Georgia Highlands College interim president Dr. Renva Watterson announced on Wednesday that the Board of Regents has approved a new Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene to be offered at the institution.
Beginning summer 2015, students who have earned an associate’s degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and hold an unrestricted license to practice dental hygiene in the United States may be admitted to the Georgia Highlands program.
This bridge program will accept up to 40 students each year. It is available online with the exception of an internship course that can be completed in the student’s local community. Applications for this program will be posted on the Georgia Highlands College's website this fall.
“We are so very proud to announce this addition to our outstanding academic offerings at GHC,” Watterson said. “To be able to provide students the ability to continue on and earn their baccalaureate-level degree at an institution with our reputation for excellence is not only an asset for the students but also for the communities we serve.”
Donna Miller, director of the GHC dental hygiene program added the current dental hygiene program has "experienced great success" since its inception.
“Our graduates have excelled at their state and national examinations and have provided exemplary patient care in Northwest Georgia," Miller added. "Now we have the opportunity to assist all associate-degree hygienists in achieving their educational advancement goal of obtaining a bachelor’s degree. This will allow them to make a difference in the dental hygiene profession by preparing them to take on additional positions of responsibility in a variety of healthcare, educational, research, and community settings.”
There are currently fourteen associate degree-granting dental hygiene programs in the state of Georgia; only two University System of Georgia institutions — Georgia Regents University and Clayton State University — offer the associate’s degree to bachelor’s degree bridge program for dental hygienists.
This marks the second bachelor’s degree to be offered at Georgia Highlands. In the fall, the college began offering the RN-BSN bridge program where registered nurses could earn their bachelor of science degree in nursing completely online.
That program will celebrate its first graduating class in December.