Please note this program is under review. Courses, fees, and admissions requirements are subject to change for September 2024.
What you will learn
A graduate has met the goals of the VCC Dental Hygiene Diploma program based on the Entry-to-Practice Standards and Competencies for Canadian Dental Hygienists* by reliably demonstrating knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the following domains:
Professional: Use elements of the arts and science of dental hygiene in the service of the public such as the application of codes of ethics and professional conduct, the development of safe practice environments, and the responsibility/accountability for decisions and actions appropriate for a self-regulating profession.
Communicator/Collaborator: Use effective verbal, non-verbal, visual, written, and electronic communication methods in the exchange of ideas, opinions and information relevant to dental hygiene practice. As well as influence and work with others to improve the health and well-being of the public.
Critical Thinker: Invoke systematic inquiry, reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making strategies in the provision of all dental hygiene services.
Advocate: Speak, write, or act in support of causes, policies, individuals, or groups that aid to reduce inequities in health status or improve access to health services.
Coordinator: Support client needs and outcomes through the coordination and management of services, actions and resources.
Clinical Therapist: Provide primary, interceptive, therapeutic, preventive, and supportive care procedures that enable individuals and groups to achieve optimal oral health that contributes to overall health.
Oral Health Educator: Apply teaching and learning principles to facilitate the development and expansion of skills, attitudes, knowledge and behaviour which support oral health and general health.
Health Promoter: Use health promotion principles and strategies to enable individuals and groups to increase their control over and to improve their health.
* Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA). Entry-To-Practice Competencies and Standards for Canadian Dental Hygienists. Ottawa, ON: CDHA, 2010. Available from: https://www.cdha.ca/pdfs/Competencies_and_Standards.pdf
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 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'):
- Knowledge of English as demonstrated by one of the following (minimum 6 credits):
- 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.
- 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:
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
- Varicella (Chicken Pox)
- Hepatitis B
- 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. Information, fee payment, and scheduling related to mask fit testing will be provided during the program. Mask fit testing is valid for 1 year and should only be completed when directed during the dental hygiene program.
Information specific to the Dental Hygiene program is available online at www.vcc.ca.
- 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.
- Caring, considerate and empathetic
- Excellent communication abilities
- Digital literacy
- Ability to work well and collaboratively with others
- Interest in health promotion
- Ability to complete tasks that require manual dexterity and fine motor skills
- Self-directed learner
- Attention to detail
- Willingness to receive and apply feedback
- Effective time management and study skills
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.
Program general hours
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. Please contact the Department for details.
|DHYG 2114||Dental Hygiene Care 1||7.5|
|DHYG 2124||Clinical Foundations||6.5|
|DHYG 2134||Professional Practice 1||6|
|DHYG 2144||Oral Health Sciences 1||7|
|DHYG 2214||Dental Hygiene Care 2||8.5|
|DHYG 2224||Clinical Practice 1||8.5|
|DHYG 3244||Oral Health Sciences 2||8.5|
|DHYG 3254||Health Sciences||9.5|
|DHYG 3314||Dental Hygiene Care 3||8|
|DHYG 3324||Clinical Practice 2||6.5|
|DHYG 4344||Oral Health Sciences 3||6.5|
|DHYG 3364||Community Foundations||7|
|DHYG 4414||Dental Hygiene Care 4||8|
|DHYG 3424||Clinical Practice 3||9|
|DHYG 3434||Professional Practice 2||8.5|
|DHYG 4464||Community Practice||8.5|
* This information is intended as a guideline only. Program and course details are subject to change with the approval of VCC's Board of Governors.
Fees and other costs*
0 (0 non-refundable)
Tution deposits are payable usually within two (2) weeks after a Letter of Offer is issued.
|Fee description||Fee Amount||Notes|
10030 - Year 1
10030 - Year 2
0 - Year 3
0 - Year 4
0 - Year 5
|Materials||269||not including textbooks|
|Medical and Dental||550|
|Temporary Medical Insurance||0|
|Program-specific extra fees||0|
- Textbooks – approx. $2,000
- Student kits – approx. $10,000 + tax
* Fees are approximate and subject to change with the approval of VCC's Board of Governors. Students are required to pay any applicable fee increases. Application and assessment fees are non-refundable. Tuition fees include a $300 non-refundable deposit.
Fees listed are for domestic students. For international programs, visit VCC International.
Any refunds are issued according to VCC's refund policy.
Application open/close dates: See When to Apply
Deadline for educational requirements: The Dental Hygiene program is an annual selection based program. If you are applying for September, you must meet all educational requirements, and any in progress courses must be completed in the winter term (January to April) to be eligible for selection for September. Applicants that do not meet the educational requirements cannot be assessed for selection and their application will be cancelled.
Acceptable first-year university courses: If you completed your first-year university level courses in BC, you are strongly encouraged to check the transferability of your courses to VCC in the BC Transfer Guide. Only transferable courses meet the educational requirements. In the BC Transfer Guide, remember to enter the institution you completed your course at in the 'from' field and VCC in the 'to' field.
- Note: If your courses were completed outside of BC, or if you have questions about the transferability of your courses, please call 604.871.7000, option 2 to make an appointment with an Advisor.
Transcript deadlines: Final transcript and in progress transcripts must be received in the Registrar’s Office on or before January 31. Institutions can send official transcripts by mail to VCC, or by email to email@example.com (only official transcripts sent directly by institutions will be accepted). Final transcripts for in progress courses in the Winter term (January to April) must be received by the Registrar’s Office on or before May 24.
- Note: If you are taking your first-year courses at VCC, you do not need to request to have your transcripts sent to the Registrar's Office. Please inform the Registrar's Office that you are studying at VCC by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidate's questionnaire: 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. Final selection is based on a combination of GPA and the questionnaire results.