COVID-19

For information about the COVID-19 global outbreak and for Great Falls College MSU updates, please visit the CDC website, the Great Falls College COVID-19 page and the Great Falls College Healthy Spring 2021 page.

Dental Hygiene Program Header Image

 

What is a Dental Hygienist?
Employment Data

  Dental Hygienists
Median Wage (MT)* $75,730 yearly - $36.41 per hour

Median Wage (US)*

$76,220 yearly - $36.65 per hour
Annual Job Openings (MT)* 55
Annual Job Openings (US)* 17,900
Expected Growth (MT)* 10.9%
Expected Growth (US)* 10.8%
*Montana Career Information System
Career Opportunities

Career Paths

Define your role.

Working in a private dental office continues to be the primary place of employment for dental hygienists. For today’s dental hygiene professional, there are many other career pathways to explore as well. Never before has there been more opportunity for professional growth. How and where you work today is up to you.

Let your dental hygiene education and experience open doors to YOUR career path and consider the possibilities…

Clinician:

Dental hygienists in a clinical role assess, diagnose, plan, implement, evaluate and document treatment for prevention, intervention and control of oral diseases, while practicing in collaboration with other health professionals. Examples of clinical settings include:

  • Private dental practices
  • Community clinics
  • Hospitals
  • University dental clinics
  • Prison facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools

Corporate:

Corporate dental hygienists are employed by companies that support the oral health industry through the sale of products and services. Leaders throughout the dental industry often employ dental hygienists due to their clinical experience and understanding of dental practice. Examples of corporate positions include:

  • Sales representatives
  • Product researchers
  • Corporate educators
  • Corporate administrators

Public Health:

Community Health programs are typically funded by government or nonprofit organizations. These positions often offer an opportunity to provide care to those who otherwise would not have access to dental care. Examples of public health opportunities include a variety of roles and settings:

  • Clinicians, Administrators, Researchers
  • State Public Health Officer
  • Community Clinic Administrator
  • Indian Health Service
  • Head Start programs
  • Local health departments
  • National Health Service Corps
  • School sealant programs
  • Rural or inner city community clinics

Researcher:

Research conducted by dental hygienists can be either qualitative or quantitative. Quantitative research involves conducting surveys & analyzing the results, while qualitative research may involve testing a new procedure, product, or theory for accuracy or effectiveness. Examples of research settings include:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Corporations
  • Governmental agencies
  • Nonprofit organizations

Educator:

Dental Hygiene educators are in great demand. Colleges and universities throughout the U. S. require dental hygiene instructors who use educational theory and methodology to educate competent oral health care professionals. Corporations also employ educators who provide continuing education to licensed dental hygienists. Examples of education positions may be full time or part time and include:

  • Clinical instructors
  • Classroom instructors
  • Program directors
  • Corporate educators

Administrator:

Dental hygienists in administrative positions apply organizational skills, communicate objectives, identify and manage resources, and evaluate and modify programs of health, education and health care. Examples of administrative positions include:

  • Clinical Director, statewide school sealant program
  • Program Director, dental hygiene educational program
  • Dean of Health Sciences, educational institution
  • Executive Director, state association staff
  • Director, corporate sales

Entrepreneur:

By using imagination and creativity to initiate or finance new commercial enterprises, dental hygienists have become successful entrepreneurs in a variety of businesses. Entrepreneurial opportunities developed by dental hygienists include:

  • Product Development and Sales
  • Practice Management Company
  • Employment Service
  • CE provider or Meeting Planner
  • Consulting Business
  • Founder of Nonprofit
  • Independent Clinical Practice
  • Professional Speaker / Writer

Source - “Career Center.” ADHA, www.adha.org/professional-roles.

Why Great Falls College MSU

The Dental Hygienist is a licensed professional member of the healthcare team who integrates the roles of educator, consumer advocate, practitioner, manager, and researcher to support total health through the promotion of oral health and wellness. The focus of dental hygiene is on preventing oral disease.

Upon receipt of the Associate of Applied Science Degree, successful completion of the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination is required. The graduate will also need to obtain a license for the state he/she wishes to practice in by successfully completing a regional practical examination (WREB). The dental hygienist must practice in accordance with the requirements of the individual state's practice acts and abide by requirements to maintain licensure.

The Great Falls College MSU’s Dental Hygiene Program is a limited enrollment program, accepting 25 students each year. Interested students are urged to contact the Program Director or the Advising & Career Center Advisors for student advising specific to admission requirements and criteria for program acceptance.

Figure Out Your Finances
Explore Course Lists
Application Deadlines

Program Admission Process

Application packets are accepted on an ongoing basis, but must be postmarked on or before June 15 to be eligible for admission into the Dental Hygiene Program for the upcoming Fall semester. Only complete application packets will be processed. Hand delivered application will not be accepted nor will the GFC MSU verify receipt of application. DO NOT CALL US REGARDING RECEIPT OF YOUR APPLICATION. If you call, we do not have access to received applications and will not be able to look for you. If you are concerned about receipt and would like verification of delivery

The priority deadline for applications to the Dental Hygiene Program is June 15. Completed Program Application Packets may be hand delivered to Health Science Program Assistant at the College or mailed to the College.

Contact Information

Health Science Program Assistant
Room R227
406.771.4350

Mailing Address:

Great Falls College MSU
Dental Hygiene Program Admissions Committee
Attention: Dental Clinic Manager
2100 16th Avenue South
Great Falls MT, 59405

  • Please send all application items as a completed packet. Items sent separately and at random are easily lost or misfiled. We are not responsible for any late, lost or misfiled information. Please only send required documentation as other supplemental items will be discarded.
  • Priority Application Due Date: June 15
  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all requirements are met by the established deadline. Deadlines, guidelines, and policies apply equally to all students; thus, there can be no exceptions.
  • Great Falls College MSU’s Dental Hygiene Program does not maintain a waiting list. Applicants must reapply each year.

Application opens February 15th and application submissions must be postmarked by June 15th.

Dental Hygiene Program Application

Certification/Accreditation

The Dental Hygiene Program at Great Falls College MSU has undergone an accreditation process through the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). CODA granted the dental hygiene program the accreditation status of “approval without reporting.” The next site visit will be 2026.

LAST SITE VISIT DATE: October 2 and 3, 2018

Continuing Your Education

For dental hygienists looking to take their education to the next level we would encourage you to look at the ADHA website for the most current and up-to-date information on colleges offering degree-completion programs or master’s degrees in dental hygiene.

ADHA Professional Roles

Additional Information
  • Provide Dental Hygiene care at Nexus Methaamphetamine Treatment Facility in Lewistown.
  • Providing Dental Hygiene care at the Fort Harrison’s Veterans Administration in Helena
  • Work with Patients at Great Falls Clinic Cancer Center and Benefis/Sletten Cancer Facility
  • Gateway Recovery Program
  • Children’s Receiving Home
  • WIC and Opportunities Inc
  • Pre-Release Center-boot Camp
  • Special Olympics/Special Smiles
  • Saint Thomas Child Care Center
  • Senior Citizen Newsletter
  • Veteran’s Upward Bound
  • Migrant Farm Worker Project in Polson
  • Montana State Prison
  • Crest Program at the Boys and Girls Club
  • Dental Health Activity at Cambridge Court Senior Living Facility
  • Project Homeless Connect in Kalispell and Missoula
  • Providing Dental Hygiene care at the Cooperative Clinic in Helena
  • Give Kids a Smile Day (Sealants)

Great Falls College MSU
Dental Hygiene In The News

 


Dental Hygiene Faculty

 

Julie Barnwell

Julie Barnwell

Office: R186
406.771.4389
julie.barnwell@gfcmsu.edu

Rachael Bruce photo

Rachael Bruce

Office: R183
406.771.4365
rachael.bruce@gfcmsu.edu

Kim Dunlap photo

Kim Dunlap

Office: R185
406.771.5122
kim.dunlap1@gfcmsu.edu

edit