Dental Hygiene Degree | Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, Pennsylvania


Excel in the Growing Field of Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene student and clinic patient

Ready to enter the dental field as a dental hygienist? Westmoreland offers an associate degree that can prepare you to excel in this growing field. The Dental Hygiene programs is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. The commission is a special accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.

What Will I Learn?

Dental hygienists examine patients for signs of periodontal diseases, administer local anesthesia, clean teeth and provide other preventive services. They also provide patient education to improve and maintain good oral health. The Westmoreland program includes clinical experience in the college campus facility. View Dental Hygiene in the College Catalog.

What Will I Earn?

If you plan to stay in the region, there are many occupations related to this program degree and certificates. In the 10-county region* surrounding Westmoreland County Community College, the earnings for occupations in this field range from $23.59 - $39.66 per hour, with an average hourly wage of $30.66. 

It is important to remember that wages vary based on level of education, experience, job location and other factors. 

Source: Data provided by Lightcast™ ( 2023.1

* 10-county region includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland.

Career Opportunities

While most dental professionals practice in private dental offices, others provide services in dental specialty practices, hospital and industrial clinics, correctional institutions, government health agencies, insurance companies and military services. With additional education, dental professionals also work in school systems, dental and dental hygiene education programs, dental sales and research.

Basic Application Process -  Health Professions

  • Complete and submit an Application for Admission to
    the college
  • Download the Dental Hygiene Application Checklist for details on additional requirements
  • Complete and submit a Health Professions Programs Application 
  • Pay for, complete, and submit the National League of Nursing Preadmission Exam (NLN-PAX) to Westmoreland County Community College. The exam assesses your ability to meet the demands of the Dental Hygiene Program and assesses your skills in math, English, reading, language, and science. You will be evaluated based on the highest of up to two exam attempts submitted to the college per year. More information about the Entrance Exam can be found here.
  • Submit official transcript from all secondary schools attended, graduate equivalency degree (GED) programs and any other formal educational program beyond high school.
  • Application Deadline: January 12 prior to fall start
  • Acceptance Notification: Mid-March


As part of the program accreditation process, please find the Third Party Comment Form for Accreditation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Once accepted into Westmoreland’s Dental Hygiene Program, students can complete the program in five semesters, which is two academic years.

No, once accepted to the Dental Hygiene Program, students must complete the program in the recommended sequence.

A student must have all pre-admission courses (algebra, biology and chemistry) and any required developmental courses.  This must be completed by the application deadline date of January 12th, in order to be eligible for the NLN Pre-Entrance Exam.  

The three required program prerequisite courses must be completed by the program start date.  A student's acceptance will be provisional based upon successful completion of the course.

All courses must be completed with at least a “C” grade and the GPA must be 2.5 or above.

No, the dental hygiene courses, pre-clinical and clinical experiences are only offered at the Youngwood campus. However, students are able to take any of the general education requirements at any of our education centers.
Yes. The dental hygiene courses are offered in a sequence, therefore making the program the full two years. However, completing general education courses that the program requires will lighten a student’s course load.
Students with dental hygiene courses from other institutions will need to submit a transfer of credit form through the admissions office, including the course description and course syllabus for all completed dental hygiene courses. The Director of Dental Hygiene then evaluates the coursework to see if any of the courses are transferable.
Pennsylvania radiology certification is not transferable to the dental hygiene program. The only possibility for radiology to transfer into the dental hygiene program is if students have taken a radiology course (minimum of 3 credits) from another CODA accredited dental hygiene program at another institution, the course may be considered for transfer. This would be done through the Director of Dental Hygiene.
You may try as many times as you wish to get into our program. However, you may only test once a year.
No. Once a student has been accepted to the program these requirements will be explained to the accepted students at the orientation meeting held by the Director of the Dental Hygiene Program. Students are provided with the details of the orientation meeting along with their acceptance letter.
A previous student would get into our program just as a new student would. They must apply, meet all pre-admission requirements and score high enough on the NLN test for acceptance.
Yes. Westmoreland’s Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene program is fully accredited and transferable to most four-year institutions.

Dental hygiene classes are scheduled on Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Clinical courses are scheduled to include two evenings of clinic each semester.

The evening clinic sessions in the fall and spring semesters are scheduled from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The evening clinic sessions in the summer semester are scheduled from 4 p.m. until 8:10 p.m.

Individual class schedules will vary from semester to semester. 

Yes, students are responsible to secure the types and classifications of patients that they need to meet the clinic requirements for progression in the dental hygiene program.

The dental hygiene clinic does have a pool of public patients that are distributed on a rotating basis to students in the program.

Due to intense curricular demands, students are advised NOT to work while enrolled in the dental hygiene program. However, if the student has enough support at home, some students have been successful at working 10 – 20 hours per week while enrolled in the dental hygiene program.

Work schedules must be flexible to accommodate the changing demands of the program from semester to semester.

Students that must work more than 20 hours per week have not been successful at completing the dental hygiene program.

The goals of the Dental Hygiene Program are: 
Goal 1. Prepare students to have the knowledge and skills to practice dental hygiene competently, ethically and legally in the state of Pennsylvania. 
Goal 2. Prepare students to successfully pass the Dental Hygiene National Board Examination and the Northeast Regional Board Examination for professional licensure. 
Goal 3. Satisfy students with the quality of their dental hygiene education. 
Goal 4. Satisfy patients with the quality of student dental hygiene care. 
Goal 5. Maintain an active relationship with the dental community through dentists employing WCCC graduates, serving as consultants to the program and the clinic patient referrals to the dental offices for dental care. 
Goal 6. Encourage professional commitments to dental hygiene through community projects and research activities.
Goal 7. Provide to the dental community a core of qualified employees.
Dental hygienists work in a host of settings to deliver clinical care and work under varying levels of supervision. Each state enacts its own laws determining the services dental hygienists can perform, the settings in which they can practice, and the supervision under which they practice.
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Working in a private dental office continues to be the primary place of employment for dental hygienists. For today’s dental hygiene professional, there are many other career pathways to explore as well. Never before has there been more opportunity for professional growth. 
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Dental Hygiene National Board Exam Pass Rates
1st Time - 92.88%
2nd Time - 76.47%
3rd Time - 6.66%
CDCA/WREB/CITA Exam Pass Rates
1st Time - 81.84%
2nd Time - 97.85%
Overall Pass - 98.88%
Overall Fail - .37%
Never Retested - .75%
CDCA (OSCE) Objective Structured Clinical Exam Pass Rates
1st Time - 91.39%
2nd Time - 92.86%
Overall Pass - 98.69%
Never Tested - 1.31%