Howard College - Big Spring, Lamesa, San Angelo, SWCID

Dental Hygiene

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Dental Hygienist

New Application Process Now Live

The deadline for submitting Dental Hygiene applications and all supporting documents was February 1, 2018.
Please check back for more information regarding the next session. 

Please Note:  Procedures and Forms Have Changed! 
Please Review Everything Before Applying.

This program is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Special Note Regarding Science Course Completion:
- Courses must be completed by December prior to the year Dental Hygiene application is submitted
- Courses cannot be over five years old when Dental Hygiene application is submitted

How to Apply

How to Apply



The Howard College Dental Hygiene Application is available.  This application will include a physical exam, dental exam, a copy of required immunizations/vaccinations, and demonstrated knowledge of dental hygiene with documented observation hours.  Prior to admission into the Dental Hygiene Program applicants must first gain Admission to Howard College, which can be completed simultaneously as your Dental Hygiene Application: apply to Howard College

You can begin your observation hours prior to applying to the program.  The form can be found clicking on the "Observation Form" link above.

Who We Are

Who We Are

A Dental Hygienist is a preventive oral health professional licensed in dental hygiene that provides educational, clinical, and therapeutic services supporting total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.

Dental Hygiene students become eligible for licensure upon graduation from an ADA accredited program and successful completion of a written national exam and clinical regional exam.

This program in Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Post Secondary Accreditation and by the United States Department of Education.  Accreditation Standards and the Commission’s policy on third party comments can be viewed at the link below.

    211 East Chicago Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-2678
    (312) 440-2659
Howard College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability.

Faculty / Staff

Dental Hygiene Faculty / Staff

Richard Cauley, DDS Program Director / Supervising Dentist  
Jeri Farmer Associate Professor  
Belinda Lendermon Instructor  
Krista Moran Clinic Coordinator, Instructor  
Chelsea Buske Clinic Coordinator, Instructor  
Heather Williams Instructor  
Marcia Newton Program Secretary (432) 264-5065

Admission Criteria

Admission Criteria

Admission to the Dental Hygiene Program is selective and the number of admitted students is based on facilities constraints.  Admission to the College does not guarantee admission to the Dental Hygiene Program. 


Criminal History
It is important to know that conviction of a felony or misdemeanor that directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the dental hygienist may disqualify a person from receiving a license to practice in Texas (Occupations Code, Title 2, Ch. 53).

Prior to completing the application process for this program, it is recommended that persons with a criminal history complete the Criminal History Evaluation offered by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.

This is separate from the criminal background check required for admission to the Dental Hygiene Program at Howard College.

Due to the intensity of the coursework and time requirements for clinicals and enrichments, it is difficult to maintain employment and sufficiently prepare for and successfully complete course requirements.

The decision to maintain employment is at the student’s discretion, however absence from classes or projects resulting from employment will be considered an unexcused absence.

When possible, the program will make every effort to schedule events far enough in advance to allow time for employment schedule changes.

You must be at least 18 years of age to obtain a license as a Registered Dental Hygienist in Texas.  No age requirement exists for application to the program.

Vision / Mission

Vision, Philosophy, Mission, and Goals

Vision:  It is the vision of the Howard College Dental Hygiene Program to become a model program, which will meet the future needs of an ever-expanding service area.  Our model program will provide comprehensive dental hygiene education utilizing innovative, flexible technology, delivery systems, and partnerships.

Philosophy:  The faculty and staff of the Howard College Dental Hygiene Program, in harmony with the vision of Howard College, believe in the worth and dignity of the individual students, patients and fellow staff members, and that an education in dental hygiene will provide an opportunity for growth in service to both the individual students and to others.  We believe in providing students access to the information and support they will need to begin and sustain a career.

Mission:  The mission of the Howard College Dental Hygiene Program is to be a dynamic center of learning that serves the educational and economic community by developing competent dental hygiene practitioners.  Our Program will provide innovative and traditional instruction to develop ongoing learning skills that demonstrate the best and most ethical patient care, research and service.

Goals:  To advance the mission the Dental Hygiene Program will:

  1. Provide a comprehensive dental hygiene program that is sensitive to meeting the needs and requirements of the dental care community of West Texas and the Howard College service area;
  2. Provide program facilities for clinic, laboratories and classrooms that are conducive to learning, and a learning climate that emphasizes social and ethical development as well as technical competence;
  3. Provide clinical and didactic curricula incorporating current scientific innovations in dental health care and delivery;
  4. Recruit and retain faculty motivated to deliver and evaluate curricula in relation to student success; provide access to continuous professional development;
  5. Stimulate students to critically analyze scientific information and develop ongoing skills and interest in learning.
  6. Educate students about the various roles of the dental hygienist including private practice, institutional practice, education, research and administration;
  7. Monitor and evaluate goals and outcomes for the continuous improvement of our Dental Hygiene Program.
  8. Incorporate critical thinking processes with evidence-based provision of care.


Dental Hygiene Competencies

A dental hygiene graduate should be competent in:

Patient Care
  • Providing for prevention, maintenance and treatment of teeth and periodontal structures in a dental hygiene practice.
  • Comprehensively treating a patient through assessment, treatment planning, treatment implementation, evaluation of results, and follow-up care.
  • Effectively providing dental hygiene care to all degrees of periodontal pathology.
  • Problem solving complete patient management situations in a dental hygiene practice environment.
Professional Growth
  • Evaluating scientific information and literature to promote lifelong learning.
  • Interacting ethically with patients, fellow practitioners, and other health care professionals.
  • Advancing the profession of dental hygiene through activity and affiliation in service and professional organizations.
Educational and Prevention
  • Educating patients in self-care and prevention.
  • Communicating effectively with diverse population groups.
  • Evaluating the need for and effectiveness  of community oral health programs.
Disease Control
  • Providing appropriate care for medical emergencies encountered in hygiene practice.
  • Assessing and managing patients with medical conditions that relate to dental hygiene care.
  • Infection and hazard control in a dental hygiene environment.


Howard College Infectious Disease Policy:

As healthcare workers, health professions students are frequently exposed to patients that have been diagnosed with communicable diseases including but not limited to tuberculosis, HIV, and hepatitis.  Additionally, patients may carry communicable diseases but not be diagnosed at the time that care takes place.  All health profession students are expected to follow standard precautions for all patients.  Further, they may not refuse care of any patient due to the nature of disease.  The only exception to this is for pregnant health care workers who are prohibited by hospital policy from working around a specific disease or treatment process.  (Ex.  Pregnant health care workers must not work with the drug Ribavirin.)  Refusal to accept an assignment based on disease status could result in the student earning an “F” for the clinical course and being ineligible for re-enrollment in the program.

What is a Dental Hygienist?

A Dental Hygienist is a preventive oral health professional licensed in dental hygiene that provides educational, clinical, and therapeutic services supporting total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.

  Interested in Becoming a Patient?
Patients are assigned to students according to pre-set criteria.  For appointment information, please call
(432) 264-5065 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The education of the dental hygienist emphasizes the basic sciences which include microbiology, chemistry, pathology, anatomy, and physiology.  Other components of the curriculum develop the clinical skills of the dental hygienist which ultimately prepares the hygienist to provide preventive dental health services to the public.  A Dental Hygienist is eligible for licensure after graduation from an educational program accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and upon successful completion of both a written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and a clinical examination.  The licensed dental hygienist practice in accordance with the requirements of individual state dental practice acts.  The purpose of licensure is to protect the public.  In many states, a dental hygienist must take continuing education courses to renew his/her license.

A Dental Hygienist may work in such practice settings as:  Private dental offices and dental clinics, Federal, state and local health departments or associated institutions, hospitals and nursing homes, school districts or department of education, educational programs for dental, dental hygiene and dental assisting students.  Private business/industry.  Correctional facilities.  Private and public centers for pediatric, geriatric and other individuals/groups with special needs.  Health Maintenance Organizations.

A Dental Hygienist is that member of the dental team who is responsible for providing treatment that helps to prevent oral disease such as dental caries (cavities) and periodontal disease (gum disease) and for educating the patient to maintain optimal oral health.  This professional is especially knowledgeable about the preventive aspects of dental disease.

Although legal dental hygiene functions vary from state to state, some of the functions routinely performed by a dental hygienist include, but are not limited to:  monitoring of patient’s health history, including blood pressure, thorough examination of the teeth and oral structures, including a soft tissue exam; removal of calculus, stain, and plaque (hard and soft deposits) from above and below the gum line; application; application of caries-preventive agents such as fluorides and fissure-sealants; plaque control instruction and development of individualized oral hygiene programs for home care; dietary analysis and counseling; exposure, processing and interpretations of dental x-rays; placement of temporary fillings and periodontal dressings, removal of sutures, and polishing and re-contouring amalgam fillings; educating the individual patient, the general public and special population groups (e.g., minority groups, geriatric, mentally; physically handicapped persons) about the importance of good oral hygiene habits; oral cancer and blood pressure screenings; designing and implementing community dental health programs.  In some states, with additional education a hygienist may provide other services such as administering local anesthetics and nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia, placing and carving of filling materials, and also additional periodontal procedures. 

Note:  Due to the heavy academic and clinical time requirements of the Dental Hygiene courses, it is recommended that support courses be completed before entry into this program.  Scheduling problems may arise and could delay a student’s graduation.  Students using financial aid may choose to delay one or two of the support courses to use during a semester with less than 12 Dental Hygiene course hours.

Language Translation

Howard College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, religion, veteran's status or any other protected class in its programs, activities, admission, or employment practices.  The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:  Director of Human Resources, 1001 Birdwell Lane, Big Spring, TX 79720, 432-264-5100.  For further information on the policy of non-discrimination, visit this link for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area.