A model dental therapy curriculum is newly available to community colleges and universities interested in launching programs that prepare this workforce. Crafted to meet dental therapy guidelines issued in 2015 by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the sample curriculum can help educational institutions streamline the often arduous process of developing new training programs.
The curriculum, released by Community Catalyst, was designed to be flexible. It was developed with input from the American Association of Community Colleges, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts. Community colleges can offer the coursework as an associate degree program or as a base for more advanced degrees working in concert with four-year colleges and universities. The program may also be abridged for students entering as dental hygienists.
Curriculum developed with community colleges in mind is well-positioned to provide affordable education to rural students, who could then provide dental care in many of the nation’s areas with dental shortages. Nearly half of community colleges are located in or near rural areas.
Jane Koppelman directs research for Pew’s dental campaign.