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.
    Apply to PCC angle right

  2. Application timeline
    Term you want to start Apply to Dental Hygiene
    Fall 2023 Application closed
    Fall 2024 January – April 17, 2024 at 8:59pm (PST)
    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. Please review the admission guide for prerequisite details.

    • WR 121Z: English Composition I
    • MTH 65 or higher: Introductory Algebra, second term
    • BI 234: Microbiology (must be within the last 7 years)
    • CH 102: College Level Chemistry, or higher
    • BI 231: Anatomy & Physiology I
    • BI 232: Anatomy & Physiology II
    • FN 225: Nutrition
    • Psychology elective*
    • Communication elective*
    • Sociology elective*

    *Applicants must successfully complete one course from the PSY, SOC, and COMM categories with a grade of C or higher. A comprehensive list of Associate of Applied Science (AAS) approved courses can be found by viewing the general education list.

  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 Dental Hygiene Shadowing Hours Form to your application under “observation hours”.
    • Paid dental office work experience or DANB Certified Dental Assisting experience
      Work in a dental setting for a minimum of 800 hours, or be enrolled in or have completed a certified Dental Assisting program.

      • To document paid job shadowing experience, applicants must upload and submit the Dental Experience Documentation Form. The form must be signed by the Dental Hygienist that was shadowed.
      • To document 800 hours of work experience in a dental setting, current enrollment in a DANB CDA program, or DANB CDA certification, applicants must upload and submit both pages of the Dental Experience Documentation Form. This form must be signed either by your Supervisor, DANB CDA Instructor, or Dentist. If applicable, applicants must upload a copy of their CDA certification for verification.
    • PCC Clinic experience
      Applicants can also earn points by uploading the PCC Dental Clinic Experience Form and showing completion of one or both of the following experiences:

      • Shadowing a PCC Dental Hygiene student at the PCC Dental Clinic for 10 hours.
      • Completing treatment at the PCC Dental Clinic. Applicants are required to go through an entire dental hygiene process of care which includes teeth cleaning from start to finish. Each appointment lasts approximately 4 hours and may require multiple appointments.
  5. Create application account

    You will apply through an independent organization: American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Dental Hygiene Centralized Application Service (DHCAS). Log in to ADEA DHCAS and create your account. You can create your account as early as November 2023. However, PCC’s dental hygiene program application will not be visible or available until January 2024. For questions related to the DHCAS application, contact DHCAS Support: dhcasinfo@dhcas.org or 617-612-2095.

  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. Submit application

    Complete the application to Dental Hygiene. The application, transcripts, and supporting documents must be submitted by the 8:59pm deadline.

  9. Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT)

    Approximately 40 of the top scoring applicants in phase I will move on to participate in phase II of the dental hygiene selection process. Phase II applicants also take part in the health science and reasoning exam (HSRT) as a part of the phase II selection process. Read more about the HSRT on the Insight Assessment FAQ page under the Testing and Administration section. The exam takes about 1.5 hours. For more info, see How to Prepare and Top 10 Critical Thinking FAQ’s. Once the HSRT scores are  evaluated, 20 of the highest-scoring applicants from Phase II will be offered a seat in the program.

After you apply

In late May, applicants will be notified of their admissions status.

After being offered a seat in the program, students are responsible for creating a castle branch account and completing compliance. To confirm admissions status, admitted students must meet the Phase III requirements prior to starting the program in the fall. Phase III requirements include successfully passing a ten-panel drug screen, a criminal background check, and providing proof of CPR certification for healthcare providers as well as proof of required immunizations. Please review the list of required immunizations. Students who receive a seat offer will receive further instructions for completing Phase III requirements at the first mandatory orientation in June.

How are applicants selected?

PCC’s Dental Hygiene program is highly competitive. We typically receive approximately 150 applications each year for 20 spaces. Admission is based on a point system worth up to 111 points. Review detailed timelines and selection criteria in the admissions guide.