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The Alabama Dental Hygiene Program, commonly referred to as the “ADHP” is a unique accelerated certification program developed over 50 years ago to meet the needs of the dental profession and the citizens of the State of Alabama.


One of the changes that led to the creation of the ADHP occurred in the 1950’s when the University of Alabama-School of Dentistry created the first dental hygiene school.  Other changes that influenced the dental hygiene field were the initiation of a statewide junior college system and an industry-wide realization by the dental profession that preventive dentistry was not a priority in the treatment of dental patients.


Initially it was thought concerns over the quality of a preceptorship-model would be addressed by educating all dental hygienists in a traditional program at the dental school or the new junior college system. Unfortunately, studies in Alabama and other states confirmed college-trained dental hygienists congregated in urban areas after graduation and had a higher attrition rate than that of preceptor-trained dental hygienists.  Additional information from other states regarding the high cost of traditional dental hygiene education showed insufficient public funding to educate the quantity of qualified dental hygienists needed by the people of Alabama.


In retrospect, all these factors (quality, quantity, costs, and distribution within the state) along with a commitment to preventive dentistry for patients, led the Alabama Dental Association and the Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama to consider a non-traditional program for educating dental hygienists.


In 1959, the state legislature gave the Board authority to issue training permits for qualified dentists to sponsor a dental hygiene student in accordance with a dental hygiene training program (ADHP) established by the Board. This authority accomplished:  1) The ADHP program ended the preceptorship-model; 2) This authority allowed graduates from this program to qualify for licensure without the necessity of having to be a graduate of an accredited school of dental hygiene approved by the Board.  By 1960, the preceptorship-model no longer existed.


The ADHP combines essential formal classroom education and training coupled with the students working with his/her sponsoring dentist in the clinical environment to develop the real-world application of dental hygiene skills.


Today, the ADHP trains over 200 dental hygiene students annually.






If you have any questions regarding the ADHP program, please contact the ADHP Coordinator at or (659) 216-1010.  If you have any questions regarding the licensure application, please contact or (659) 216-1009.