Pierce College Dental Hygiene students

Dental Hygiene Centralized Application System (DHCAS)

Pierce College Dental Hygiene program uses the Dental Hygiene Centralized Application System (DHCAS) through the American Dental Education Association (ADEA).

The ADEA Dental Hygiene Centralized Application Service (ADEA DHCAS®) provides you and our program with accurate, streamlined and uniform data. All directions on how to submit official transcripts are on this site and an overview of the process is below.

Application Deadline

The application due date is February 15 of each year. This includes official transcripts sent to ADEA DHCAS.

Process for the 2023 Application Year

A. Schedule Your Admission Test for Dental Hygiene (ATDH)

  1. Complete the Admissions Test for Dental Hygiene (ATDH).
    • Typical Spring Testing Window
      • March 30 through May 31
      • Retakes for Spring Testing: July 19 through August 16
        • You must have already taken the ATDH to schedule a Retake Date.
    • Typical Fall Testing Window
      • September 1 through October 31 (Extended to December 14 for 2022)
      • Retakes for Fall Testing: December 15 through January 19
        • You must have already taken the ATDH to schedule a Retake Date.
  2. Highest score earned is used. 
  3. You may use scores from 2021 forward for the current application cycle.
  4. Test Fee = $140.00 paid to ATDH, not to Pierce College.
  5. Testing locations can be found here: ATDH Prometric Testing Locations, WA-OR
    • Closest test center to Pierce College:
      0211: Tacoma - Fife
      6021 12th Street East
      Suite 103
      Fife, WA 98424

B. Request Your Background Check

We highly recommend starting the process no later than December 2022. 

  • Go to the Castle Branch Website.
  • Create your account. Do not forget your username or password. You will need both in the event that you are offered a place in the program.
  • Once you have created your account, in the “Place Order” field, enter the following package code: PH45 This is specific to your organization and the program will automatically be able to access the information.
  • If you are having issues with the application, please contact the Castle Branches Service Desk. Your myCB Service Desk is available to assist you via phone, chat and email Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST, 888-914-7279 or

C. Begin Your Application

Complete the American Dental Education Association Dental Hygiene Centralized Application Service (ADEA DHCAS®) application by February 15, 2023 at 9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST).

  • DHCAS Website
  • The 2023 application cycle will open in October 2022.

ADEA DHCAS Directions

Before beginning the application on DHCAS, we highly recommend you watch the training video and visit the Help Center for a Quick Start Guide or questions:

DHCAS Application Sections

The DHCAS application contains Four Sections. You will complete Three of the Four Sections

1. Personal Information

Complete all portions. Answer all questions.

2. Academic History

  • There is no need to upload high school transcripts.
  • Order your official transcripts to be sent electronically to ADEA DHCAS, not Pierce College.
    CRITICAL: Applicants are responsible to follow-up and ensure that ADEA DHCAS receives the Official Transcripts by the application deadline. Lack of Official Transcripts means we cannot process your application and it will be invalidated.
  • Pre-dental hygiene courses (and other courses) being completed in Winter 2023 must be added to the Academic History. 
  • Winter Official Transcripts must be requested no later March 30. 
    • If validated for consideration for acceptance, instructions will be provided to you via email on where to send your proof of ordering the transcript(s).
  • If you are completing your pre-dental hygiene courses in Winter 2022, you will need to request a new official transcript(s) to be sent to DHCAS.
  • You must identify which pre-dental hygiene courses you want considered for application. It is important to select the correct courses to the correct disciplines.
  • Applicant selection is based only on the pre-dental hygiene courses.

Note that we do not use all coursework for applicant selection; we only consider the pre-dental hygiene courses.

3. Supporting Information

No documentation is required. We do not consider Letters of Recommendation.

4. Program Materials

Two documents are required for all applicants:

  • Proof of Ordering Official Transcripts through Fall 2022.
    • Proof is crucial in the event that ADEA DHCAS does not receive your transcripts in time, you will have proof that you attempted to order them.
    • Winter Official Transcripts must be requested no later March 30.
    • If validated for consideration for acceptance, instructions will be provided to you via email on where to send your proof of ordering the transcript(s).
  • Proof of Applying to Pierce College Admissions
    • If you are a classified as a "current" student and do not need to reapply to Pierce College Admissions, please upload a copy of the last quarter you attended showing your courses. You can get a screen shot from the MyPierce site.
    • Current Student is anyone who has completed a course at Pierce College in the past year.
    • Please visit Admissions and complete the admissions process under the category that applies to you (New, Returning, International).

One additional document is required for applicants with course substitutions for Science, Math and/or English pre-dental hygiene courses:

  • Go to the Program Application Course Eligibility and Transfers 
  • Find your courses at your college that you feel will equate to the Pierce College Pre-dental Hygiene courses.
  • Complete the online form and be sure to include the following:
    • Course Number: e.g. ENGL 300
    • Course Description (copy and paste from the college’s catalog): e.g. Scientific composition and research. Prerequisite ENGL 200. 
    • Include the college catalog url where you found the course description.
    • Total # of credits
    • If there is a lab, please indicate if it was virtual or in-person. (Please note that in-person labs are preferred and highly recommended.)
  • Communications, psychology, sociology and philosophy courses no longer require a Course Substitution Request as long as they meet the total number of credit hours and minimum course GPA.
  • Advising plans, emails, education plans, or other written or verbal documentation created by anyone either inside or outside the Pierce College system, including advising documents by the program director, are not accepted for course substitutions.

Reasons for Invalidation

The following items invalidate an application. This list is not exhaustive:

  1. Failure to submit a completed application by the due date posted for the application year. Late applications are invalidated.
  2. Failure to follow and meet all academic and process criteria as outlined in the dental hygiene application process.
  3. Failure to complete the criminal background check by the application deadline.
  4. Failure to complete the ATDH test.
  5. Failure to correctly submit and meet subsequent due dates for documentation past the application due date.
  6. Failure to attain a minimum 2.5 GPA in any single dental hygiene prerequisite course and a cumulative 3.3 GPA in all dental hygiene prerequisite courses.
  7. Plagiarism or false representation in any way.
  8. Previous Pierce College Dental Hygiene students, who earned an academic or code of conduct dismissal, may be invalidated or their application points may be reduced up to 10 percent point value at final ranking.

Notification of Acceptance

All applicants will be notified of their offer of acceptance (conditional or unconditional), alternate status, or non-acceptance into the Pierce College Dental Hygiene Program by Pierce College student email sent no later than the fourth Friday in April.