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BSDH - Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene

Prepare for a rewarding career in dental hygiene helping keep smiles healthy and bright every day.

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You must be a licensed registered nurse or have completed an associate degree of nursing to apply for the program.

You must be a licensed registered nurse and have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or a bachelor's degree in a closely related field to apply for this program.

You must be a licensed registered nurse and have completed a Master of Science in Nursing degree to apply for this program.

You must be a licensed registered nurse and have completed a Master of Science in Nursing degree or a master's degree in a healthcare related field.

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Bachelors of Dental Hygiene Program Highlights

<p>Earn your dental hygiene bachelor degree in as few as 34 months</p>

Earn your dental hygiene bachelor degree in as few as 34 months

<p>Practice in technologically advanced skills and simulations labs to help master your skills and build confidence before you step foot in a dental clinic</p>

Practice in technologically advanced skills and simulations labs to help master your skills and build confidence before you step foot in a dental clinic

<p>Make an immediate impact with real patients in our Dental Hygiene Clinic</p>

Make an immediate impact with real patients in our Dental Hygiene Clinic

<p>Get help preparing for your licensure exam with tutoring and one-on-one counseling</p>

Get help preparing for your licensure exam with tutoring and one-on-one counseling

<p>Get career support beyond graduation</p>

Get career support beyond graduation

<p>Flexible BSDH program with multiple start dates throughout the year.</p>

Flexible BSDH program with multiple start dates throughout the year.

Student Life at WCU

Join a diverse community of passionate, dedicated individuals at WCU.  With a culture that feels like a family, you will have all the support you need to be the best you can be. Join a study group to learn from your classmates or get some guidance through peer tutoring sessions. WCU’s class sizes grant you the opportunity to get to know your professors and get insight into the healthcare industry. Find a community that helps you build on your strengths and reach your academic goals.

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Additional Information About our Dental Hygiene Program

The Dental Hygiene Department's mission is to shape the future of dentistry by graduating highly qualified dental hygienists with the knowledge, skills, and values for lifelong learning through excellence in education, patient care, research, community service, public health, faculty, and facilities.

Dental hygienists skills are useful in a variety of settings. Beyond being clinicians in dental offices, dental hygienists employed in public health agencies or community health programs can help assess needs and plan appropriate healthcare programs. In colleges and universities, they can also engage in research and education.1  Our BSDH degree program can help prepare you for the role you want.

WCU Career Services offers dental hygiene career information and career planning advice. Get assistance with everything from resume writing to interview preparation to job leads. While we can't guarantee employment, we can help you prepare to make the most of every dental hygiene career opportunity. It's one-stop support — before and after graduation — to help you advance your education.

Our Faculty

Our dental hygienist in Orange County program provides students with opportunities to learn from an expert group of dental hygiene faculty. Our faculty members are affiliated with international, national, state and local professional organizations. They are active in providing advanced education to practicing dental hygienists and other health professionals at international, national, state, and local conferences, and continuing education events. Many of our faculty members have conducted original research and regularly contribute as authors in influential dental hygiene journals.

1California Employment Development Detailed Guide, Dental Hygienists in California

West Coast University offers a different approach to earning your BSDH degree—with a dental hygienist program you can complete in as little as 34 months. It's a method of learning designed to help you achieve your goals—and make the most of your potential:

  • Focused dental hygienist program - once accepted into the program, you advance from general education coursework to dental hygiene courses, with no waiting period in between.
  • Learn by doing - clinical education begins in a technologically advanced simulation lab and advances into WCU’s Dental Hygiene Clinic.
  • Community service - you will provide supervised care in our no-cost Dental Hygiene Clinic to a diverse patient population who may not otherwise have access to dental hygiene services.
  • Career Services - offers career planning advice and assistance with everything from resume writing to interview preparation.

Our Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association and helps prepare you to become a dental hygienist in as little as 34 months.

Accreditation Information

 The Dental Hygiene program offered at the Orange County campus is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678, 800-621-8099 or (312) 440-4653, Website

The Dental Hygiene program has established the following Program Learning Outcomes. Upon successful completion of the program and as required for licensure, the entry-level dental hygienist will be able to:

  1. Practice professional behavior in the provision of patient care based on an individual risk assessment.
  2. Exhibit critical-thinking skills utilizing self-assessment tasks for professional growth and development leading to lifelong learning.
  3. Demonstrate competent communication skills to effectively interact with diverse population groups.
  4. Provide competent oral health care procedures to individuals at all stages of life as determined by the evidence-based decision-making approach.
  5. Participate in community-based oral health promotion and disease prevention activities.

Dental Hygiene Clinic

WCU provides opportunities for individual learning—from our skills lab to our dedicated community Dental Hygiene Clinic, with over 15,000 patient visits a year.

At WCU, we believe each student needs and deserves exclusive time in the simulation and dental materials lab, as well as in the dental hygiene clinic. Our dental hygiene simulation lab enables students to practice pre-clinical techniques and procedures, which mimic real patient conditions. Once they have progressed, students will provide dental hygiene services to actual patients at the on-site, no-cost Dental Hygiene Clinic.

Simulation Lab

Our Simulation and Dental Materials Lab and the Dental Hygiene Clinic are well-equipped so that WCU students do not have to share, but rather have the simulation unit, dental chair, and radiology equipment for the entire dedicated teaching time.

WCU's Dental Hygiene program is dedicated to having modern dental technology needed for student learning. Students learn various skills and procedures by using a wide range of modern equipment needed for dental hygiene care — available in one place. Additionally, students participate in community outreach. Students are also involved in activities for professional growth through professional membership and portfolio development.

West Coast University has established the following Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Program Learning Outcomes. Upon successful completion of the program and as required for licensure, the entry-level dental hygienist would be able to demonstrate the following:

  1. Practice professional behavior in the provision of patient care.
  2. Exhibit critical thinking skills through evidence-based decision making.
  3. Demonstrate effective communication skills with diverse populations.
  4. Provide competent oral health care to individuals at all stages of life.
  5. Apply public health promotion skills in a variety of settings.
  6. Recognize the importance of lifelong learning and professional growth and development to maintain competence in an evolving health care system.

The objective of the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program is to become competent in the knowledge, skills, and values of dental hygiene, while building upon a liberal arts and science educational background that expands a view of oral health and disparity. This program focuses on the development of dental hygienists as life-long learners and critical thinkers with a commitment to professional leadership.

Upon program completion and passing of the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, the graduate will be eligible to take state and regional licensing exams to become a Registered Dental Hygienist (some additional requirements may be necessary depending on the specific state or regional criteria at the time of the examination).

An undergraduate student applying for admission into West Coast University must:

  1. Participate in a qualitative admissions interview arranged by a University admissions representative;
  2. Submit a completed application for admission;
  3. Submit attestation of high school graduation or its equivalent;
  4. Meet any program-specific entrance requirements as noted in the next section;
  5. Complete an enrollment agreement (must be signed by a parent or guardian if the applicant is under 18 years of age);
  6. Agree to take and successfully complete a four-module Computer Proficiency Requirement by the end of the first semester. (Catalog, p. 13)

Applicants, including those seeking advanced standing, for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene (BSDH) program must:

  1. Complete a minimum of eight (8) hours of observation of at least two dental hygienists in clinical practice. The applicant must have the dental hygienist sign the verification form and the applicant must write a response paper following the stated parameters. Observation hours will not qualify if the license cannot be verified and/or if the applicant observes a dentist or dental assistant. Observation hours are considered as valid for one year;
  2. Pass the Assessment Technologies Institute, LLC (ATI™) Test for Essential Academic Skills (TEAS®) (ATI TEAS) with a minimum Individual Total Score at or above 50.0. The applicant must wait one (1) week to retest between the first and second ATI TEAS exam. An applicant has two attempts at the ATI TEAS exam. If an applicant does not pass the ATI TEAS exam after two attempts, the applicant must wait 6 months for a third attempt with a proof of remediation is also required. Passing ATI TEAS scores are valid for one year.

Selection Process

Dental Hygiene program applicants will be notified of acceptance status once the completed application and supporting documentation have been evaluated and the selection process has concluded. The selection process includes an objective evaluation of:

  1. The ATI TEAS sub-scores based on the means for Category S (maximum points possible are Reading 15, Math 20, Science 25, and English and Language Usage 15) and Individual Total Score; and
  2. The Dental Hygiene Observation verification forms and response paper

Based on a 100 point scale, 75 maximum points from the ATI TEAS and 25 maximum points from the Dental Hygiene Observation documents, applicants are ranked and selected for admission into the Dental Hygiene program. There is no waiting list for subsequent admission. Applicants not selected must reapply and resubmit all required materials.

Learn more about Admissions Requirements here.

Learn more about Tuition and Fees for this program by clicking here.

There’s different ways to finance your education. We can help you find the solution that’s right for you. Click here to learn more.

If you are considering getting your Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene – we invite you to attend an Information Session.

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FAQs
What is a BSDH degree?

A BSDH degree (Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene) helps prepare you for a variety of careers in dental hygiene. WCU's focused dental hygiene program gives you hands-on practical experience in our modernized Dental Materials Lab and the Dental Hygiene Clinic.

How long does it take to become a dental hygienist?

WCU's dental hygiene program can be completed in as little as 34 months. Once accepted into the BSDH program, you progress from general education coursework to dental hygiene courses, with no in-between waiting period.

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