Pierce College Dental Hygiene students

Frequently Asked Questions

We have provided a quick reference guide for commonly asked questions. Please check here first to see if we have answered your questions before calling or emailing our advising line.

If you do not see your question, please email denthyg@pierce.ctc.edu or call 253-964-6796. You will reach the department Administrative Assistant who will assist in getting your questions and concerns answered and/or refer you to a Dental Hygiene Advisor.


1. Is there anything I can do to ensure getting into the BASDH program?

Entry into the Dental Hygiene program at Pierce College is competitive. It is imperative to follow the application process and meet the academic requirements outlined below and located on the Application Process page.


2. What prerequisite dental hygiene courses do I need to take if I'm not attending Pierce College?

  • If you are a student taking prerequisite dental hygiene courses at a Washington State college/university, first check the Substitute Prerequisite Course Guide to see if we have already identified a course at your institution. Many colleges/universities courses have been pre-approved to meet the prerequisite dental hygiene courses.
  • If an equivalent course is not listed, OR you are completing or using courses from an out-of-state college/university, OR you wish to use an alternate course listed (including Pierce College courses) please follow the process below:
    • Print or save a copy of our Prerequisite Course Descriptions.
    • Make an appointment with your college/university advisor to determine which courses at your institution may qualify or substitute as prerequisite dental hygiene courses.
    • Once you have identified potential course substitutions, submit these courses via our Substitute Prerequisite Course form.
      We usually respond within seven business days to substitute prerequisite course requests, but it can take up to two weeks. Please plan accordingly. There is no other official way to gain approval for prerequisite course substitution.
      Pierce College Dental Hygiene refers both to the University of Washington (UW) Equivalency Guide and the Eastern Washington University's (EWU) Transfer Guide to assist in determining prerequisite course substitutions.
    • Courses approved by Pierce College for transfer credits may not be approved as prerequisites for application to the dental hygiene program.

3. How do I know if I can apply to the Dental Hygiene program?

  • Have you completed or are you completing your prerequisite dental hygiene courses at a higher education, regionally accredited college or university?
  • Will you complete ENGL &102 and CHEM &121 courses, or will have them complete, by the end of fall quarter/semester 2017?
  • Will you complete three of the science/math courses, in addition to CHEM &121, by the end of fall quarter/semester 2017?
  • Will you complete one of the liberal arts courses by the end of fall quarter/semester 2017?
  • Do you have a plan to complete all the prerequisite dental hygiene courses by the end of March 2018?
  • Have you earned a minimum 2.5 GPA in each individual prerequisite dental hygiene course?
  • Is your minimum average GPA for all the prerequisite dental hygiene courses completed to date 3.3 or higher?
  • Have you taken the prerequisite dental hygiene courses only once or have you repeated a course? A third attempt to retake the course renders you ineligible to apply.
  • Is your ENGL &102 and all science and math courses five years current? A course is still eligible if completed in fall quarter/semester 2012 or later.

If you meet the criteria listed in question 9, you are academically eligible to apply to the dental hygiene program.

You will need to continue to meet GPA requirements, complete prerequisite dental hygiene courses, timelines and deadlines, as well as meet other criteria, including a clear criminal history check, the physical and mental capacity to participate in a rigorous course of professional study, attendance of testing dates, etc. to remain a valid applicant/valid entering dental hygiene program student.

4. What are the average GPA and test scores of students accepted into the Dental Hygiene program?

Science GPA
(out of 4.0)
3.82
Non-science GPA
(out of 4.0)
3.79
Health Science Reasoning Test
(out of 30)
23.83
Spatial Test % 83%
Writing Sample Test
(out of 30)
22.17

5. What if I have a bachelors or higher degree already? Will any of my courses be accepted as prerequisites?

  • Contact Dental Hygiene Advising at denthyg@pierce.ctc.edu or call 253-964-6796.
  • Each situation is evaluated individually by the Program Director.
  • You will need to bring your Official Transcript(s) to the meeting with the Program Director.

6. What if I have a degree from another country – a non-USA institution?

Foreign degrees/courses are not recognized for the purpose of eligibility to apply to the dental hygiene program.

7. What if I have a criminal record?

It is the applicant’s responsibility to have a clear criminal background. Pierce College makes no guarantee that an applicant with any criminal record will be offered acceptance or will be eligible for licensure as a dental hygienist post-graduation. Please refer to the Criminal Background Policy on the Application Process page.

8. Will my dental assistant credits transfer?

We do not currently accept dental assisting credits towards the dental hygiene program requirements.

9. What are the licensing exam pass rates for the Pierce college dental hygiene program graduates?

As our Dental Hygiene Program Goals and Outcomes state, “Graduates will be prepared to pass didactic or clinical dental hygiene licensing examinations in the United States.” We are pleased that we have a 100% pass rate of our graduating students on the National Dental Hygiene Board exam, Washington State Law exam, and the Western Regional Examining Board exams for local anesthesia, dental hygiene, and restorative.  

10. Can I apply more than once?

Yes, as long as you meet current application criteria. However, due to the highly competitive nature of the program, students who have been previously dismissed from the program have demonstrated a failure to progress in the profession of Dental Hygiene. Therefore, an offer of acceptance into the program may be denied.

Related Pages