New Dental Hygiene Program begins classes

September 19, 2023

Marketing and Strategic Communications


Palo Alto College is thrilled to announce the start of classes for its highly anticipated Dental Hygiene Program, providing aspiring dental professionals with an exceptional learning experience and a pathway to a rewarding career in oral healthcare.

During the first cohort's second year, which will be in Fall 2024,  the program will also bring low- or no-cost clinical services to better the overall health of the south side community. 


"Dental hygiene affects every person in our community, regardless of location, age, or income," said Dr. Robert Garza, president of Palo Alto College. "As a pillar in south San Antonio, it is our responsibility to offer degree programs that will not only provide our students with marketable and employable skills but also expand beyond the classroom to impact the daily lives of our community."

In South Texas, where the demand for dental hygienists continues to outpace supply, the College has taken a significant step in contributing to the field of dental hygiene by introducing this comprehensive program to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and hands-on training they need to succeed. 

"This is the opportunity of a lifetime," said first-year Dental Hygiene student Elizabeth Moreno, who is enrolled in the program alongside her son. "I am so excited that the Alamo Colleges and Palo Alto College have brought this program to the south side because all will benefit from the services of this clinic."

Before the start of classes, the inaugural cohort had the chance to meet their classmates and faculty and learn valuable tips to make their first year a success. But the most memorable moment for them was when they wrote their names within the secret wall of the facility to cement their role as the founding class of PAC's Dental Hygiene Program.

"This means the start of my future life, and it will bring me closer to higher accomplishments to be a part of such a great program," said Andres Moreno, a first-year Dental Hygiene student.

The dental clinic, located inside the Rio Grande Building, features a collaborative classroom and radiology lab, 30 dental cubicles/operatories equipped with x-ray units, a dental panoramic extraoral imaging machine, and a sterilization room.

By the program's third year, Palo Alto College projects it will serve up to 1,000 uninsured or under-insured limited-income children and adults annually. 

"I estimate that each class throughout their three semesters of clinical courses will give back to the community over $1 million in dental hygiene services." Diane Wilson, program director for Dental Hygiene.


Upon completing the program, students must complete state licensing exams to become licensed dental hygienists. Additionally, students interested in pursuing a further degree could transfer to UT Health San Antonio's School of Dentistry to complete the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene and, ultimately, a Master of Dental Science in Dental Hygiene.

To celebrate the launch of the Dental Hygiene Program, Palo Alto College will be hosting a ribbon-cutting event later this fall. Attendees will be able to tour our state-of-the-art facilities, meet faculty, and gain insights into the dental hygiene profession.

For more information about the Dental Hygiene Program or the application process, visit