Frequently Asked Questions
What's the first step to apply?
First, you must be enrolled at ACC. Please see this page for information about how to get started.
How long is the Dental Hygiene Program?
The Dental Hygiene Program is 2 years in length which includes the summer session between the first and second year. In addition to the 2 years of dental hygiene specific course work, there are at least 2 semesters of required prerequisite course work.
If I finish the Dental Hygiene Program will I receive a degree?
Yes. Students that successfully complete the Dental Hygiene Program of study are awarded the Associate of Applied Science degree.
How many times a year does ACC admit a new dental hygiene class?
Our program, like most in Texas, admits one class per year in the Fall semester.
When do you accept applications for admission to the Dental Hygiene Program?
Applications are accepted from September 1st – February 1st. The application packet must be submitted by the close of business on February 1st (or the next business day if the 1st falls on a weekend), including transcripts from courses taken the previous Fall semester.
Where do I send my completed application?
Send your complete application packet addressed to:
Austin Community College
ATTN: Health Sciences Admissions
Program: Dental Hygiene
3401 Webberville Road
Austin, Texas 78702
Phone: (512) 223-5700
How many students will be admitted to the program each year?
Our enrollment is limited by the capacity of our clinic. Therefore we admit 18 students per class.
Do I have to have prior work experience in a dental office to be considered for admission?
No. However, it is helpful to do some research about the dental hygiene profession to see if the roles and responsibilities of the dental hygienist match your personal goals. Applicants to the Dental Hygiene Program are required to observe some selected dental/dental hygiene procedures as part of the admissions process for the purpose of introducing the dental team. This observation will help you determine if dental hygiene is the right profession for you. It is important to note that verified work experience in a direct patient care role such as a chair-side dental assistant may afford you some bonus points in the application process.
Is there an entrance examination required to get into the Dental Hygiene Program?
Yes. Students are required to complete the ATI TEAS Test for Allied Health. Detailed information about the testing requirement can be found here. You will also need to meet the admission requirements of the College and meet the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requirements to be considered for admission to the Program.
Do I have to take the ACT or SAT examinations to be considered for admission to the Dental Hygiene Program?
No. However, you will be required to complete specific sections of the ATI TEAS test as noted here. You do need to meet the admission requirements of the College and meet the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requirements to be considered for admission to the Program.
How are the students selected for admission to the Dental Hygiene Program?
We consider those applications that are submitted by the application deadline and identified as complete. The Department of Dental Hygiene Admissions Committee develops a ranking score for each application. The ranking score formula consists of:
- calculating a grade point average (GPA) for the required prerequisite courses. We then take that GPA and multiple it by 200;
- assigning 20 points for each degree plan non-DHYG course successfully completed by the application deadline (such as Statistics or Introduction to Sociology);
- assigning corresponding grade recognition points for the completed non-DHYG courses (3 points for an A; 2 points for a B; and 1 point for a C grade);
- assigning additional bonus points as applicable, such as 10 points for an applicant that applied in the past, was qualified however not offered admission. Graduates of an accrediting dental assisting/laboratory program and nationally certified dental assistants and individuals with direct patient care work experience receive bonus points as well.
The applications are then ranked in order of the respective ranking scores. The top 18 individuals are offered admission to the Program. Approximately the next 10 applicants are placed on an alternate list for consideration for admission should one of the 18 persons decline his/her offer of enrollment. Academic counseling is offered to those that are qualified but not competitive for admission to the program.
An Admissions Ranking Worksheet is available for download.
What kind of grades do I need to have to be considered for the Dental Hygiene Program?
You need to have an overall college grade point average (GPA) of at least a C average, 2.0 based on a 4.0 scale. You will also need to have successfully completed each of the prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better. Since our enrollment is limited, the admissions process will be selective. Additionally positions in the dental hygiene class are highly sought after. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that a prerequisite GPA of at least a 3.5 will be needed to compete for a position in the class.
Do I need letters of recommendation to be considered for acceptance to the Dental Hygiene Program?
Letters of recommendation are not required as a part of the admissions process and will not be considered when selecting the class.
I am a dental assistant. Is my experience considered in the admissions process?
Possibly. Dental assisting (and laboratory) experience is considered if you have graduated from an ADA accredited program and/or are DANB certified and/or submit verified direct patient care work experience.
I am a foreign trained dentist. What do I need to do to be accepted to the Dental Hygiene Program?
In order to be considered for our Dental Hygiene Program you will first need to be admitted to the College and your coursework evaluated for transfer to the College. For information about admission to Austin Community College, please visit the International Students page.
When will I know if I have been accepted to the Dental Hygiene Program?
The review of the applications and selection process for the Dental Hygiene Program takes about 4-6 weeks. Our goal is to inform you of your status in writing around the beginning of May. Admissions results will not be communicated over the phone.
If I am not accepted into the Program this year, will I be placed on a waiting list?
No. Each application cycle is a new selection process. You will need to submit a new application form and compete against those that apply for that admissions cycle.
May I challenge Dental Hygiene courses for credit?
Yes, no, and maybe. Once you have been accepted to the program you will receive information about the courses available for challenge. It is important to understand that to challenge out of a course, you will need to demonstrate the same level of competence as someone taking and passing the course.
What is the typical weekly schedule?
Plan on class or clinic commitments 4 to 5 days a week. The daily schedule will be 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Do you offer Dental Hygiene classes in the evening?
No. Currently we are a typical daytime program. The daytime schedule best meets the needs of the patients that we are serving in our dental hygiene clinic and leaves the evenings available for use by the ACC dental assisting program.
How hard is it to work and attend the Dental Hygiene Program at the same time?
The Dental Hygiene Program requires a significant commitment in time. Aside from classes and clinic sessions, a good bit of time is needed to study. Many students do end up working part-time while attending school, however if at all possible we advise you to try and not work. We have tried to package the program so that summer between the first and second year of the program will allow some time to work. Contact the College’s financial aid office for advice in this area.
I took my prerequisites many years ago. Do I need to take them over?
Yes, no, and maybe. Science is foundational to the study of dental hygiene and your success in the program. That is why courses like Anatomy and Physiology need to be current. Current is defined as taken within five years of admittance to the program. The English Composition and Psychology courses do not have time limits. If you have completed multiple biology related courses, e.g., you completed the prerequisites for dental school, or you are a foreign trained dentist, the time requirement may be waived based on a review of your academic history. You must request this consideration in writing to the Department Chair.
What courses do I need to take to be considered for admission to the Dental Hygiene Program?
See the Application Process page for this information.
If I don’t finish all the prerequisites can I still enroll for the Dental Hygiene Program?
No. The content of these courses create a foundation necessary to support your success in the first year of the program. If you do not complete the required prerequisites by the deadline, your application will be considered incomplete and thus will not be considered for admission to the Program.
What do you do if I repeated a prerequisite course?
Understanding that students need an opportunity to improve what may have been a “false start” in college, repeated course grades will be considered. If a course is repeated, the higher of the two qualifying grades will be considered in the admission ranking formula. For example, the two attempts for a course like Human Anatomy need to both be current, successfully completed at a grade of C or better within 5 years of admittance to the Program. Only the first two qualifying attempts of a course will be considered. So using Human Anatomy as an example again, if the prospective student took the course a 3rd time, only the higher of the first two attempts will be considered.
What types of financial aid are available to me?
The counselors here at ACC are more than happy to help you investigate funds available for your education. For information about financial aid available to Health Sciences students, follow this link.
How much will it cost to complete the Dental Hygiene Program?
The two year program will cost an in-district student about $17,000. That cost figure considers your tuition, lab and clinic related fees, uniforms, books, dental instruments, and fees to take the registration and licensing examinations.
What is the average salary for a dental hygienist and are there jobs available?
An excellent source of this type of information is the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook or Health Career Explorer.
May I transfer a course into the program?
Courses will more than likely transfer into the program as long as you successfully completed the course receiving a grade of C or better at a regionally accredited college or university. The Department of Dental Hygiene Admissions Committee will review your transcripts for transfer courses. In terms of graduation requirements, the Admissions and Records personnel perform the formal, official review. If you attended ACC prior to 1999, you need to request that the Admissions and Records office post your transcripts from your other institutions to the electronic system we are now using.
I am currently attending another dental hygiene program. May I transfer to the ACC program?
Yes, no, and maybe. Program transfers are managed on a case-to-case basis depending on space availability. To see the Request for Transfer Process to the Dental Hygiene Program, please click here.
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