Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Apply to Dental Hygiene

To join this program, you must apply for admission. This highly competitive program accepts 20 students every fall term. The selection process is based on a point system. Competitive applicants typically have a 3.6 GPA, A’s in their science prerequisites, and some experience in a dental setting.

Questions? Attend an information session or contact us.

How to apply

  1. Apply to PCC

    Applying to PCC is free and only takes a few minutes. Complete this step as soon as possible so you can start using PCC resources. On the application, choose Associate of General Studies for your major. (Your major will be updated after you’re admitted to the program.)
    Apply to PCC angle right

  2. Application timeline
    Term you want to start Apply to Dental Hygiene
    Fall 2022 application closed
    Fall 2023 January – April 17, 2023 at 8:59pm
    Check basic qualifications

    If you are accepted into this program, you’ll need to pass a criminal background check and a drug screen.

  3. Take prerequisites

    Prerequisite courses must be complete by the end of the winter term prior to the application deadline.

    • WR 121: English Composition I
    • MTH 65: Intro Algebra
    • BI 234: Microbiology (must be within last 7 years)
    • CH 102 or CH 106: Organic Chemistry (if you’ve taken organic chemistry at a school other than PCC, you’ll need to upload the course syllabus with your application)
    • BI 231 and BI 232: Anatomy & Physiology I and II
    • FN 225: Nutrition (optional, but worth admission points)
    • Psychology elective (recommended PSY 101)
    • Communication elective (recommended COMM 111)
    • Sociology elective (recommended SOC 204)
  4. Gain dental experience points

    You can earn additional points and increase your competitiveness by completing one of the following:

    • Job shadowing
      Shadow a registered dental hygienist for 20 hours. Upload the shadowing documentation form to your application under “observation hours”.
    • Alternative Shadowing Option (two-part process)
    • Paid dental office work experience or Certified Dental Assisting experience
      • Work in a dental setting for a minimum of 1,600 hours, or be enrolled in or have completed a certified Dental Assisting program.
      • To earn points for dental experience, submit the Dental Experience Form with your DHCAS application. Experience hours must be complete by the end of winter term prior to the application deadline. All supporting documents (copy of CDA) must be uploaded in your DHCAS application. Points will not be awarded if the form is incomplete or supporting documentation is missing
  5. Create application account

    You will apply through an independent organization: Dental Hygiene Centralized Application Service (DHCAS). Log in to DHCAS and create your account. You can create your account as early as November, but PCC’s dental hygiene program application will not be available until January.

  6. Pay application fee

    Once you are ready to submit your application, pay the non-refundable application fee directly to DHCAS.

  7. Submit transcripts

    Send official transcripts to DHCAS from all colleges attended, including PCC. If you’re finishing prereqs in winter term, wait until grades are posted before requesting transcripts. Otherwise, complete this step as soon as possible. Follow the instructions in the DHCAS application.

  8. Entrance essay

    Write an essay about special skills, experience, or education that will enable you to be successful in this program. How you have benefited from these, or other activities or volunteerism? Essay is limited to one page typed, double spaced. Upload your essay in the documents section of the DHCAS application.

  9. Submit application

    Complete the application to Dental Hygiene.  The application must be submitted by 8:59pm on the deadline.  Supporting documents (including those sent from employers and other schools) must be received by 9pm on the deadline.  Applications will not be considered without all supporting documents.

  10. Proctored essay

    The 40 applicants with the highest scoring applications will be invited to complete an on-campus proctored essay. You’ll be notified at the email address you used with your DHCAS application.

After you apply

In late-May, we will notify applicants of their status. Check your MyPCC email.

After being accepted, students will obtain CPR certification, complete and pass a criminal background check, drug screen, and provide proof of all required immunizations.  (Do not complete these requirements before being accepted into the program. We’ll send you specific instructions for these steps.)

How are applicants selected?

PCC’s Dental Hygiene program is highly competitive. We typically receive approximately 100 applications each year for 20 spaces.  Admission is based on a point system worth up to 98 points.  The highest scoring applicants complete an on-campus essay, and based on the combined scores, the 20 highest scoring applicant are admitted.

  • Prerequisite GPA (up to 20 points)
  • Grades in science prerequisites (5-15 points per class)
  • Optional course points (2)
  • Prior Degree (Associates or higher) (1 point)
  • Active duty or veteran status (2 points)
  • Alternate from previous year (3 points)
  • Work experience: (limit to one of the following)
    • Job shadow a registered dental hygienist for 20 hours (5 points)
    • Work in a dental setting for a minimum of 1600 hours, or be enrolled in or have completed a certified Dental Assisting program (10 points)
  • Proctored essay (up to 25 points)


  • Basic computer skills in word processing are encouraged prior to applying to the program.
  • For questions related to the DHCAS application, contact DHCAS Support: dhcasinfo@dhcas.org or 617-612-2095