Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Apply to Dental Hygiene

COVID-19 update

Due to COVID-19, all dates and deadlines are subject to change. The latest updates will always be posted here and in related sections of the page below.

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 talk with a program advisor.

How to apply

  1. Apply to PCC

    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 2021 application closed
    Fall 2022 January – April 15, 2022 at 9pm
    Check basic qualifications

    If you are accepted into this program, you’ll need to pass a criminal background check and a drug screen. If you have questions about how a criminal record affects admission, talk with a program advisor[opens in new window][opens in new window].

  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 experience points

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

    • Job shadow a registered dental hygienist for 20 hours. Upload the shadowing documentation form to your application under “observation hours”.
    • Or, complete the 2 part COVID alternative:
    • Or, work in a dental setting for a minimum of 1,600 hours, or be enrolled in or have completed a certified Dental Assisting program. Applicants will need to identify their employer or instructor in DHCAS. Employers/Instructors will upload the dental experience evaluation form (this form will be available September 2021) to the applicant’s DHCAS Evaluation request. For more detailed directions and additional FAQs about the evaluation process, please review the evaluation section of your PCC DHCAS application.
  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 fees

    There are two non-refundable application fees for this program.

    • PCC application fee: $25. The payment button will be active on January 1. Save the confirmation email and upload it to your application in the documents section under “proof of payment”
    • DHCAS application fee: $50 (DHCAS has a fee assistance program)
  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 9pm 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, criminal background check,  drug screen, and 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 full time for one year, 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.
  • All students, especially those with transfer courses, are encouraged to meet with a health admissions advisor.
  • For questions related to PCC, contact the Health Admissions Office: syhao@pcc.edu
  • For questions related to the DHCAS application, contact DHCAS Support: dhcasinfo@dhcas.org or 617-612-2095