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Dental Hygiene

If you enjoy working with people, have a gift for science, and desire a well-paid, flexible profession, a career in dental hygiene may be for you. Let Allegany College of Maryland's Dental Hygiene program prepare you for what the U.S. Department of Labor ranks as one of the fastest growing occupations -- a career as a dental hygienist.


Dental Students working with a childDental hygienists do far more than clean teeth; they educate patients about preventing oral disease and promote healthy behaviors. As a hygienist, you'll have the opportunity to help people of all ages and backgrounds improve their dental care and overall health. 

Some of the functions you'll routinely perform include:

  • Removal of calculus and biofilm
  • Thorough examination of the teeth and oral structures, including a soft tissue exam
  • Exposure, processing, and interpretation of dental x-rays
  • Oral cancer and blood pressure screening
  • Patient education in oral health care procedures
  • Design and implementation of community health programs and work with special populations
  • Dietary analysis and counseling



Fall 2015 Dental Hygiene Application - Now Available!




Entry into our two-year Dental Hygiene Program is competitive (view eligibility and admission criteria). Our career program, which leads to an Associate's Degree of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene, is offered at our Cumberland campus. Our mission is to prepare you to become a licensed primary healthcare provider. 

As a Dental Hygiene program student, you'll provide dental care to patients from the community in our modern, computerized dental hygiene clinic located in our Allied Health building. In addition, you'll participate in a week-long rotation at the Martinsburg Veteran’s Administration and have the chance to gain clinical experience at neighboring health departments, and dental clinics. You'll also participate in local community dental education service learning projects. 

You'll even have the opportunity to educate your future colleagues by presenting table clinics as a continuing education course to local dental professionals. 

While enrolled in our program, you will become a member of the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association and may participate in Lobby Day activities held during the Maryland Legislative Session.

The ACM Dental Hygiene program is designated as a Health Manpower Shortage Program by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). Maryland residents from counties other than Allegany County who register in this eligible program will be charged the out-of-county tuition rate. However, these students may be eligible to receive reimbursement for a portion of the cost difference between the in-county and out-of-county tuition rates. Funding availability for this program is based on funding from the state of Maryland and is thus subject to change each semester. Some restrictions apply. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Our dental hygiene curriculum is accredited by the Commission on Dental Hygiene, American Dental Association, 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, (312) 440-2568. All graduates are eligible for national and regional board testing and licensure in all 50 states. The Commission on Dental Accreditation will review Third Party comments and/or complaints that relate to a program's compliance with the accreditation standards.

Course Info

As a Dental Hygiene program student, you'll expand your knowledge and gain career training through a variety of challenging courses.

Our dental hygiene curriculum is composed of 70 credit hours, including 27 general education course credit hours and 43 credit hours earned through the following courses:

  • Introduction to Dental Health
  • Oral Anatomy
  • Dental Hygiene Techniques
  • Dental Histology and Embryology
  • Dental Materials
  • Radiology
  • Clinical Dental Hygiene I, IA, II, III
  • Oral Pathology
  • Dental Office Management, Ethics, and Jurisprudence
  • Community Dental Health Education I and II
  • Periodontics
  • Private Practice Preparation
  • Pharmacology
  • Nutrition

A full listing of program courses, curriculum sequence and their descriptions can be found in the credit catalog.

Career Info

Dental Hygiene program graduates enjoy enriching and rewarding careers as:

  • Clinicians in general or specialty dental practices
  • Consultants
  • Educators
  • Forensic Specialists
  • Hygienists at hospitals
  • Hygienists at institutions (prisons, and nursing homes)
  • Hygienists at special clinics
  • Industrial health professionals
  • Public health professionals
  • Researchers
  • Sales Professionals
  • School health professionals

*Some careers may require a bachelor's degree, further education or additional training.

View Salary Information from the U.S. Dept. of Labor


In May, 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor reported dental hygiene salaries for the contiguous states.  The following data was included in that report:


Mean Hourly Wage ($)

Median Annual Wage ($)













West Virginia



*Salaries for Appalachian areas tend to be lower.

Most hygienists average 30-35 hours per week in jobs that may include Saturday or evening hours.  There is great flexibility in the profession regarding work hours.  Many hygienists choose to work only one or two days per week.

Faculty/Staff Info
Cathy Wakefield, Assistant Professor and Program Director

Allied Health 141

A.A., Allegany College of Maryland

B.S., West Virginia University

M.Ed., Frostburg State University

Tina Bascelli, Clinic/Faculty Secretary

Allied Health 143

Amy Clem, Part-Time Clinical Instructor

Allied Health 160

A.A. Allegany College of Maryland

Tamica Fertig, Assistant Professor

Allied Health 162

A.A. Allegany College of Maryland

R.B.A. West Virginia University

James Hilgeman, On-Site Clinic Dentist/Teacher

Allied Health 161

B.S., D.D.S., University of Illinois

M.A. Antioch College

Emily Maddux, Part-Time Clinical Instructor

Allied Health 160

A.A., Allegany College of Maryland

LaAnna Roberts, Professor

Allied Health 162

A.A., Allegany College of Maryland

B.S., University of Maryland

M.Ed., Frostburg State University

Pam Shaffer, Part-Time Clinical Instructor

Allied Health 150

A.A., Allegany College of Maryland

Jennifer Thompson, Assistant Professor

Allied Health 163

A.A. Allegany College of Maryland

B.S. D.H. Pennsylvania College of Technology

M.H.L. Park University

Brenda Warn, Part-Time Clinical Instructor

Allied Health 150

A.A., Allegany College of Maryland

Stacey Wilson, Part-Time Secretary

Allied Health 149