Salina Area Technical College’s new Dental Hygiene program has earned accreditation.
According to the school, the Commission on Dental Accreditation has approved Salina Tech’s plans to start a two-year Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene program, with the first class starting this fall.
Salina Tech has been working towards starting a Dental Hygiene program since 2017, and the CODA approval was the final step in the process. The college’s Board of Trustees first approved the plan in June of 2019.
This year, just four colleges in the state offer Dental Hygiene programs, located in Wichita, Kansas City, Emporia and Colby. Manhattan Area Technical College dropped its Dental Hygiene program in 2020.
Salina Tech has offered a nine-month Dental Assistant program for many years, but program director Brooke Horner said there’s long been a local need for more Dental Hygienists, as people who train in Wichita or Kansas City are reluctant to relocate to rural Kansas for work.
The new Dental Hygiene program will occupy the same classroom and lab space as the current Dental Assistant program. Those areas are being extensively remodeled over the next few months, including adding new office space for new faculty, and new cabinetry and sinks to serve the additional dental chairs being installed.
The Hygiene program will have a licensed dentist on campus, and students will get their real-world experience treating patients in an on-campus clinic.