Dental Hygiene FAQ

What does a dental hygienist do?

A dental hygienist is a licensed oral health professional who provides preventive, therapeutic, restorative and educational interventions to control oral disease and promote optimal oral health.

Will I be eligible to practice as a dental hygienist if I graduate from this program?

The LCC Dental Hygiene Program is fully accredited.  Graduation from this program makes you eligible for state licensure throughout the United States, which is required in order to practice dental hygiene. Students begin taking board examinations while enrolled in the 2nd year of the DH curriculum.

Do I need a license or certificate to work as a dental hygienist in Oregon? If so, how will I go about getting it?

Dental Hygiene is a licensed profession that is regulated at the state level. To obtain a license, Dental Hygiene graduates are required to complete state/regional practical examinations and the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination in order to become licensed dental hygienists. Students begin taking these regional and national examinations during winter and spring terms of their second year, and begin preparing for state licensure as they finish out the program. In addition to national and regional exams, each state has specific licensing requirements that include, but may not be limited to, an official college transcript (available after program graduation) and completion of state jurisprudence exams. State licensing fees are approximately $400.00 and include fingerprinting and a background check.

What organizations or agencies have, or need to, approve or accredit the program so that the graduates can be certified or licensed?

The LCC Dental Hygiene program is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation [and has been granted the accreditation status of "approval without reporting requirements"]. 

How do I get into the program?

Students are required to submit a completed application by the deadline. Each applicant will receive points for academic coursework completed, and for their performance on a dental hygiene entrance exam. Applicants may obtain additional application points for dental office work experience, Spanish language proficiency, military service, and GPA. Points are used to determine the strength of the application for the dental hygiene program. The current point system is included in the application packet.

Is there a residency requirement for getting accepted into the program?

All applicants must be Oregon Residents at the time of application. The college's residency rules are used to determine residency. You will also need to identify your county of residence within Oregon. All students applying to the DH program are treated equally regardless of what county they are from in Oregon.

What are the prerequisites (courses/activities) that must be completed before I can be accepted into the program?

The following courses or their equivalent are required in order to apply to the program:

Class Name and Number # credits
Total Credits 39 credits
BI 112 Cell Biology for Health Occupations 4 credits
CH 112 Chemistry for Health Occupations 4 credits
WR 121 English Composition: Exposition and Introduction to Argument 4 credits
BI 231 Human Anatomy and Physiology 1 4 credits
BI 232 Human Anatomy and Physiology 2 4 credits
FN 225 Nutrition  4 credits
Choice of:
SOC 204 Introduction to Sociology, SOC 205 Social Stratification and Systems or
SOC 206 Institutions and Social Change
3 credits
MTH 052 Math for Introductory Physical Sciences or higher mathematics 4 credits

Choice of:
SP 100 Basic Communication or SP 111 Fundamentals of Public Speaking

4 credits
Choice of:
PSY 201, 202, 203 General Psychology
4 credits

Students using semester courses for the Anatomy and Physiology series will need to complete the entire 1 year series (2 semester series) to apply to the program. 

Additional Courses Required by Fall Entry

The following courses are not required to apply, but must be completed by fall entry. Students receive added points for these courses on their application. Typically, students accepted into the program will have completed all 3 courses prior to the application deadline.

Course Credits
BI 233 Human Anatomy and Physiology 3  4 credits
BI 234 Microbiology 4 credits
WR 123 or WR 227 3-4 credits

Do I have to take BI233 and BI234?  

BI 233 and BI234 are courses that provide points in the application process.  The BI233 is the final course of the three course Anatomy and Physiology series of courses.  BI234 is Microbiology and it along with BI233 must be completed by fall term of the year you are accepted into the DH program.  Competitive applicants have these courses along with WR123 or WR227 completed for application to the program.  A successful admission process is built on points achieved by the applicant’s completed courses at the time the admission packet is submitted. 

I won't have all my prerequisites completed by the application deadline. Can I still get into the program?

The Dental Hygiene Program requires all prerequisites be completed by the end of winter term of the year of application. It should be noted that the most competitive applicants have ALL general education and science courses, including the additional courses for entry (i.e. BI 233, BI 234 and WR 123 or WR 227), completed prior to application. 

How and when can I apply?

The application is found on the Dental Hygiene Program website in January each year. Application deadlines are also provided. Interested applicants should begin reviewing the online application information in Fall and early Winter terms to become acquainted with application requirements. Careful planning will benefit the applicant, assuring that he/she has completed required coursework and application requirements. 

What kind of application preparation do I need to do?

  • Obtain a Dentpin from the ADA, then take the ATDH exam through a Prometric Testing Center. Test results return in approximately 4 weeks.
  • Arrange a clinical observation of a dental hygienist (8 hours required).
  • Attend one of the Mandatory Program Application Review Sessions. 
  • If you are a transfer student, check course equivalencies between your college and Lane Community College courses, using Lane’s transfer tool.
  • Order official transcripts and make sure they have been sent to Lane Community College by the application deadline if planning to use courses from colleges outside of LCC.
  • Download Adobe reader, which will be needed to complete the fillable application online.

How many students does the program accept each year?

The LCC Dental hygiene program takes 20 per year. The lecture portion of the curriculum is presented online using the Moodle presentation system. Clinical education is provided using clinical facilities. Applicants will find the application posted on the Dental Hygiene Admission site. LCC has capacity for 20 first year and 20 second year students.

If more people apply than you will accept, how do you choose who gets in?

Acceptance into the Dental Hygiene Program is based upon a points system (see the application packet). Every year the total points achieved by applicants varies. Usually successful applicants have earned more than 40 points. Approximately 65 applicants apply annually.

How much does the program cost?

Estimated Estimated program costs are approximately $22,000 per year for the 2-year Dental Hygiene curriculum at Lane

Will employment in a dental office help me be accepted to the program?

Applicants who complete 960 hours of work in a dental office (documented by the employer) are eligible to earn additional application points. The required documentation form is found in the application packet. 

What kind of dental office work experience counts for extra points?

Applicants may work as a sterilization assistant, dental assistant, receptionist, or other paid position in a dental office.