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Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene Now Available in Philadelphia Area


Thanks to an agreement between a private, liberal arts college and a public college of technology, advanced education in dental hygiene is now available in the Philadelphia area.

Starting this fall, Pennsylvania College of Technology will offer its bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene at Harcum College, in Bryn Mawr.

Although Harcum and a number of other Philadelphia area institutions provide associate degrees in dental hygiene, Penn College is only one of two colleges in the state which offers a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene; the other is in Pittsburgh.

The Penn College programming will be delivered at Harcum via a variety of distance-education modes, as well as face-to-face instruction. Among the distance-education possibilities are the Internet, video-based technology and videoconferencing technology.

Dr. Patricia M. Ryan, president of Harcum, states, “I’m delighted to begin this collaboration with Pennsylvania College of Technology. Penn College’s dental hygiene program is a fine one and we welcome it on our campus. The use of our facilities will help Penn College reach more students and expand its services.

“Harcum students will benefit from this partnership, as well. After earning the associate’s degree in our dental hygiene program, they will have the advantage of applying to a bachelor’s degree program on the same campus.”

In addition to Harcum’s dental hygiene graduates, Deborah A. Wilson, dean of Penn College’s School of Health Sciences, says the new offering may serve associate-degree dental hygiene graduates from Philadelphia, Montgomery County and Northampton County community colleges. Wilson notes dental hygiene programming was formerly offered by Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, and alumni of those programs also may be among the pool of interested students. As well, she says, inquiries have been received from residents of New Jersey and Delaware.

The majority of these graduates are now practicing dental hygienists who want to further their education, but are “location-bound,” in the sense that their career and family obligations keep them from traveling to Williamsport to gain a dental hygiene bachelor degree. This agreement, coupled with distance-education technologies, will now bring the education to them.

“We anticipate that the program will be very attractive to the working hygienist,” says Kathleen E. Morr, director of Penn College’s dental hygiene program. “We are excited about getting this degree completion opportunity into the Philadelphia area.” Morr adds that Harcum’s location in Bryn Mawr is ideal for easy access from the Turnpike or by train and removed from the congested city traffic.

Also through distance education, Penn College’s bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene is offered in the state’s Northeast at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke; a special course also was provided at the Penn State-Wilkes Barre campus in Lehman.

All of this outreach, Morr says, “creates the potential for rich exchange among professionals” across the state. Ultimately, she notes, the link between the educational and professional communities will be enhanced.

Ryan agrees, adding, “I am pleased to endorse this new relationship which will benefit both colleges and the dental hygiene professional community.”

For more information on Penn College’s programming at Harcum College, contact Penn College’s Admissions Office at 1-800-367-9222 or its Dental Hygiene Office, at (570) 326-3761, ext. 4500.

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