Dental hygiene students working in clinic

Entry-Level Track

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the Foothill Dental Hygiene Program accredited?

Foothill College Dental Hygiene program has been 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.

Q: What is the Employment Outlook for Dental Hygienists?

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.

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

The student tuition and fees for the Bachelor's Degree program is approximately $13,000 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 $7,000. Scholarships and financial aid are available.

Enrollment Fees and Tuition: Upper Division Coursework Fee (California Education Code (CEC), 78042(g)(5); CCR, title 5, section 58520) – additional upper division course fee of $56/unit for quarter system colleges charged on all upper division courses that are part of an approved Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program.

For the most current fees, please see Student Fees and Tuition.

Financial Aid Programs are available at Foothill College. Call 650.949.7245 or see

Students who wish to apply for a Board of Governors Fee Waiver pursuant to Education Code Section 76300 shall be required to complete and submit either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a California Dream Act application in lieu of completing the California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the BOG [Board of Governors] Fee Waiver) application.

Q: How long is the Dental Hygiene Program?

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 Dental Hygiene curriculum sheet for an outline of the required courses.

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

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 of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene upon successful completion of all courses and program requirements.

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

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, you should make an appointment with a counselor for advising. Acceptance of some courses may involve a petition for equivalency process.

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

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. 

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 or general education 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
  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • College GPA of 2.5 or higher.

The following courses are required for the Dental Hygiene Bachelor in Science degree and must be completed before starting the core dental hygiene courses.
  • CHEM 30A and 30B or equivalent.
  • One of the following: MATH 10, PSYC 7 or SOC 7 or equivalent.
  • HLTH 21 or equivalent.
  • PSYC 1 or equivalent.
  • SOC 1 or equivalent.
  • COMM 1A or equivalent.
  • Multicultural or ethnic studies course.
  • BIOL 40A, 40B, 40C or equivalent.
  • BIOL 41 or equivalent.
  • BIOL 45 or equivalent.
  • PHT 58* (formerly BIOL 58)
  • D H 200L.*
  • One of the following: ENGL 1A, 1AH, 1S & 1T or ESLL 26.
  • One of the following: ENGL 1B or 1BH.
  • Completion of one of the following general education patterns: CSU General Education Breadth Requirements or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC).

*DH 200L and BIOL 58 courses must be taken at Foothill College. DH 200L is offered every quarter online. PHT 58 is offered in-class only in fall, winter and spring quarter. 

Q: How do I apply for the program?

Application is opened from October 1 through February 1. It's recommended that you read the application instructions carefullly before fill in the application. 

The first two years of preparation/prerequisite courses may be taken at Foothill College, or another accredited college. The course DH 200L and PHT 58 must be taken at Foothill College, as there is not an equivalent course. DH 200L offered every quarter in a convenient online/hybrid format. PHT 58 (Pharmacology) is offered in-class only in fall, winter and spring. 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 October through the February deadline. Application filing procedures must be followed carefully.

Q. Can I attend part-time?

No, the Dental Hygiene portion of the program is a full-time program of study for two years. Students typically enroll in 14 to 17 units per quarter.

Q: How many hours per day is the program?

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.

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?

The Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene (BS-DH) is a 2+2 program: two years of prerequisite courses, including the required general education, science courses and social sciences courses; then following an application and acceptance to the dental hygiene program, there are two years of dental hygiene core courses and upper division general education. The BS-DH degree requires completion of one of the following general education patterns: CSU General Education Breadth Requirements or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC). Completion of the pre-program courses and general education do not guarantee admission to the dental hygiene program. It is strongly recommended that students meet with a counselor to create an education plan.

placeholder image

We're Here to Help!

Truc Nguyen, Dental Administrative Assistant