Frequently Asked Questions


How long is the program?

Two academic years; five semesters which are 15 weeks long and one summer session between the junior and senior years.

Back to Top

How many students are in each class?

Each class usually consists of 30 students.

Back to Top

Can out of state students apply and be accepted?

Yes. Even though students who qualify as residents of Tennessee are given first consideration, some students from out of state are accepted into the program each year.

Back to Top

Do out of state students who reside in Olive Branch, Southhaven, or Hernando, MS; and cities and counties in eastern Arkansas have to pay out of state tuition?

Yes.

Back to Top

How does one establish residency in Tennessee?

One should contact the Officer of Enrollment Services at UT Health Science Center for that information. The telephone number is 901.448.5560.

Back to Top

When can I come for a tour of the campus?

Students often want to come and take a look at the facilities and meet students and members of the faculty. Such visits are welcomed and arranged by contacting the Dental Hygiene Program at 901.448.6230 or the Office of Enrollment services at 901.448.5560.

Back to Top

Can I work while going to dental hygiene school?

While it is possible to work some part-time, we recommend that students limit the number of hours worked per week to not more than 8 to 10 hours.

Back to Top

What hours will be in attendance at school while enrolled in the dental hygiene program?

We advise students that the schedule may be 8:00 to 5:00 on some days, and to therefore, not schedule other activities.

Back to Top

What is the deadline for admission applications?

February 15.

Back to Top

When do classes begin?

Students are admitted once a year for the fall semester, and begin classes in mid August.

Back to Top

Is it "hard" to get accepted into the program?

Student who complete the admission requirements and have a good GPA are competitive for place in the class. The number of applicants to the program is increasing, so one should strive for a GPA over 3.0.

Back to Top

When I first went to college I wasn't studying or doing well grade-wise. After I changed my major to pre-dental hygiene, I have done better. Will that help me to be admitted to the program?

Improved grades in pre-dental hygiene courses will raise the overall GPA and provide evidence of an individual's academic ability. Taking a full course load during a semester and receiving good grades will indicate the ability to meet the rigid academic requirements and schedule at UTHSC.

Back to Top

Should I send a college transcript for all college coursework?

Yes. It is a requirement for admission.

Back to Top

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Interested individuals may contact the Office of Student Financial Aid, located at 910 Madison Avenue #520, Memphis, Tennessee 38163 (telephone 901.448.5568) for information concerning available grants, loans and scholarships

Back to Top

Is experience as a dental assistant helpful?

Yes. Familiarity with the dental work setting and terminology is helpful.

Back to Top

Do I have to have every prerequisite course completed before I can apply for admission?

No. However, when you apply for admission, you must present a plan which describes how you will complete all requirements prior to admission in the fall semester of the year in which you apply. It is best to have completed most of the science courses prior to applying for admissions.

Back to Top

What kind of courses are recommended as electives?

Additional courses in English, Psychology, Sociology, Biology, Math, Spanish, Nutrition, Computer Literacy, or Health and First Aid are generally helpful.

Back to Top

If I am past the traditional college age, am I too old to enter dental hygiene?

Certainly not. There is a growing trend for people to change careers, or to choose to enter the dental hygiene field later in life. We have students who range in age from 20 to over 40 years of age.

Back to Top

How much does a dental hygienist earn?

A survey, done in the year 2011, indicated the median annual earnings of dental hygienists statewide and nationally to be approximately $63,400 to $69,300.

Back to Top

Where are most dental hygienist employed?

The vast majority of dental hygienists are employed in private dental offices, but many are employed in public health settings, dental hygiene education programs, public schools, hospitals, and by private industry.

Back to Top

Is it easy to find a job once graduated?

The employment picture is bright for dental hygienists and is predicted to hold true for the next 10 to 15 years. Students in the program generally have no trouble finding jobs when they graduate.

Back to Top

Is dental hygiene a field for women only?

The vast majority of dental hygienists are women. The field is becoming an option for men with an interest in a career in the dental field, who are not interested in attending dental school.

Back to Top

Are dental hygienists at risk for Infectious diseases?

Dental hygienists are at no greater risk than any other health care professional. Policies and procedures for immunization, testing, and post-exposure incidents have been developed to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Dental Association (ADA), American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), and extramural site recommendations or policies. Dental hygiene students, in the course of their clinical responsibilities, have exposure to blood, blood products, tissue, secretions, or body fluids of patients potentially containing hepatitis B (HBV) and are at risk for HBV as well as other infectious diseases.

Back to Top

Does the dental hygiene program admit students with advanced standing?

Under exceptional circumstances, highly qualified students who are attending an accredited U.S. or Canadian dental hygiene program may be considered for placement in the Dental Hygiene program at the University of Tennessee CAHS. All such decisions will be considered contingent upon the quality of the applicant and the number of vacancies that have occurred in the present classes. Students earning baccalaureate degrees in dental hygiene must complete 30 of the last 36 semester hours at the University of Tennessee.

Required documentation:

  1. Official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended (both pre-dental hygiene and dental hygiene).
  2. Official description of the courses completed in the curriculum of their current dental hygiene program.
  3. Completed University of Tennessee Dental Hygiene Application Form.
  4. Letter from the current Dental Hygiene Program Director (or designate) that verifies that the student is in good standing, the student’s GPA and Class Rank (on a yearly basis, if possible), and whether the student has ever been on academic or disciplinary probation.

Back to Top

Dunn building

Department of Dental Hygiene

College of Dentistry
5th Floor North
875 Union Ave.
Memphis, TN 38163
901-448-6617
901-448-2528