A survey of dental hygiene program directors: summary findings and conclusions.J Dent Educ 2010; 74(1):79-87JD
To assist the ADEA Council of Allied Dental Program Directors in focusing future goals and actions, an online survey was developed and administered to the directors of the 300 Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited U.S. dental hygiene programs in November 2008. The survey solicited directors' opinions about certain contemporary dental hygiene issues such as entry-level education, the use of articulation agreements, the advanced dental hygiene practitioner (ADHP) model proposed by the American Dental Hygienists' Association, and accreditation. Over three-quarters of survey respondents indicated it is "important" or "somewhat important" to advance the entry-level educational requirements for dental hygiene practice to the baccalaureate level. Educational setting (four-year versus two-year) was a significant determinant in whether a respondent thought a baccalaureate degree should result from a dental hygiene educational program. Fifty-six percent of respondents' programs either have or are in the process of developing articulation agreements with other institutions. Seventy percent of all respondents felt it was important to support advancing the ADHP model. Over 60 percent of respondents noted the importance of developing competencies for degree completion and graduate programs, and 42 percent of respondents indicated that it was important to have a separate accreditation process for graduate-level programs. Conclusions suggest advancing entry-level education for dental hygiene is desired if it can maintain a role for both four-year and two-year institutions.