Germanna Community College and Northern Virginia Community College jointly offer the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Dental Hygiene through a distance learning partnership. Students may complete general education courses at Germanna. Dental hygiene courses are offered through NVCC utilizing distance learning technology. This program is an expansion of the Northern Virginia Community College Dental Hygiene Program located in Springfield, Virginia. The program consists of a combination of traditional and distance learning modalities. The curriculum is designed to prepare selected students to serve in a dynamic and growing health profession as valuable members of the Dental Health team. The program is also designed to accommodate those students who wish to transfer to a four-year college or university to complete the baccalaureate degree in a health-related field.

Graduates of this Dental Hygiene Program will receive an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene from Northern Virginia Community College. After successful completion of the program and national and regional dental hygiene board examinations, the student will be eligible for licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist (R.D.H.).

The goals of the Northern Virginia /Germanna Community College Dental Hygiene Program are:

  1. To prepare students to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate dental hygiene care for all types of patients.
  2. To prepare students to successfully complete the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination.
  3. To prepare students to pass regional professional licensure examinations.
  4. To prepare students to obtain employment as dental hygienists.
  5. To prepare students to recognize the need for a commitment toward professional growth through life-long learning and participation in professional activities.


The curriculum is designed to prepare selected students to serve in a dynamic and growing health profession as valuable members of the Dental Health team. At the successful completion of the program, the student will be eligible to take the national board and regional board examinations in Dental Hygiene leading to licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist (R.D.H.).

Transfer Information

Although transfer is not the primary purpose of an A.A.S. program, NVCC has articulation agreements that facilitate the transfer of this and other career-oriented programs to selected senior institutions. Students interested in transfer should contact a counselor or their faculty advisor early in their program. Students must comply with all general admission requirements for Allied Health Programs. (See admission requirements below).

Special Accreditation Status

The curriculum has been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation and by the U.S. Department of Education.

Essential Dental Hygiene Functions

To successfully complete the clinical component of the Program, the student must be able to perform all of the essential functions of a dental hygienist:

  1. Communicate satisfactorily with clients, physicians, peers, family members, and the health care team.
  2. See and hear adequately to note slight changes in the client’s conditions.
  3. Hear adequately to perceive and interpret various equipment signals.
  4. Demonstrate adequate eye/hand coordination for dexterity in manipulation of hand instruments and other equipment used in clinical practice.
  5. Manage the care of a client in a sudden emergency, including one-man CPR when necessary.
  6. Possess the visual acuity to correctly read handwritten orders, medication records, chart contents, and provide safety for clients.

Despite the foregoing, a qualified person with a disability who can perform these essential functions with reasonable accommodation will be considered for admission along with other qualified applicants.

Occupational Objectives

Dental hygienists can work as clinicians, educators, researchers, administrators, managers, preventive program developers, consumer advocates, sales and marketing managers, editors, and consultants. Clinical dental hygienists may work in a variety of health care settings such as private dental offices, schools, public health clinics, hospitals, managed care organizations, correctional institutions, or nursing homes.

General Admission Requirements

Applicant selection into the Dental Hygiene Program is selective and competitive. Students are admitted annually at the Northern Virginia Community College Medical Education Campus. Student cohorts may be admitted annually at GCC but admission cycles are based on market demand. For more information on the application process, students should visit the department website at or call the department office at (540) 423-9823 or (540) 423-9833.

Unless otherwise specified, applicants must meet all of the following requirements to be admitted to Dental Hygiene Program:

  1. Be admitted to Northern Virginia Community College.
  2. Be 18 years of age or older, or have approval of the Assistant Dean.
  3. Have earned satisfactory scores on specified placement tests. Students must qualify for MTH 151, Math for the Liberal Arts I.
  4. Have completed one unit of high school-level algebra or equivalent. See “Admission Requirements” under EACH program for particular math course prerequisites.
  5. Have completed at least one unit of high school-level science or equivalent. See “Admission Requirements” under EACH program for particular math course prerequisites.
  6. Have achieved a “C” average or better in the above course requirements. Deficiencies may be corrected by taking NVCC courses before entering an Allied Health or Nursing program of study.
  7. Hold current CPR certification prior to entering clinical courses, unless formally waived by the assistant dean.
  8. Students with criminal convictions who do not self-disclose this information are subject to dismissal from the program and will not be allowed admission in any other Allied Health or Nursing program. A criminal background check and drug screen may be required for admission to programs as clinical affiliates include this requirement in affiliation agreements.
  9. Have achieved a 2.50 GPA or better in all required general education courses taken preceding admission to the dental hygiene program.
  10. Have completed a program information session and/or interview with the assistant dean as required.

Additional Admission Requirements

  1. Comply with all General Admission Requirements for NVCC Allied Health Programs.
  2. Be eligible to sit for the licensure exam, which will require the student to present documentation of legal status in the U.S.
  3. Pass NAS 161-162, Health Science I-II, 8 credits, with a grade of B or higher prior to being admitted to the program.
  4. Pass ENG 111 College Composition and SDV 101 Orientation to Health Care with a “C” or higher prior to being admitted to the program
  5. Be willing to repeat courses or to complete evaluative testing for credits earned more than ten years ago.
  6. Look for the competitive admission and deadlines for applications on the Dental Hygiene website at
  7. Complete the TEAS test.

Special Program Requirements

The Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Dentistry reserves the right to deny licensure to any candidate who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or the use of drugs or alcohol to the extent that such use renders him/her unsafe to practice dental hygiene. Any applicant who has been found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony must consult with the Dental Hygiene Assistant Dean prior to admission.

Suggested Scheduling:


Course Credits
ENG 111 College Composition I 3
NAS 161 Health Science I 4
NAS 162 Health Science II 4
SDV 101 Orientation to Health Care 1

First Year: First Semester

Course Credits
DNS 111 Oral Anatomy 2
DNH 115 Head and Neck Anatomy/Histology 3
DNH 130 Oral Radiology for the Dental Hygienist 3
DNH 141 Dental Hygiene I 5
Total Credits 14

First Year: Second Semester

Course Credits
DNH 120 Management Of Emergencies 2
DNH 142 Dental Hygiene II 5
DNH 145 General and Oral Pathology 2
DNH 146 Periodontics for the Dental Hygienist 2
DNH Pharmacology 2
Total Credits 13


Course Credits
DNH 143 Dental Hygiene III 4
DNH 214 Practical Materials for Dental Hygiene 2
Total Credits 6

Second Year: First Semester

Course Credits
DNH 150 Nutrition 2
DNH 226 Public Health Dental Hygiene I 2
DNH 235 Management of Pain and Anxiety in the Dental Office 2
Dental Office 2
DNH 244 Dental Hygiene IV 5
PED 116 Lifetime Fitness & Wellness 1
PSY 2011 Introduction to Psychology I 3
Total Credits 15

Second Year: Second Semester

Course Credits
CST 229 Intercultural Communication 3
DNH 227 Public Health Dental Hygiene II 2
DNH 245 Dental Hygiene V  5
Humanities/Fine Arts Elective2 3
Total Credits 14

Total credits for the A.A.S. Degree in Dental Hygiene = 61 (72 with 8 credit NAS, 3 credit ENG, and 1 credit SDV prerequisites).

1 PSY 200 is offered by Germanna Community College, which may be accepted as a transfer credit in place of PSY 201.

2 Humanities/Fine Arts Elective may be selected from the humanities/fine arts courses listed under General Education Electives listed in the NVCC College Catalog.

*Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor to ensure readiness for the program.