Dental Hygiene


Get hands-on training to provide dental care including examinations, cleaning, polishing, and assessments while working with the public at VCC’s dental clinic.

Tuition: 20060*
Credential: Diploma
Length: 2 0 years
Hours: Full-time
Delivery: Class-based
Program Flyer: Download
Campus: Downtown Downtown
Start Dates: Sep

What you will learn

Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will be able to:

  • Professionalism: Graduates demonstrate a commitment to the health of the public and the profession by integrating high ethical standards, best practices, and legislative requirements.? Competent dental hygienists exhibit professional behaviour, demonstrate a commitment to serving society, integrate professional responsibilities into practice, and demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Evidence-Informed Practice:?Graduates demonstrate a commitment to excellence in practice through critical thinking continuous learning, and application of evidence-informed decision-making.? Competent dental hygienists demonstrate critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning skills; apply and evident-informed approach to decision-making; and use various methods of inquiry.?
  • Communication:?Graduates?demonstrate the ability to form relationships with individuals, families, groups, and communities to facilitate the gathering and sharing of essential information for culturally safe and relevant care. Competent dental hygienists demonstrate effective oral and non-verbal communication, and use written communication effectively.?
  • Collaboration:?Graduates?demonstrate the ability to work as integral members of the healthcare team, working in partnership with others to provide safe, effective and ethical person-, family-, and community-centred approaches to care.? Competent dental hygienists collaborate with people accessing dental hygiene services, oral health professionals, and others.?
  • Practice Management:?Graduates demonstrate the ability to manage a professional practice environment, utilizing organization, administration, and decision-making skills that facilitate high-quality care, efficient use of time and personnel, and enhanced professional and personal satisfaction.? Competent dental hygienists fulfill administrative responsibilities, integrate legislative and professional responsibilities within organizational policies, and engage in entrepreneurial activities.?
  • Prevention, Education, and Health Promotion: Graduates demonstrate an inclusive and intercultural approach to health and wellness. Using health promotion, education, and disease and injury prevention activities, dental hygienists help support other’s ability to achieve and maintain optimal oral health.? Competent dental hygienists lead the development of health literacy and oral self-care abilities; engage in prevention, education, and health promotion activities; and engage in advocacy to address oral health inequities.?
  • Clinical Therapy: Graduates demonstrate the ability to provide preventive, therapeutic, and supportive dental hygiene care. Using the ADPIE framework to support safe and comprehensive person-centred care for diverse people across the lifespan.? Competent dental hygienists assess oral and general health status, formulate a dental hygiene diagnosis, create a dental hygiene care plan, implement the dental hygiene care plan, and evaluate the effectiveness of dental hygiene care.?

A graduate has met the goals of the VCC Dental Hygiene Diploma program based on the Entry-to-Practice Competencies for Canadian Dental Hygienists* by reliably demonstrating knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the domains set by the 

* Federation of Dental hygiene Regulators of Canada (FDHRC).  Entry-To-Practice Canadian Competencies for Dental Hygienists.  Available FDHRC, 2021.? Available from: 

What to expect

Graduates of VCC’s Dental Hygiene diploma program are eligible to write the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB) examination. NDHCB certification is required to become a Registered Dental Hygienist through the BC College of Oral Health Professionals (BCCOHP) and practice dental hygiene in B.C. (additional fees apply).

The Dental Hygiene Program integrates the Entry-to-Practice National and Provincial standards and the National Competencies. These support the dental hygiene process of care by more clearly articulating the abilities inherent in the assessment, diagnosis/decision-making, planning, implementation and evaluation of dental hygiene services.

There is a focus on biomedical sciences, dental hygiene theory of practice, and behavioural sciences in the program. Instruction builds upon the knowledge and abilities of the first year university pre-requisite courses and introduces more advanced community and client care entry-to-practice level concepts in the final year.

Learning is fostered through seminars, lectures, labs, clinical practice sessions, group work, independent study, problem based learning, community outreach, and clinical rotations.

Students have opportunities to apply knowledge and practice various abilities while working with the public in the VCC Dental Clinic. In addition, rotations to a wide variety of health care and community facilities are organized for students to learn and apply abilities and knowledge in context.

Course work focuses on the development of informed decision making skills, communication skills and intra- and interprofessional teamwork strategies; as well as proficiency in self and peer evaluation. Other important curriculum threads are development of evidence-based inquiry skills, critical thinking and problem solving abilities. This focus is designed to foster the development of professionalism, a commitment to life long learning, and dedication to a self-regulating helping profession.

Admission requirements


Admission to the Dental Hygiene Program is through a competitive selection process. Applicants must have successfully completed at least 30 credits in first-year university level courses, or equivalents, with an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 ('B'):

  • ENGL 1100 & ENGL 1200, or equivalent
  • Minimum 6 credits in Human Anatomy & Physiology (must include labs):
  • Minimum 6 credits in Chemistry (must include labs):
  • 6 credits in Psychology:
  • 3 credits in Statistics:
  • 3 credits in Electives

Where the academic standing of applicants who have completed 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year courses in the required subject(s) is higher than that of the 1st year courses, the higher grade will be considered.

Each year the top 40 applicants with the highest grade point average will be selected to participate in an online candidate's questionnaire which assesses their knowledge of the dental hygiene profession. Those selected will be contacted by the Dental Hygiene department at the beginning of March with information and next steps.

If your educational documents are not from a Canadian or American institution, you must submit an evaluation of foreign credentials.  A comprehensive evaluation report, from the International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) located at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) including an ICES VCC Dental Hygiene Supplemental Report is required.

Upon Acceptance:

  • A current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Health Care Provider (CPR HCP) or Basic Life Support (BLS) certification. Annual renewal is required while in the program and for registration as a dental hygienist in British Columbia.
  • Criminal Records Check (CRC): Students in this program are required to complete a CRC. The CRC must be completed according to VCC's Criminal Record Check instructions. Students whose CRC results indicate they pose a risk to vulnerable populations will not be able to complete the requirements of the program (e.g. practicums) or graduate. 
  • Submission of a recent negative tuberculosis (TB) test. If the test is positive, submission of a negative TB chest x-ray report is required.
  • VCC School of Health Sciences Immunization record must be completed. Immunizations in the following are strongly recommended and may be required for practice placement in the program:
    • Diphtheria
    • Tetanus
    • Pertussis
    • Poliomyelitis
    • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
    • Varicella (Chicken Pox)
    • Hepatitis B
    • Meningococcal
    • Influenza Vaccination (annually)
    • COVID-19 Vaccination
  • N95 mask fit testing will be required prior to clinical rotations to health authority locations during the final year of the program. Mask fit testing is valid for 1 year and should only be completed when directed during the dental hygiene program. Information, fee payment, and scheduling related to mask fit testing will be provided during the program. 


  • This program is available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. See program options for international students at VCC International.
  • Applicants who self-identify as Indigenous are strongly encouraged to connect with VCC’s Indigenous Education and Community Engagement team to learn more about VCC’s Indigenous Enrolment policy, application preparation/completion, program advising, and a range of other individualized services.
  • Applicants must be 16 years of age or older or a graduate of a secondary school. (Some exceptions may apply.)
  • Applicants must submit official transcripts and other documents as required by their course or program. Seats are offered to eligible applicants with completed applications, in order of application completion date (except for programs with competitive admissions). A complete application includes an application form, evidence of educational pre-requisites (e.g. transcripts), any required supporting documents (e.g. language proficiency, audition video), and the required deposit or fee payment. If you do not meet the requirements for the term applied, your application may be cancelled.

Missing prerequisites? Learn more about VCC's tuition-free academic upgrading or English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, or discover which university transfer options are right for you.

Recommended Characteristics

  • Caring, considerate and empathetic
  • Good interpersonal communication abilities
  • Digital literacy
  • Ability to work well and collaboratively 
  • Interest in health promotion and community service
  • Ability to complete tasks that require manual dexterity and fine motor skills
  • Willingness to receive and apply feedback

Cautions:  Students must be physically and psychologically able to attend to the rigors of the program and perform the fine psychomotor skills needed to practice as a dental hygienist. The physical demands of the profession may worsen back, wrist or shoulder problems. Materials used in oral health care may affect persons living with conditions such as latex sensitivity or other allergies.  Students are advised that Fitness to Practice guidelines are established by the BC College of Oral Health Professionals to ensure that dental hygiene practice is carried out in a competent, safe, and ethical manner.

Note: Students are expected to have regular access to email and internet services and the capability to print necessary documents. In addition, some vehicular travel is required between the VCC Downtown campus and community agencies for rotation requirements.

Students will be required to submit proof to the department of a recent dental examination from a licensed British Columbia dentist. It is preferred that your dental and dental hygiene healthcare be complete and current.

Courses *

Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the exception of community outreach experiences. Students will be advised of their community outreach hours once registered and attending the program.

Prior learning assessment and recognition

Students may request formal recognition of prior learning attained through informal education, work, or other life experience, including Indigenous ways of knowing. Credits may be granted to students who are able to sufficiently demonstrate the learning outcomes of specific courses.

PLAR is available for the following course:

DHYG 2144 Oral Health Sciences 1 - see Course Outline for details.

Tuition and fees may still apply to PLAR candidates.

See Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition policy for more information. 

Fees and other costs *

Tuition Deposit

0 (0 non-refundable)

Tution deposits are payable usually within two (2) weeks after a Letter of Offer is issued.

Fee descriptionFee AmountNotes
Application fee36
Tuition Tuition 20060
Student union256
College initiative228
Materials269 not including textbooks
Campus resource402
Tools (deposit)30
Coverall (deposit)0
Uniform (deposit)30
Medical and Dental 550
Temporary Medical Insurance 0
U-PASS 840
Program-specific extra fees0
Textbooks or other supplies may be required for this program. For information and prices, visit the VCC Bookstore.

Additional costs:

  • Textbooks – approx. $2,000
  • Student kits – approx. $10,000 + tax

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Fill out a PDF form and mail to:
VCC Registrar's Office
1155 East Broadway
Vancouver, B.C., V5T 4V5

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