dental office. You may observe in the office you are currently practicing; however, the form has to be documents regarding the observed procedures and must be signed by a dentist and dental hygienist.

>> Why is the dental hygiene program considered difficult?

The curriculum has a heavy emphasis on general and dental hygiene sciences, as well as clinical sessions which demand technical and lecture application skills. All DNH and Natural Science courses must be passed with a grade of "C" or above to ensure continued enrollment. Continuance in the program is based upon academic criteria and adherence to attendance and other program policies covered at orientation. Satisfactory progress is necessary for eligibility to take licensure examinations.

>> Are there additional costs beyond tuition and books?

Yes. Upon enrollment into the program, Dental Hygiene students are required to purchase items specifically for their field of study such as an instrument kit, uniforms, and special supplies. These fees are non-refundable. The student should be prepared to pay approximately $2,500.00 for these particular expenses at dental hygiene orientation prior to the beginning of first year fall classes. A loupe and light will be required to assist with visualization. This item will cost approx. $1,400.00. The purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be approximately $800.00. Other medical related expenses (ie. physical, PPD, Hep B) if accepted are typical for most students in a health related program. In addition, there are other cost associated with Board Fees and Reviews as well (please see the estimated cost sheet).

>> How are patient/clients recruited for clinical experiences?

Students are responsible for recruiting patient/clients for clinical experiences. Approximately 60 patient/client experiences at specified levels of competency are required for program completion. Resources for client recruitment include previous clinic clients, students, college faculty/staff, Bradley Free Clinic (Roanoke), Roanoke Valley Health Department, and friends or family of students. Clinic services are free to the public. Note: Applicants should be aware that an evening clinical experience may be necessary on a limited basis, due to the number of students involved and clinical hours necessary to meet educational standards.

>> What is the policy regarding non-discrimination?

Applicants for admission to the dental hygiene program are considered for class positions based on their ability to meet program admission standards, without regard to race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, or other non-merit factors.

>> Is there a waiting list? What process do I follow if I want to apply for a future year?

There is not a waiting list. All applicants who meet the deadline who are minimally qualified and complete the application process will be considered for the program each year. Applicants that wish to begin preparing for possible future consideration can submit the Dental Hygiene application form with a note attached informing us of your future goal. You will still have to provide official transcripts with the application if you desire advising from the advisor so proper courses can be suggested. If you are planning to take classes to meet prerequisite requirements or completing support courses prior to entry, you will benefit from advising and receive updates on changes to the curriculum (if any). Later, you will need to submit recommendation letters and forms prior to February 15 of the year you are "eligible" and wish to be considered for.

Tuition: $
Credits: 72 Hours
Time: 2 Years


Location: Fralin Center HP 214A or HP 339
Phone: 540-857-6325, 857-6644 or 857-7307
Fax: 540-857-6640

Mailing address:
3091 Colonial Ave., SW
Roanoke, VA 24015

Program Head

Colleen K. McGowan
Interim Co-Director, Dental Hygiene
A.S. - Richard Bland College, 1980
A.S. - Virginia Western Community College, 1994
B.S. - Old Dominion University 2008
M.Ed. - Mary Baldwin University 2016

Paula W. Derbyshire
Interim Co-Director, Dental Hygiene
B.S. - Longwood University, 1980
B.S.D.H. - Virginia Commonwealth University, 1983
M.S.H.Ed. - Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1992

School of Health Professions

Martha Sullivan, Dean