Dental Hygiene Requirements

Dental Hygiene Program Disclosure
The Dental Hygiene Committee of California will not issue a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) license to anyone without a United States-issued social security number. Students must have a United States-issued social security number in order to be able to work in the state of California. Although students will be able to complete the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam and the Dental Hygiene License exams in California without a social security number, they will not receive an RDH license when they pass the exam unless they become an American citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

Dental Hygiene Program Required Documentation
All required documentation listed below must be provided to the Dental Hygiene Department Chair in the term prior to beginning the core dental hygiene courses. There are NO exceptions to this requirement. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in dismissal from the program.

Students are an OSHA Category I Health Care Provider (potential for exposure to infectious diseases). As an essential component of the University infection-control program, the following immunization documentation is required. The required documentation must be completed and provided prior to beginning the core dental hygiene courses.

(1) Computer Skills Verification – Must pass the WCU Computer Skills Course (non-credit) OR pass the WCU computer skills challenge examination.

(2) Essential Functions of a Dental Hygienist – Must submit documentation confirming the ability to perform all of the essential skills needed to satisfactorily complete the requirements for this program (See Essential Functions of a Dental Hygienist).

(3) Background Check – Must submit to a background check. Clinical sessions are a mandatory component of the curriculum which requires clearance of a criminal background check. Also, the licensure examination in the state of California requires applicants to be fingerprinted and to report information related to illegal use of controlled substances and any convictions or pleas of nolo contendere even if charges are dismissed. In addition, the application requires specific information related convictions, misdemeanor or felony, associated with state and federal action. If there is any concern that may prevent licensure after graduation, direct inquires prior to applying to the program to the Dental Hygiene Committee of California, 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1050, Sacramento, CA 95815, 916-263-1978. (See Background Check Document).

(4) Drug Screen – Must submit to a drug screen. Clinical sessions are a mandatory component of the curriculum which requires a drug screening.

(5) Grade Requirements – Students in the core dental hygiene curriculum must earn a minimum grade of 76%/C+ in each course to proceed to the next term. Students who are not successful in achieving a minimum grade of 76%/C+ in each core dental hygiene course will be academically dismissed from the program.

(6) Bloodborne and Infectious Diseases – Enrolled students are exposed to bloodborne pathogens and infectious diseases. These include but are not limited to pathogenic microorganisms present in human blood and can cause diseases such a Hepatitis (HBV), Herpes, Tuberculosis, and HIV. Students are required to treat all patients assigned and as a result, the potential exists for transmission of bloodborne and other infectious diseases during patient care services. West Coast University is committed to protecting the rights of individuals who may have a bloodborne infectious disease. The purpose of the program Bloodborne Pathogen Policy (BPP) and Exposure Control Plan (ECP) is to minimize the risk of transmission of bloodborne pathogens, as well as, minimize the risk to other environmental hazards. The dental hygiene program complies with all local, state and federal infection control policies including the application of Standard Precautions as stipulated by current CDC (Centers for Disease Control) Guidelines and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Standards. Policies on bloodborne and infectious diseases are available for applicants by contacting the Dean of Dental Hygiene.

(7) Immunizations- Based on the CDC Recommended Immunizations for Health Care Personnel (HCP), all Health Care Personnel must submit documentation of immunization to Hepatitis B (series of three doses with anti-HBs serologic testing one to two months after dose #3), proof of immunity to Hepatitis B or a signed declination; Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR); Varicella (chickenpox); and Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (booster every 10 years). Highly recommended immunizations for the Health Care Personnel include Influenza (yearly), Hepatitis A and Pneumonia. For some individuals, a titer test will be indicated vs. vaccinations. Titer tests showing immunity to listed pathogens are acceptable. Titer tests showing a negative response require appropriate immunizations and follow-up titers must be completed and submitted. If one or more of the listed immunizations are contraindicated, documentation must be submitted clearly indentifying the reason(s). Clinical laboratory reports with facility stamp and medical doctor's signature are required.

Dental Hygiene Program Clinical Requirements
Prior to taking the core Dental Hygiene curriculum, Dental Hygiene students must:

  1. Meet the requirements as outlined in the "Essential Functions of a Dental Hygienist";
  2. Obtain a criminal background clearance*;
  3. Undergo drug screening and other requirements as applicable to West Coast University policy and/or state licensure requirements*;
  4. Meet all West Coast University clinical requirements including strict adherence to the current institutional Dental Hygiene Program Bloodborne Pathogens Policy and Exposure Control Plan;
  5. Obtain and maintain professional liability insurance*;
  6. Submit documentation of immunization and tuberculosis clearance*;
  7. Provide and maintain a current Basic Life Support (BLS) certification including health care provider CPR with AED from the American Heart Association*;
  8. Expect the hours and days to vary depending on the term schedule;
  9. Expect the term schedule to be final and non-negotiable, and if a student refuses a clinical assignment, he/she will be terminated from the program.

*Information regarding these requirements is provided during the application process and at the Dental Hygiene program orientation.

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