The need for more dental hygienists continues to be a factor for dental practices in Colorado. The CDA has been actively attending information sessions and gathering information on this important topic. In 2022, there were four programs each graduating 24-26 hygienists per year (with Concorde having two graduating cohorts every other year) – so there were 100-125 hygienists graduating each year depending on Concorde’s rotation. In 2023, there will be 120-152 graduating each year depending on Concorde’s rotation.
Here are some updates across the state.
• This year, the Concorde Dental Hygiene Associate Degree Program has increased its class size from 24 to 32. This is an 18-month program.
• The Community College of Denver Dental Hygiene Program also increased its class size from 24 spots to 40. CCD has a bachelor’s completion program, which will help equip more hygienists with bachelor’s degrees, so they are qualified to become faculty for hygiene programs.
• The Colorado Northwestern Community College Dental Hygiene Program in Rangely, CO has a class size of 24-26.
• In June 2022, the Colorado Mountain College Council voted in favor of the intent to pursue its dental hygiene program. Since then, the college has moved forward with construction of a dental hygiene clinic at the Vail Valley at Edwards Campus. The site visit with CODA is September 19-20, 2023. Following that visit CODA has 90 days decide on formal accreditation. CMC’s target is for the first cohort to start in July of 2024 pending accreditation, however, class offerings must be announced by December 31, 2023, so the 90-day window mentioned above will make this a close call. The initial class size is 8, with the potential to grow to 16.
• The Front Range Community College in Fort Collins plans to accept its first class in 2024 or 2025, depending on the accreditation process. The class size will be 20.
• The Pueblo Community College Dental Hygiene Program has a class size of 24-26. PCC has a bachelor’s completion program, which will help equip more hygienists with bachelor’s degrees, so they are qualified to become faculty for hygiene programs.
• Pikes Peak Community College is still in the process of building an allied dental education center. The college will admit 30 dental hygiene students per year beginning the fall of 2024 or 2025 (more likely 2025), depending on the accreditation process. It will also admit up to 36 dental assisting students per year.
• The Colorado Academy of Vocational Technology is the newest program working toward accreditation. Dr. Julie Rohleder in Colorado Springs along with her partner Attorney Christopher Cipoletti purchased the Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology with the intention of adding a hygiene education program to the school. They are acquiring a new building where both programs will be held. They plan to submit their accreditation application this week and depending how long the accreditation process takes, accept their first class in fall 2024 or 2025. The hygiene program director is Rhonda Weatherbie-McLouth, RDH. The class size will be 20 students per cohort (with three alternating cohorts). The hygiene program will be 22-months.