Dental Hygiene Programs in California

Dental hygiene programs in California are designed to train students to become licensed dental hygienists. These programs teach students how to clean teeth, take X-rays, and provide preventative oral care services. This article will focus on the different types of dental hygiene programs available in California and what you can expect from them.

Dental Hygiene Programs in California

What is a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a licensed healthcare professional who works with dentists to provide preventative oral care services to patients. They are responsible for cleaning teeth, taking X-rays, and educating patients on proper oral hygiene practices. Dental hygienists also play an important role in identifying signs of oral health problems such as gum disease, cavities, or infections.

Types of Dental Hygiene Programs in California

There are several types of dental hygiene programs available in California: associate’s degree programs, bachelor’s degree programs, and certificate programs. Each program has its own requirements and duration.

Associate’s Degree Programs

Associate’s degree programs are commonly offered at community colleges and take around two years to complete. These programs prepare students for entry-level positions as dental hygienists. The curriculum consists of classroom lectures, laboratory work, and clinical experience.

Some of the courses that students take in associate’s degree programs include basic anatomy and physiology, radiology, pharmacology, dental materials science, nutrition, pathology, periodontology (study of gums), orthodontics (study of misaligned teeth), pain management techniques and general education courses such as English composition, mathematics etc.

In addition to these classes student will be required to complete practical training sessions where they’ll learn about instrumentation (use of hand-held tools for cleaning teeth) , patient communication & record keeping etc..

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Bachelor’s degree programs typically take four years to complete. These degrees generally offer more comprehensive coursework than associates degrees within the field of dentistry. Bachelor’s degree programs also prepare students for a broader scope of practice that may include roles such as research, academia or advanced clinical positions.

A typical program can include courses in oral pathology, pharmacology, radiology, and dental materials science. In addition to these core classes, students will take more general education around sciences (such as biology and chemistry) along with writing & communication skills and other humanities and social science courses.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are another option for those interested in becoming a dental hygienist. These programs vary in length but typically take between six months to one year to complete. Certificate programs are designed for individuals who have already completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program in dental hygiene or related field. These certificate courses can help the candidate become more specialized within the field of dentistry.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for dental hygiene programs in California vary depending on the type of program you choose. Here are some common requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Minimum GPA requirement – usually 2.5 – 3.0
  • Completion of pre-requisite coursework prior to enrolling (mostly science subjects)
  • Application fee
  • Personal statement/essay
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Interview

In addition, many schools require applicants to take standardized tests like the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), if they aren’t natives speakers or Do not possess any recognized degree from an english institution.

Licensing Requirements

To practice as a dental hygienist in California , you must first be licensed by the Dental Hygiene Committee of California (DHCC). The licensing process involves completing an accredited dental hygiene program, passing state board exams including written test plus clinical-or-practical exam before applying for licensure from DHCC.

Job Market

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for dental hygienists will grow by nearly 6% between 2019 to 2029 . Dental hygienists in California earn a median annual wage of $109,290 which is significantly higher than the national average (which stands at $76,220). There are many employment opportunities for dental hygienists in California such as private dental clinics/office, public community health clinics, hospitals and universities.


Dental hygiene programs in California offer entry-level training to become licensed dental hygienist. Students can choose from associate’s degree programs, bachelor’s degree programs or certificate programs. The admission process requires prerequisite coursework, application fee , personal statement and interview. After completing an accredited program, successful candidates should pass state board exams including written test plus clinical-or-practical exam before applying for licensure. With a projected job market growth of nearly 6% over the next decade and strong earning potential make this profession an attractive career pathway for those interested in dentistry.


What are some of the dental hygiene programs available in California?

There are several dental hygiene programs available in California such as Loma Linda University, West Coast University, Diablo Valley College, among others. These programs offer education and training to individuals interested in pursuing a career in dental hygiene

Leave a Comment