Dental student working with mannequin on x-rays

Dental Hygiene Program

The Dental Hygiene program teaches students how to provide comprehensive oral health care services in a variety of clinical and professional settings from private practices, hospitals and health departments to colleges, dental-related businesses and health maintenance organizations. Through dental hygiene courses, students will learn how to monitor a patient's dental health history, examine teeth and oral structures including tissues, conduct an oral cancer screening, plan and complete dental hygiene treatments and control of disease and educate and promote overall health.

The program consists of five semesters in length. A minimum cumulative 3.0 grade point average is required. The Dental Hygiene Program Policy and Procedures Manual outlines the professional and ethical standards you will need to follow while enrolled in the program.

Upon successful completion and passing of the National Dental Hygiene Examination and Regional Board Examination, students are eligible to apply for mandatory state licensure. 

The Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and affiliated with the American Dental Hygienists' Association.

In order to apply, you must follow specific admission criteria before being admitted into the program and follow the admission checklist located in the Dental Hygiene admission packet. Due to the high volume of qualified in-district applicants and following COD policy, 100 percent of the accepted applicants have been in-district residences.

First Step to Apply - Attend an Advising Session


After you have been accepted into the program, information regarding a mandatory 2-part orientation will be sent to you. Both parts are mandatory for admissions into the dental hygiene program.

Part One: Zoom May Meeting

Due date for the following will be discussed at the Zoom meeting:

  • All health requirements including Castle Branch Chart review to be completed. Do not begin until instructed to do so.
  • Background check ordered and results available
  • Drug test ordered and results available

All submissions made to the college and college processes regarding admissions to the dental hygiene program MUST be submitted early so all decisions surrounding your continued admissions to the dental hygiene program can be completed.

If the deadline for the above is not met for any reason, your position will automatically be forfeited and the next student on the alternate list will be contacted. The deadline of the above is firm.

Part Two: On Campus July Meeting

Check back for further information on the July meeting.

Determine Your Path

A dental hygiene career offers opportunities to help people through clinical, educational and therapeutic services in order to prevent disease and promote good health.

You want to attend a credible college that stands out from the rest. At COD, you'll discover:

  • Small class sizes that ensure students receive personalized attention.
  • Dedicated instructors with years of professional experience.
  • Instruction utilizing the Dental Hygiene Clinic which consists of state-of-the-art equipment used in modern dental offices.
  • The opportunity to treat real patients before graduating and finding employment.
  • An excellent pass rate for national and regional board examinations.
  • Affordable programs to help students achieve success without creating overwhelming debt or draining a savings account.

Dental Hygiene

The Dental Hygiene, Associate in Applied Science degree program teaches students how to provide comprehensive oral health care in a variety of settings.  

The Dental Hygiene Clinic at College of DuPage provides state-of-the-art educational facility and hands-on experience to students while also providing dental hygiene services to the community. Dental Hygiene students are supervised by licensed dental hygiene instructors and clinical dentists.

If a patient presents with dental disease beyond the scope of our students' clinical abilities, a proper referral will be given to the patient so their dental disease can continue to be treated elsewhere. If a patient qualifies to be treated in the COD Dental Hygiene Clinical, the patient must be aware that multiple 3-hour appointments will be required. 

COD Stories

Vraj Patel

"Through hands-on experiences in clinical rotations, I gained practical skills and valuable real-world experience. The supportive learning environment, including tutoring and academic advising, helped me overcome challenges and set academic goals." - Vraj Patel

Vraj's COD Story

COD Stories

Roxanne Peterson

"I never thought college was a possibility for me because I have dyslexia, making school fairly difficult. College of DuPage has transformed this fear into a learning opportunity." - Roxanne Peterson

Roxanne's COD Story

COD Stories

SUnil Joshua

"The Dental Hygiene program is the best program to be in, not just in terms of a high board pass rate but also in terms of becoming a true dental hygiene professional, armed with great skills, knowledge, confidence and education." - Sunil Joshua

Sunil's COD Story

Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in the Dental Hygiene program is to read the Dental Hygiene admissions packet. The packet contains an admission checklist that you will need to follow in order to be eligible for admission.

Program Costs

Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a pathway based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

Dental Hygiene Program graduates will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of written and oral communication
  • Reveal the ability to properly and completely document and record findings and treatments properly and completely in patient records.
  • Demonstrate the ability to determine appropriate treatment protocol for patients
  • Show evidence of having knowledge of the structures of the head and neck and dental anatomy relating to the proper treatment of a patient
  • Demonstrate knowledge of dental hygiene sciences relating to patient assessment, patient treatment, and patient evaluation
  • Show knowledge of the prevention of disease transmission and the use of proper infection control policies and procedures
  • Show the use of caries preventive materials such as fluoride and sealants
  • Present knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of dental materials
  • Demonstrate knowledge of radiation sciences including radiation physics, biology, radiation protection
  • Demonstrate the ability to expose, process and interpret dental radiographs
  • Demonstrate the ability to incorporate the principles of nutrition and biochemistry into dental hygiene patient care.
  • Demonstrate the ability to carry out critical steps in the prevention, preparation, early recognition and/or appropriate management of common medical emergencies seen in the dental office.
  • Show evidence of having knowledge of periodontal anatomy and the physiology and etiology of periodontal disease.
  • Demonstrate the clinical procedures associated with the management of periodontal disease and maintenance of periodontal health.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the necessary research methodologies and statistical analysis needed in the dental hygiene clinical setting.
  • Demonstrate the ability to create, implement and evaluate a dental health care program in the community.
  • Show evidence of knowledge of the classifications and varieties of common drugs used by potential dental patients along with knowing the pharmacologic effects and adverse reactions
  • Demonstrate the ability to administer local anesthetic properly.
  • Exhibit knowledge of the pharmacokinetics of local and general anesthetic agents and their use.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the professional role as health care provider and member of the dental team.

College of DuPage has several dental hygiene transfer agreements in place with four-year colleges and universities to save you time, money and make the transfer process easier.

Many of these agreements with other colleges and universities have specific course requirements and a pre-determined course plan that needs to be followed to be eligible to transfer. Contact a program faculty member or academic advisor to learn more as course requirements vary by institution.


Dental Hygiene Student Testimonials

Career Information

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your frequently asked questions regarding the Dental Hygiene program.

We strongly advise applicants take as many or all of the general education requirements due to the rigorous schedule of the program. English 1101 is a prerequisite course; however, it is not calculated into the minimum 12 point science merit evaluation. All prerequisite courses must be completed by the deadline date of each year.

No, applicants are not required to have dental experience. However, we strongly recommend shadowing in a dental office.

All applicants MUST take the HESI A2 Examination prior to application to the program. Applicants are only allowed to take the examination twice per application year. If you score above 50 percent in all five categories of the test, you should not need to retake the test. HESI testing must be completed within five years of applying to the program in order for it to be valid for application purposes.

 Due to the intensity of the program, it is recommended that students work a maximum of 10 to 14 hours per week.

Students accepted into the program are not exempt from any courses within the Dental Hygiene program. Any applicant who applies to the program and has not taken the prerequisite science courses within five years of application to the program must retake these courses. Due to U.S. accrediting guidelines from the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation, no dental coursework can be transferred to the Dental Hygiene program.