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Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene - AAS-T

Attend the online session and learn about our Nursing & Allied Health Programs, and about funding and student support resources that can help you get started at BTC.

Attend the online session and learn about our Dental Hygiene Program! Learn more about our new admission process, application window, entry requirements and about funding and student support resources that can help you get started at BTC.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the health care industry as a dental hygienist, then look into BTC’s Dental Hygiene program. You’ll learn the clinical skills and core professional values needed to launch a rewarding dental hygiene career in private and public settings, such as dental offices and public health clinics. The Dental Hygiene Program is designed for students interested in pursuing an education for entry into the profession of Dental Hygiene. 10 students will be accepted into the Dental Hygiene Program for each application cycle.

The Dental Hygiene Program at Bellingham Technical College is designed as a sequence of didactic, laboratory and clinical courses that fulfill the educational objectives established by the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Program is 7 consecutive quarters in length. Upon successful completion, students are granted an Associates Degree in Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) Bellingham Technical College Dental hygiene students learn under the supervision of licensed dentists and dental hygienists on state-of-the-art equipment in BTC’s on-campus dental clinic. Program graduates are well-positioned for employment in the dental industry, with the hands-on clinical experience employers need today.

Note: BTC has not made a determination that the Dental Hygiene curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure/certification outside of Washington State. We encourage students who plan to work out-of-state to check relevant local licensure/certification requirements.

Employment Information

87% BTC graduate placement rate

$85,197 starting annual wage
$94,037 average annual wage
$102,835 potential annual wage
  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    BTC graduate employment rates:
    The graduate employment rate reflects placement rates of students who graduated from BTC in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Data Linking for Outcomes Assessment database pulls from Unemployment Insurance (UI) data across Washington and Oregon. UI data do not reflect BTC graduates who (a) are employed in states beyond those listed above or outside of the United States, (b) are self-employed, (c) are active duty members of the armed forces, (d) continued on to another educational institution, and/or (e) did not provide a social security number while enrolled at BTC.

    Wages:
    Washington State Employment Security Department 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates ( esd.wa.gov) reflect 2014-2017 employment

    Starting annual wage = 25th percentile
    Average annual wage = 50th percentile
    Potential annual wage = 75th percentile

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

Students interested in the Dental Hygiene Program are encouraged to meet with Allied Health College Navigator Laura Doss by emailing advising@btc.edu. The college navigator will help you plan a course of study. 

BTC is pleased to announce that the Dental Hygiene Program will be entering 10 students into the program every year* starting Fall 2021!

*BTC is awaiting final approval from the Commission of Dental Accreditation (CODA) for a second Dental Hygiene cohort.

A new admissions process is coming to the Dental Hygiene Program starting Fall 2021. This new process will roll out over two academic years. The updated checklist provides more information about the new admissions process.

Dental Hygiene Admissions Checklist
Dental Hygiene FAQ

 

Transition year 2021-2022:

  • Program is in the process of updating the entry requirements, including Healthcare Experience.
  • Only students who applied previously with a complete application and who meet the new prerequisite course requirements will be eligible to apply using the online application in February 2021.
  • Eligible students must apply using the online application. If an eligible student does not apply by the deadline using the application portal they will have to meet all the new admission requirements and wait to apply during the 2022-2023 Application Window.
  • BTC staff will email eligible previous applicants information about applying to the program January 2021.


Full Implementation year 2022-2023:

  • All applicants must meet the new admission requirements, including healthcare experience, and be program-ready prior to applying.
  • Online application required, link to the application portal will be posted on website.
  • APL-DT Application Window date will be posted on the website in September 2021.
  • Deadline to submit transcripts for evaluation, Healthcare Experience Verification form, and ATI TEAS scores will be posted on the website in September 2021.

This program typically admits students into first quarter program core courses in the fall.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

 

ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) v.6

Applicants must score at the "PROFICIENT" level or higher in each of the four areas on one transcript. See the Test of Essential Academic Skills- ATI TEAS Handout for more information about this entrance assessment.

Deadline to submit ATI TEAS scores for the 2022-2023 Application Window will be posted in September 2021.

Healthcare Experience

Applicants must submit a Healthcare Experience Verification Form for prior approval.

Dental Hygiene Healthcare Experience Verification Form

Deadline to submit Healthcare Verification form for the 2022-2023 Application Window will be posted in September 2021.

Pre-Program Course Requirements

Prior to applying to program complete all prerequisite courses and/or Transcript Evaluation Process completed for all courses taken at another institution.

ALL COURSES MUST BE A MINIMUM OF 5 QUARTER CREDITS OR 3 SEMESTER CREDITS
The following courses must be completed with a B (3.0) or higher in each course:

  • General Biology W/ Lab (BIOL& 160)
  • Human A & P 1 (BIOL& 241) 
  • Human A & P 2 (BIOL& 242) 
  • Microbiology (BIOL& 260)
  • Introduction to Chemistry (CHEM& 121) OR General Chemistry w/ Lab I (CHEM& 161)
  • Intro to Organic/Bio-Chemistry (CHEM& 131)
  • Interpersonal Communications (CMST& 210) or Public Speaking (CMST& 220)
  • English Composition I (ENGL& 101)
  • English Composition II (ENGL& 102)
  • PreCalculus I (MATH& 141) or Math in Society (MATH& 107) or Introduction to Statistics (MATH& 146)
  • Nutrition (NUTR& 101)
  • General Psychology (PSYC& 100)
  • Introduction to Sociology (SOC& 101)

Note: ONLY for students who are transferring prior credits to BTC. Deadline to submit transcripts for evaluation for the 2022-2023 Application Window will be posted in September 2021

Physical Requirements

AFTER admissions acceptance into the program and prior to beginning program classes students must submit proof of all Clinical Placement Requirements.

What are My Next Steps?

Classes

Total Program Credits: 124

  • Quarter 1

  • DHYG 112Dental Hygiene Clinical Practice I5 CR
  • DHYG 114Principles of Dental Hygiene I3 CR
  • DHYG 115Oral & Dental Anatomy2 CR
  • DHYG 116Oral Radiology I4 CR
  • DHYG 128General Pathology4 CR
  • HLTH 154HealthCare Provider First Aid and CPR1 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • DHYG 122Dental Hygiene Clinical Practice II5 CR
  • DHYG 124Principles of Dental Hygiene II3 CR
  • DHYG 126Oral Radiology II2 CR
  • DHYG 113Dental Materials4 CR
  • DHYG 125Medical Emergencies3 CR
  • DHYG 137Pharmacology3 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • DHYG 131Restorative Dentistry I4 CR
  • DHYG 132Dental Hygiene Clinical Practice III5 CR
  • DHYG 134Principles of Dental Hygiene III3 CR
  • DHYG 138Periodontology3 CR
  • DHYG 118HISTOLOGY & EMBRYOLOGY2 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • DHYG 141Restorative Dentistry II1 CR
  • DHYG 142Hygiene Clinical Practice IV5 CR
  • DHYG 144Principles of Dental Hygiene IV3 CR
  • DHYG 149Pain Management4 CR
  • Quarter 5

  • DHYG 211Restorative Dentistry III2 CR
  • DHYG 212Dental Hygiene Clinical Practice V8 CR
  • DHYG 214Principles of Dental Hygiene V3 CR
  • DHYG 216Community Oral Health I4 CR
  • DHYG 219Oral Pathology3 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • DHYG 221RESTORATIVE DENTISTRY IV2 CR
  • DHYG 222Dental Hygiene Clinical Practice VI8 CR
  • DHYG 224Principles of Dental Hygiene VI3 CR
  • DHYG 226Community Oral Health II4 CR
  • DHYG 228Oral Therapy3 CR
  • DHYG 229Dental Hygiene Seminar1 CR
  • Quarter 7

  • DHYG 231Restorative Dentistry V1 CR
  • DHYG 232Dental Hygiene Clinical Practice VII8 CR
  • DHYG 234Principles of Dental Hygiene VII3 CR
  • DHYG 236Community Oral Health III2 CR

Program Outcomes

The Dental Hygiene Program is designed to prepare students to become Dental Hygienists. Technical and professional competency development will involve the following outcomes:

  • Demonstrate positive work ethics, team skills and professional values integral the profession of Dental Hygiene.
  • Utilize wellness, health determinants, & characteristics of various patient populations to promote oral health and reduce health risks in a variety of settings.
  • Apply current dental hygiene techniques, instruments, and materials to provide preventive and therapeutic services in accordance with all safety and health standards.
  • Assess, plan, implement & evaluate community based health promotion and prevention programs and activities to benefit the general population
  • Demonstrate cognitive retention of dental terminology, theory, and science.
  • Identify and access opportunities for professional growth and development.
  • Apply the principles of evidence based research and decision making in the planning and implementation of dental hygiene care.
  • Qualify for all national and regional examinations required to practice as a Registered Dental Hygienist in the State of Washington.
  • Manage medical emergencies and provide appropriate life support measures using professional judgement.

Employment Outlook

Dental hygienists are in high demand and the outlook is that the demand for hygienists is expected to grow. About 87% of BTC Dental Hygiene students are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual wage in this field is $94,037, with an earning potential of about $102,835 per year.*

Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student participation with internships and employment in this industry.

Dental hygienists in dental offices and clinics.

Faculty & Support

Photo of Laura Doss
Laura Doss
College Navigator

Laura Doss has been at BTC for 10 years in the roles of Academic & Career Advisor, Student Navigator, Instructor, Completion Coach and now College Navigator for the Allied Health Programs. Laura earned her Bachelor of Science while serving in the US Army and stationed in Germany and her Master of Education while stationed at Fort Sill, OK. Her initial education and training was in the mental health field before moving into education. Outside of work, Laura likes to spend time with her four kids, walking the trails, cuddling with her tiny dog and reading a ton of books!

Photo of Alisa Wollens
Alisa Wollens
Dental Assisting & Dental Hygiene Programs Coordinator/Instructor