Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Katalin Szelenyi

Second Advisor

Dwight E. Giles, Jr.

Third Advisor

Janis P. Bellack


Dental hygiene faces a significant full-time faculty shortage fueled by a lack of incentives to change careers into a faculty role. This study examined the career change experiences of 18 full-time community college dental hygiene faculty at five Massachusetts community colleges to identify factors that influenced the success of career change. It created a fundamental career change model for dental hygiene faculty to illustrate the general pathways of career change for former full-time clinicians into the role of full-time community college dental hygiene faculty. Findings showed that personal factors, including feelings and emotions, personal attributes, familial influence and life stages; and external factors including dental office culture and socialization to the full-time faculty role significantly shaped career change. Professional factors including gender climate and the efficacy of online degree completion programs were not perceived as influencing participants' own career change, but were expected to influence those who sought to change in the future. This study encourages institutions of higher education, faculty, and clinicians to proactively seek a better understanding of the dynamics of the pathways to a full-time faculty position in order to effectively address the faculty shortage.