Dental Hygiene

Do you have strong interpersonal skills? Are you interested in becoming a professional who works to establish a rapport with patients? Educating patients so they may achieve optimum oral health is an imperative role for a dental hygienist. Our hands-on program can prepare you to become a dental hygienist in two years (including one summer). Biology 101 and Chemistry 100 with a grade of C or better are required to enter this competitive program. Apply between Oct. 1 and Feb. 15.

The dental hygiene program prepares students to work as a dental hygienist under the supervision of a licensed dentist in dental offices and other health agencies. Dental hygienists remove soft and hard deposits from teeth, teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene and provide other preventative dental care, such as cleaning and polishing teeth, taking radiographs and applying fluoride treatment. Dental hygienists also serve as an oral health educator in the clinical and community setting. Dental hygienists should work well with others and must have good manual dexterity to use dental instruments within a patient’s mouth, with little room for error.


Working Conditions

Flexible scheduling is a distinctive feature of this job. Full-time, part-time, evening and weekend schedules are widely available. Hygienists are frequently hired to work only two or three days a week, so hygienists may hold jobs in more than one dental office. Dental hygienists work in offices that are clean and well lit, and they must follow important health safeguards, including wearing safety glasses, masks and gloves to protect themselves from blood-borne pathogens and infectious diseases.



Dental hygienists may work in various capacities, including clinical practice, education, sales and marketing, research, public health, administration or as an entrepreneur. Clinical settings require dental hygienists to follow strict infection control procedures to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases. Flexible hours are common. The job outlook is favorable. Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2020. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, median hourly salary of dental hygienists was $33.31 in May 2010. Earnings vary by geographic location, employment setting and years of experience.




The dental hygiene program has been approved by the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”. The commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at 312-440-4653, or at 211 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 ( Graduates from the dental hygiene program will be eligible to take the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination, the respective clinical dental hygiene board examination, and the examination for registration as a dental hygienist in the respective state.


Admission to the Program: Limited

Admission to limited enrollment programs is competitive and selection is based on candidates’ overall academic performance. All prospective students for the dental hygiene program must submit all admission materials and meet admission requirements before their applications will be considered for review. Applicants who are denied admission to a program and wish to apply for a subsequent academic year must repeat the application process in its entirety. As a result, no application files are carried over from prior years, which allows the evaluation process to begin anew Oct. 1 of each year. The most qualified applicants who are residents of the Carl Sandburg College district or who are residents of a community college district participating in a cooperative agreement with Carl Sandburg College will be given preference for admission to the programs.


Sandburg Dental Hygiene Board Scores

  • 2015 Written 96% Clinical 70%
  • 2016 Written 93% Clinical 74%
  • 2017 Written 73% Clinical 86%


Admission Requirements


Admission is competitive. Only the most qualified applicants are admitted. Applications are accepted October 1 through February 15 for review. Applicants will be notified in writing within two weeks of the admission meeting of admission status.  

Of the 30 seats available each year, spaces are reserved for Carl Sandburg College, Spoon River Community College, Black Hawk College, Southeastern Community College and Eastern Iowa Community College residents; additional at-large spaces are available to include out-of-district applicants. 



After the review of applications each student will be offered admission, placed on the alternate list, or denied admission. Alternates will be offered conditional admission as positions on the conditional admission list become available. All students, including those on alternate lists, are required to attend a mandatory meeting to receive program specific information and hear the discussions that take place.

Students who are admitted (including alternates) to Dental Hygiene program must pay a $100 acceptance fee when notified of initial program admission status to guarantee a place in the program. For the student fully admitted to the program, the $100 will be applied towards the first semester tuition. Students who accept their seat and drop for any reason will forfeit their money. Alternates who are not admitted will receive a refund.



  1. If you have never attended Carl Sandburg College, complete a general application for admission to the College
  2. Meet with the admission counselor working with prospective Dental Hygiene students.
  3. Submit official transcripts from high school and all appropriate post-secondary educational institutions.
  4. Complete the following courses with grades of “C” or better:  
    Biology - BIO 101 or its equivalency
    Chemistry - CHM 100 or its equivalency
  5. Complete the TEAS AH exam or turn in official ACT scores
  6. Complete an application for the Dental Hygiene program. Applications are available through the program advisor.


Students interested in enrolling in this program may complete as many general education courses as they wish before going through the application process. Although it is not necessary, it is recommended to complete as many of the general education courses prior to the start of the DHG coursework, due to the rigorous quality of the program. General education courses do not have to be taken at Sandburg, although course equivalency should be verified prior to enrolling in courses at other institutions. It is strongly recommended that BIO, CHM courses be completed no more than five (5) years prior to the starting date of the program. 


Special Note…State Requirement
If an applicant has been convicted of a felony, he/she should consult the laws concerning licensure in the state or states in which he/she wishes to practice. This program requires a CPR certification and Hepatitis B vaccination prior to entering dental hygiene classes. Details for this requirement are presented at the mandatory meeting.


NOTE: This program requires a CPR certification prior to entering dental hygiene classes. Details for this requirement are presented at the mandatory meeting.

Student Organizations

Student American Dental Hygiene Association (SADHA)

The Student American Dental Hygiene Association's purpose is to cultivate, promote and sustain the art and science of dental hygiene, to represent and safeguard the common interest of the members of the dental hygiene profession, and contribute toward the improvement of the oral health of the public. Students eligible are those students currently enrolled in the Carl Sandburg College Dental Hygiene program.

Advisor: Stacy Kosier 309.344.2246 or

Program Coordinator

Contact:Stacy Kosier, M.Ed., RDH


Phone: 309.344.2595


Contact:Carla Eagen, M.Ed., RDH


Phone: 309.344.2595