Dental Hygiene

Program Locations: Hastings Campus
Program Level: Associate
Department: Health Sciences

We’re home to Nebraska’s only Dental Hygiene associate of applied science program and proud of it. In our Dental Hygiene program, you’ll learn through classroom, laboratory and clinical assignments that allow you to have practical application. You’ll gain experience in our 15-chair dental hygiene clinic by providing services to the public. These services include scaling, polishing, exposing and processing X-rays, applying topical fluoride and sealants and providing dental health education and nutrition counseling. All clinical practice is supervised by licensed dentists and registered dental hygienists. Our graduates are eligible to take national and regional examinations which are required to become a Registered Dental Hygienist. 

Program Options

Associate of Applied Science

program overviewcourse descriptionscourse sequence

The Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Dental Hygiene Days

Meet with dental hygiene faculty, admissions, financial aid and housing. 

5-7 p.m. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Monday, December 14, 2020

Monday, February 8, 2021

Monday, March 29, 2021

  • What will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What careers can I have?
What will it cost?

At 2020-21 tuition and fee rates, completing prerequisite courses and requirements for a total of 81 credits, the Dental Hygiene degree costs:

Nebraska residents - $8,667

Non-residents - $12,393

These costs are for tuition and fees only for the program of study as listed in the CCC online catalog. It does not include the cost of foundations courses, retaking courses or taking courses in addition to those required for the degree. It does not include the cost of books, supplies, tools, computers or other items that may be required.

2020-21 Tuition and Fees (cost per credit) Tuition Fees Total
Nebraska Resident $92 $15 $107
Non Resident $138 $15 $153

View College Costs

How long will it take?

Finish in 3 years by completing 6 semesters and 1 summer session

The Dental Hygiene associate of applied science degree requires a maximum of 81 credits of course work, including prerequisite courses that must be completed prior to admission to the program. The program can be completed in three years, including six semesters and one summer session.

The length of time to complete a program is based on a student taking only the courses required for the program as listed in our online catalog. It does not include the cost of foundations courses that may be required based on assessment scores, retaking courses or taking courses that are not required by your program of study.

Your adviser will develop a plan of study to meet your personal needs.

What careers can I have?

Career Coach find your careerCheck out Career Coach to learn about job openings, pay and careers.

Admissions Requirements

Dental Hygiene Program Specific Criteria for Admission

  1. Applicant must have on file a completed Central Community College application and supplemental application.
  2. The State of Nebraska Regulations Governing the Practice of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene requires that the candidate for dental hygiene should possess good moral character, sound mental health, dependable work history, general accountability, and trustworthiness. Applicants who have criminal records, substance abuse problems or mental health problems that interfere with the safe practice of dental hygiene may be ineligible for licensure. Applicants for licensure in Nebraska are required to be U.S. Citizens. Criminal background checks will be completed on each student. Criminal convictions or documented history of abuse may prevent students from participating in clinical experiences.

  3. A student accepted into the Dental Hygiene program must be a high school graduate or have passed a standard equivalency test. A high school transcript or copy of the equivalent certificate must be supplied. Contact the Student Services office if you need information about the standard equivalency test.

  4. A minimum of the following college-level prerequisite courses are required:
      • Anatomy and Physiology (8 hours)
      • Microbiology (4 credit hours)
      • Expository Composition (3 credit hours)
      • Introduction to Psychology (3 credit hours)
      • Introduction to Sociology (3 credit hours)
    • These courses must be all be completed in order to apply to the program.
  5. A cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 in the prerequisite courses is required, with no prerequisite courses having a grade below “C” (2.0).  There is a seven (7) year minimum on sciencecourses.
  6. Completion of high school or college algebra, chemistry, and biology, or the equivalent is required.
  7. Applicants may submit either ACT, ACCUPLACER, or NWEA MAP scores. A minimum composite score of 19 on the ACT with sub-scores of Math-19, Reading-18, Science-18 and English-18 is required to meet program criteria. A minimum ACCUPLACER sub-scores of W-84, R-74, M-57 (Elementary Algebra placement) is required to meet program criteria. Next Gen R-W (263) and M (246-260) is required to meet program criteria. NWEA MAP R-L (223) and M (240-248) is required to meet program criteria. The ACT may be waived if a minimum of 12 science college credits (transferable courses) with a grade of 3.0 or better in course is completed.

  8. Applicants should attend a Dental Day Admissions session. Please contact the Admissions Office for this session.

  9. Each applicant to the Dental Hygiene Program must provide written proof of forty (40 hours) observation time in a dental office. Those applicants having dental office work experience need only to obtain written verification of employment.

  10. Hepatitis B vaccine, evidence of being tuberculin-free, and a current CPR card are required for admittance into the program. An applicant is also encouraged to be immunized against infectious diseases.

  11. Bloodborne Pathogens Policy
    Central Community College is committed to addressing issues related to bloodborne pathogens, such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), in a spirit of cooperation, compassion, flexibility, and sensitivity to individual needs as well as to community welfare. The purpose of this policy is to minimize the risk of transmission of a bloodborne pathogen from an infected student to a patient. In accordance with CCC policy, health education programs are responsible for ensuring that its students do not have any physical impairments resulting from infection by bloodborne pathogens that would interfere with the performance of their clinical responsibilities or create a health risk for patients.

Applicants are required to send the following items in one complete packet: (An application will not be considered complete until all items listed in the packet are received by the dental hygiene program.)

  • Completed College Application
  • Completed Supplemental Application
  • High School Transcript
  • ACT Score/Compass Score
  • College Transcript 
  • 40 Hours of Observation or Work Experience Hours
  • Immunization Records
  • Current CPR Card

Send completed packet to:

Dental Hygiene Program Director
Central Community College
P.O. Box 1024
Hastings, NE 68902-1024

Admissions for each current year will be open from January 15 to March 1. Candidates who meet the criteria will admitted per admission application date.

Criteria for Dental Observation

One of the admissions requirements for the Central Community College Dental Hygiene Program is a minimum of forty (40) hours of observation in a dental office. The goal of this requirement in a dental office is to realistically acquaint you with the profession of dental hygiene. It is felt this is a valuable and necessary avenue of career exploration. This requirement is meant to assist you in affirming your commitment to your education and the profession. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to complete your observation in an office where a dental hygienist is employed.

During your observation the following criteria should be met. Use this criteria as a checklist as you complete your dental office observation requirement.

Criteria Checklist for Office Observation

  1. Observe the dental hygienist/dentist performing the following procedures and discuss each with him/her:
    • Recording and evaluating a patient medical/dental history
    • Examination of the oral cavity
    • Scaling and polishing teeth (oral prophylaxis)
    • Application of topical fluoride to teeth
    • Exposing, developing, and mounting x-rays (radiographs)
    • Patient education
  2. Observe office personnel perform sterilization and disinfection procedures and discuss reasons for performing these procedures.
  3. Discuss the need for radiation (x-ray) safety with office personnel. Through questioning, determine precautions taken during x-ray exposure.
  4. Acquaint yourself with the instruments, equipment, and materials utilized by a dental hygienist.
  5. Through observation of and discussion with all office personnel determine duties and responsibilities of the
    • dental hygienist
    • dentist
    • dental assistant
    • receptionist/office manager
    • dental laboratory technician
  6. Discuss procedures and reasons for
    • recall system
    • appointment control (scheduling appointments)
    • inventory
  7. Observe procedures for seating and dismissal of patients.
  8. Observe attire worn by office personnel.
  9. Observe interaction among office personnel and question them regarding their philosophies on teamwork.
  10. Observe interaction between office personnel and patients. Discuss with office staff their philosophies regarding patient interaction.

As a result of your observation and questioning of and discussion with office personnel, you will be able to complete the following:

  1. List the roles and responsibilities of a dental hygienist, dentist, dental assistant, and other office personnel.
  2. Explain the need for sterilization and disinfection in the dental office.
  3. Explain the need for radiation safety.
  4. Define the duties a dental hygienist may perform.
  5. Develop an awareness of and appreciation for the interactions among office personnel.
  6. Develop an awareness of and appreciation for the interactions between office personnel and patents.
  7. Begin to develop a philosophy regarding “professionalism”.
  8. Discuss reasons why recall systems, appointment control, and inventory are important to office operations. 
Estimated Additional Program Cost

First Year

Category Cost
Books $650
SADHA Dues $65
Malpractice Insurance  $20
Instrument Kit and clinic coat 
(Instrument Kit and clinic coat must be purchased from the college)
Scrubs  $280
Magnification Loupes with Light  $2,500
Miscellaneous Expense

(gloves, masks, travel to rotations, etc.)

First Year Total $11,265 

Second Year

Category Cost
Books $350 
SADHA Dues $65 
Malpractice Insurance $20 
Boards  $1,500 
Miscellaneous Expenses 
(gloves, masks, travel to rotations, etc.)
Second Year Total $2,185 
Optional:  National Board Review

(Plus hotel and travel and food expenses)

Mission, Vision and Goals


The dental hygiene program enables graduates to become academically eligible for national and regional board exams that are required to become a Registered Dental Hygienist (R.D.H.). An R.D.H. license is required in Nebraska to practice in a dental office or clinic. The program offers continuing education for practicing dental professionals and is active in providing community services.


The Dental Hygiene program will provide students with a quality educational program using state-of-art technology and equipment. Continuous quality improvement principles, with on-going support from the dental community will be utilized to assure the program exceeds the standards set forth by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

We value:

  • Student success
  • On-going relationships with graduates as lifelong learners and supporters of the program.
  • Providing articulation agreements with senior institutions for graduates to pursue higher degrees.
  • Providing continuing education to dental professionals for licensure renewal.
  • Partnering with high schools that provide a career pathway for health careers.
  • Collaboration with other dental hygiene programs, CCC health programs, and employers.
  • Maintaining professional relationships with clinical sites.
  • Providing professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
  • Providing opportunities for leadership development and professional contacts for students through SADHA.


  • Use state-of-the art equipment, software, and curriculum in an attractive, safe environment that is well maintained and reflects a professional work environment.
  • Actively recruit qualified applicants to the program.
  • Provide articulation agreements with senior institutions to care for individuals who are otherwise unable to receive dental care.
  • Through the student hygiene clinic provide access to care for individuals who are otherwise unable to receive dental care.
  • Provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
  • Monitor possible expanded functions for dental hygienists.
  • Improve communications between students and faculty members.
Student Learning Outcomes


  1. Apply the ethical issues of dental hygiene practice.
  2. Acquire and synthesize information in a critical, scientific, and effective manner.
  3. Participate in health promotion and disease prevention activities for diverse populations.
  4. Systemically collect, analyze, and accurately record base-line data on the general or oral health status and provide evidence based on treatment.

Program Accreditation

The Dental Hygiene Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation and by the United States Department of Education. Accreditation approval for CCC’s Dental Hygiene Program has been continuous from 1978 until the present. The most recent accreditation site visit was September 2015.

Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations


A copy of verification of the Hepatitis B vaccine is required for admittance to the dental hygiene program at Central Community College.

Professional Attire & Appearance

Dental hygiene students are required to dress in the program-designated clinic uniform at all times when working in the treatment rooms, laboratory, darkroom, and sterilization center areas of the dental hygiene educational facility and clinic. Other items regarding appearance and attire are detailed in the clinic syllabus.

Protective Eyewear

Students are required to wear protective safety glasses at all times when working in the laboratory and clinic areas of the dental hygiene facility.


All students in the Health Sciences programs who provide patient care are required to carry liability insurance purchased through the college. The cost is $12 per year and will be assessed with the first semester of each school year.


Dental Hygiene is presently designed as a traditional rather than a self-paced format. The sequential curriculum requires that skills and knowledge to begin each semester are contingent upon satisfactory completion of the previous semester. Since the curriculum does not provide the opportunity to reschedule the learning experience, it is necessary to structure attendance and set minimum criteria for success.

Because of the dental hygiene program’s strict attendance policy, you must plan to adhere to this policy if you have sick children or must commute from a town outside of Hastings when the weather is unfavorable.

Therefore, minimum criteria for attendance has been established as follows:

  • 85 percent attendance in lecture and laboratory
  • 90 percent attendance in clinic.

You are required to call and notify your advisor/instructor of your absence. Excessive/unexcused absences may result in probation.

Causes for Dismissal


All dental hygiene students will be held to the Standards of Behavior set forth in the CCC student handbook.


All dental hygiene students will be held to the Standards of Progress found in the CCC College catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. When can I apply to the program?
    Applications will be accepted when all pre-requisite courses are completed with a 3.0 GPA and acceptable testing scores or waiver have been attained as well as the 40 hours of observation, current CPR card, and immunization records completion.  All of these items should be submitted together. Therefore, there is not deadline for the dental hygiene application.
  2. When should I complete my 40 hours of observation?
    You should complete the 40 hours of observation in a dental office or facility as soon as possible.  This helps you decide if this is what you want to do. It is recommended to observe in several different dental offices or facilities.
  3. How long is the waiting list?
    The waiting list is approximately two years.
  4. How many students are accepted?
    Fifteen students are accepted to start the course of study in August of each year.
  5. What should I do while I am on the waiting list?
    Some students choose to work to save money. Other students enroll in the Dental Assisting program. Some students choose to complete general education courses needed for a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene to be completed at another institution.
  6. Why should I look at continuing my education for a Bahelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene?
    Dental hygienists work in many capacities beside dental offices: public health dentistry, education, sales, corporate dentistry, hospital dentistry, and research. LB 18 legislation has expanded the practice act to include placing restorations, writing prescriptions, administering nitrous oxide, and adjusting dentures. A Bachelor of Science degree will allow more opportunities for a dental hygienist.

Program Directory

Program Director

Dr. Wanda Cloet, DHSC, RDH
-877-222-0780 Ext. 2470

Full-Time Instructors

Cindy Gaskill, RDH, MAE
1-877-222-0780 Ext. 2477

Patricia Kirkegaard, RDH, BS
1-877-222-0780 Ext. 2544

Program Location

The dental hygiene classroom and clinic are located in the Gausman Building on the Hastings Campus of Central Community College. General studies classes are offered on the Hastings, Grand Island, and Columbus campuses of CCC. Courses are also available in learning centers and online.

Dental Hygiene Photos

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