Dental Hygiene FAQs

Additional Contact Information

If you have questions regarding course requirements, you may contact:

Q: Is the Foothill Dental Hygiene Program accredited?

A: Foothill College Dental Hygiene program has accredited from the inception of the program in 1964. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is nationally recognized by the United States Department of Education as the sole agency to accredit dental and dental-related education programs conducted at the post-secondary level. CODA's mission is to serve the oral health care needs of the public through the development and administration of standards that foster continuous quality improvement of dental and dental related educational programs.  The last CODA accreditation site visit for Foothill College Dental Hygiene Program was 2011, with the status: “approval without reporting requirements”. The next accreditation site visit will be 2018.

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Q: What is the Employment Outlook for Dental Hygienists?

A: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow by 38% between 2010-2020 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations. This projected growth ranks dental hygienists among the fastest growing occupations, in response to increasing demand for dental care, and the greater use of dental hygienists.

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Q: How much does the Foothill College Dental Hygiene Program cost?

A: The student tuition and fees for the Bachelor’s Degree program is approximately $10,000 for the four years, which includes the first two years of preparation/pre-requisite courses (freshman and sophomore years) and the second two years of dental hygiene courses (junior and senior years). Additional expenses for the dental hygiene program include the cost uniforms, textbooks and the dental hygiene instrument kit, which totals approximately $5,000.  Scholarships and financial aid are available.

For the most current fees, please see:

Financial Aid Services are available at Foothill College at (650) 949-7245 or

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Q: How long is the Dental Hygiene Program?

A: The Dental Hygiene Program includes two years of dental hygiene coursework, with two short summer sessions. Prior to entering the Dental Hygiene program, completion of general education requirements and prerequisites are required to be accepted to the program. The general education and prerequisite courses may be completed at Foothill College, or another accredited college. Please refer to the curriculum sheet for an outline of the required courses.  Click on the following link to view the curriculum sheet:

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Q: What degree will I receive after completing the Dental Hygiene Program?

A: Beginning with the class entering in 2016, we will be participating in a pilot program, approved by the State Chancellor’s Office, and award the Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene upon successful completion of all courses and program requirements.

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Q: How do I know if Foothill will accept my course credits from another school?

A: Course credits from accredited institutions of higher learning are transferable if a grade of "C" or higher is attained. To determine if there is a match with the required courses for the Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene, the student should make an appointment with a counselor for advising. Acceptance of some courses may involve a petition for equivalency process. Click on the following link to book a counseling appointment:

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Q: Is my college coursework from 10 years ago still acceptable?

A: Yes, your previous coursework is accepted by Foothill. If you currently have a Bachelor’s Degree, or an Associate degree from a California community college, the General Education requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene are still good, and have no recency requirement attached to them.  However it is strongly recommended the science courses for Dental Hygiene be taken within six years of admission to the Dental Hygiene Program. The information and content learned in sciences courses such as anatomy and physiology, nutrition, pharmacology and microbiology are used in dental hygiene frequently.

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Q: What are the Prerequisites for the Dental Hygiene Program?

A. It is highly recommended that you complete the prerequisites listed below BEFORE you send an application.  A limited number of prerequisites may be in progress at the time the application is submitted; however ALL prerequisites must be completed before an applicant begins the Dental Hygiene program in July of the year they’re applying.

B. All preparatory coursework must have been taken from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States. Coursework taught in a language other than English will not be accepted for biology courses (Anatomy & Physiology etc.).

C. Grades of C- or lower are NOT acceptable in fulfillment of prerequisite courses. Grades of pass/no pass also are not acceptable.

D. All prerequisite coursework taken at colleges or universities other than Foothill College must be comparable in content to the required Foothill course in order to be applicable to this program.

The following prerequisites must be successfully completed with a grade “C” or better:

  • High School graduation or equivalent
  • English 1A and English 1B, or equivalent
  • Psychology 1 (General Psychology), or equivalent
  • Sociology 1 (Introduction to Sociology), or equivalent
  • Communication 1A (Public Speaking), or equivalent
  • Multicultural or ethnic studies course (COMM 12), or equivalent
  • Health 21 (Contemporary Health Concerns), or equivalent
  • MATH 10 (Statistics), or equivalent
  • CHEM 30A and CHEM 30B or Organic/Inorganic/Biochemistry
  • *Allied Health 200 (AHS 200) Orientation to Health Care Careers
  • *Dental Hygiene 200L – Orientation to Dental Hygiene
  • BIOL 40 A, B, C (Anatomy & Physiology – with labs), or equivalent
  • BIOL 41 (Microbiology – with lab), or equivalent
  • BIOL 45 (Human Nutrition), or equivalent
  • BIOL 58 (Pharmacology), or equivalent
  • Minimum college grade-point average of 2.5 or higher
  • Minimum grade-point average of 2.75 for required science courses
  • Completion of general education requirements
  • Compliance with the technical standards (See page 10 of application).

*These 2 courses must be taken at Foothill College, and are offered every quarter online.

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Q: How do I apply for the program?

A: Please see Application.

The first two years of preparation/prerequisite courses may be taken at Foothill College, or another accredited college. There are two courses that must be taken at Foothill College: AHS 200, DH200L, as there are no equivalent courses. These two courses are offered every quarter in a convenient online/hybrid format. Applications for admission to the dental hygiene program should be made after the majority of preparation/prerequisite courses are completed. A limited number of prerequisite coursework may be in progress at the time of the application. However, all prerequisite coursework must be completed before an applicant begins the Dental Hygiene program. Applications may be turned in any time from September through the February 11th deadline. Application filing procedures must be followed carefully.  The application is available on our website at:

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Q: Can I attend part-time?

A: No, the Dental Hygiene portion of the program is a full-time program of study for two years. Students typically have 12 to 17 units per quarter.

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Q: How many hours per day is the program?

A: The Dental Hygiene program holds classes Monday through Friday. While the hours each day may vary from quarter to quarter, generally the courses run from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There are some online/hybrid courses in the program. There are occasional evening activities.

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Q: If I'm just getting started, what is the recommended education plan to have the best chance of completing all the requirements and being accepted to the Dental Hygiene program?

A.  The following is the suggested education plan for the Dental Hygiene Bachelor's Degree Program:

FRESHMAN YEAR (Pre-Dental Hygiene Coursework)

FALL (14 units)

Recommended Courses
Quarter Units
ENGL 1A or ESLL 26(GE II) Composition & Reading 5
CHEM 30A (GE III)  Survey of Inorganic & Organic Chemistry 5
HLTH 21 (GE VII) Contemporary Health Concerns 4

WINTER (16 units)

Recommended Courses
Quarter Units
ENGL 1B (GE V) Composition, Critical Reading & Thinking 5
CHEM 30B Survey of Organic & Biochemistry 5
PSYCH 1 (GE IV) General Psychology 5
Lifelong Learning elective (GE VII) – second requirement for this section 1

SPRING (15 units)

Recommended Courses
Quarter Units
BIOL 40A Human Anatomy & Physiology I 5
SOC 1 Introduction to Sociology 5
MATH 10 Elementary Statistics 5

SOPHOMORE YEAR (Pre-Dental Hygiene Coursework)

FALL (13 units)

Recommended Courses
Quarter Units
BIOL 40B Human Anatomy & Physiology II 5
BIOL 41 Microbiology 6
AHS 200 Introduction to Allied Health Programs 3
DH 200L Introduction to Dental Hygiene 1

APPLY TO THE DENTAL HYGIENE PROGRAM: Application deadline is Feb. 11, 2016

WINTER (15 units)

Recommended Courses
Quarter Units
BIOL 40C Human Anatomy & Physiology III 5
BIOL 45 Introduction to Human Nutrition 4
Humanities elective (GE I) – student choice 4

SPRING (13 units)

Recommended Courses
Quarter Units
BIO 58 Fundamentals of Pharmacology 4
US Cultures & Communities elective (GE VI) COMM 12 ecommended 4

JUNIOR and SENIOR YEAR: Dental Hygiene majors courses (100 quarter units)

Please refer to the 2016-2017 Foothill College Catalog for details on Dental Hygiene courses.


For questions regarding coursework and transferability, please make an appointment with an academic counselor. Counseling appointments are made at:

Applications are presently being accepted for the class beginning July 2016. The deadline to apply is Feb. 11, 2016.   The application is posted at

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