Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long is Westmoreland’s dental hygiene program?

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

2. Does Westmoreland have a part-time dental hygiene program?

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

3. Are the Accuplacer placement assessment and the NLN test (required for admission) the same thing?

No. The Accuplacer test is Westmoreland’s placement assessment for math and English. This assessment will indicate if a student needs developmental work in these two areas. The required developmental courses need to be completed with a letter grade of “C” or above before the student can take the NLN examination.

4. If I am trying to get into the Dental Hygiene program, can I have my pre-admission requirements and developmental courses in progress during the semester that the test is given and still be eligible to take the NLN test?

No. A student must have all pre-admission courses (algebra, biology and chemistry) and any required developmental courses, as indicated by the results of Westmoreland’s Accuplacer assessment, as well as the three required program prerequisites completed by the application deadline date of January 5, in order to be eligible for the NLN Pre-Entrance Exam. (Should a student be working toward the program by taking general education courses that the program requires, courses must be completed with at least a “C” grade and the GPA must be 2.5 or above to test.)

5. Is the Dental Hygiene program offered at any of the other Westmoreland’s off-campus centers?

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.

6. If I have general education courses completed, is the Dental Hygiene program still two years?

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.

7. Does Westmoreland accept dental hygiene courses from other schools?

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.

8. If I have general education courses completed from another college and they are required for the dental hygiene program, can they be applied to Westmoreland’s program?

In most cases, if the student has a degree from another college or if the courses have been taken less than ten years ago with a grade of “C” or above, the college will transfer the courses in. The proper paperwork is necessary, and the Admissions Coordinator must evaluate the transcripts to complete the process.

9. If I already have a radiology course or certification, can I use that within the program?

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.

10. How often can I take the NLN test?

You may try as many times as you wish to get into our program, however, you may only test once a year.

11. Do I need to complete all of my physicals, clearances, etc. now?

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.

12. How can I get back into Westmoreland’s Dental Hygiene program, if I was in it previously?

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.

13. Once I get my Associates Degree from Westmoreland, can I transfer this to a four-year institution to obtain my bachelors degree?

Yes. Westmoreland’s Associate Degree for Dental Hygiene program is fully accredited and transferable to most four-year institutions.

14. How many students are accepted to the dental hygiene program?

24 students

15. What are the hours of the dental hygiene program including clinicals?

Dental hygiene classes are scheduled on Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 am and 5pm. 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 5pm until 8:30pm. The evening clinic sessions in the summer semester are scheduled from 4pm until 8:10pm.

Individual class schedules will vary from semester to semester. Students are made aware of the dental hygiene schedule for the ensuing semester prior to the Westmoreland registration days which are held every year in October and March.

16. Do I need to recruit my own patients?

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.

17. Can I still work and still complete the dental hygiene 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.

18. Are there an abundance of jobs in the dental hygiene field?

Dental hygiene is a high priority occupation with many career opportunities throughout the state and the country. However, full time jobs with benefits are scarce in the Westmoreland county region. Many hygienists seek part time employment at several dental offices, and have the ability to create their own personal work schedule in the process.