Dental Hygiene Program whitens its reputation

Wendy Solorio

In the United States, Dental Hygienists must graduate from a dental hygiene program that is accredited by the American Dental Association in order to obtain a job.

At Cerritos College, those interested in a career as a Dental Hygienist can obtain their associate degree or certificate in the dental hygiene program.

The program, accredited by the ADA, offers its applicants a two-year degree upon completion. After graduating from the program, students receive an associates of Arts degree in Dental Hygiene and can then take the National and State Board Examinations, which are required to practice hygiene in the state of California.

This program at Cerritos was first initiated in 1971, and the first graduating class was in 1973.

When it first started, there were very few dental programs around. Today there are 22 programs in the state of California.

Instructor Adelle Krayer, a dental hygienist and the director of the Dental Hygiene program at Cerritos College, was in the first graduating class of 1973. She has since stayed in existence with it.

According to her, the program has grown and improved dramatically over the years.

“All programs are by application. And even though our application pool has gotten smaller over the years, our program has more applicants than most of the other programs do.”

According to Krayer, the large amount of applicants is due to the positive reputation that the program at Cerritos has obtained throughout the years.

“We have a tremendous reputation in the dental community.” she said, “We’re known for having one of the best programs around.”

Many areas in the health care industry have been hurt by our recent economic downfalls, and the world of dentistry is no exception.

With many people losing their jobs, they also lose their health insurance as well and fewer people are seeing their dentist these days.

But despite the economical issues, Krayer feels that dental hygienists are still in high demand these days.

“Yes, we’ve seen a downturn in the job market,” she said, “But my recent grads that I’ve heard back from have been successful at finding jobs. There are jobs out there, and I think that because of our reputation, we have a bit of an edge in the market.”

Another instructor of the program, Kathlyn Ninomiya who is also a dental hygenist, agrees with Krayer’s comments. Throughout her 24 years of being involved with the program, she feels the reasons behind the program’s impressive reputation is largely due to how the program works and how it’s constantly changing.

“We are constantly changing the way we teach, the materials we use, and enjoy trying new ideas and methods in teaching our students,” she said. “We have an amazing faculty who are constantly developing new things for our program. We really are innovative, which is why I feel we are one of the best dental hygiene programs around.”

The program also has a wide variety of scholarships available to qualifying applicants.

Among the organizations that offer scholarships are the ADHA Institute of Oral Health, Coca Cola, and the Financial Partners/Cerritos College Foundation.

For more information on the dental hygiene program visit their homepage at