Dental hygiene grads building culture of high standards

Dental hygiene diploma graduates beat national average on certification exam for ninth straight year.


(Edmonton) When you go for your next dental appointment, you’ll be in good hands with your hygienist, if the latest group of well-trained dental hygiene grads at the University of Alberta is any indication.

For nine consecutive years, the dental hygiene diploma grads have scored above the national average on the certification exam.

“We set high standards for our students,” says Sharon Compton, director of the dental hygiene program at the U of A. “So when results like this happen, we are all so proud because we know the students work hard, and their above-average exam results are proof.”

The National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination has five categories: assessment and diagnosis, foundations, implementation, planning and evaluation, and professionalism—all of which are a reflection of what they take in their program.

Compton notes that one of the minimum admission requirements for the program is successfully completing 24 units of university transferable coursework in one academic year from September to April.

“This requirement helps demonstrate applicants’ ability to manage the rigorous course load required to successfully complete the dental hygiene program,” says Compton. “The program is intense and challenging.”

The news of the above-average results arrives on the heels of a successful accreditation review for the dental hygiene program, and the announcement of a new master of science degree in dental hygiene at the U of A.

“The program’s achievements are an outcome of the work our faculty, staff and students do every day,” says Compton. “It’s a team effort, and everyone deserves to be recognized.”

On average, the diploma program has 42 students admitted each year.