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

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:

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'):

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. 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


  • 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
  • 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.

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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VCC Registrar's Office
1155 East Broadway
Vancouver, B.C., V5T 4V5

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