The state that served as home to the practice of first female dentist, Lucy Hobbs, is shifting gears for its dental hygiene students.
The Kansas Board of Regents recently recommended that all dental hygiene programs in the state align, which could inadvertently open more spots for those interested in pursuing the competitive field.
“Within the last five years there were 44,000 qualified applicants that applied to dental hygiene programs across the state and there were only 7,000 openings,” said Cheryl Bosilijevac, registered dental hygienist, one of two full-time staff members at Flint Hills Technical College. “It is really competitive.”
According toental hygiene programs are few and far between in Kansas. One of the seven available programs is located at Flint Hills.
In an interview with Wagoner, Rhonda Weatherbie, a registered dental hygienist and another of Flint Hills two full-time staff members discussed the requirement changes and how they will affect the program there.
“The problem is that the program at FHTC was accredited unlike any other program in the state,” Weatherbie said. “We have what they call a one plus one program.”
Currently, students go through the first year of dental assisting and then a year of dental hygiene. Other programs throughout the state require two years of dental hygiene.
“We are now being required to go to the two-year program rather than the one plus one,” Weatherbie said.
The requirement changes requested by the Kansas Board of Regents will result in not only a need for more faculty, but will lead to curriculum changes and the need for location expansion.
Read more about the changes in Kansas and the need for support and funds for the dental hygiene program at Flint Hills: