Pre-Dental Hygiene

Pacific University undergraduates who are interested in a career as a dental hygienist may choose to complete a pre-dental health science track in preparation for a dental hygiene program. Pacific University offers a two-year dental hygiene program resulting in a bachelor of science. Pacific also offers several other pre-professional tracks for students.

About Dental Health Science

Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral disease, and provide other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral healthy. Hygienists use a range of equipment, from hand- and powered-tools to x-ray machines. In some states, dental hygienists may also place and carve filling materials, temporary fillings and periodontal dressings.

Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow by 38 percent form 2010 to 2020. The median annual wage of dental hygienists was $70,210 in 2012.

Program & Requirements

An associate’s degree in dental hygiene is the minimum requirement to enter the occupation. Certificates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees also are available, though they are less common. A bachelor’s or master’s degree is usually required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs.

Dental hygiene programs typically include laboratory, clinical and classroom instruction. Hygienists study anatomy, physiology, nutrition, radiography and periodontology.

High school students interested in becoming dental hygienists should take courses in biology, chemistry and mathematics. Some dental hygiene programs also require applicants to have completed at least one year of college.

The School of Dental Health Science at Pacific University offers an entry-level program leading to a bachelor of science in dental health. The program includes two years of dental health courses completed at Pacific University following the completion of prerequisite coursework. Applicants must complete a minimum of 48 semester hours prior to starting the Pacific University program and must meet minimum GPA requirements. Applicants also must complete a minimum of 30 hours of dental observation, at least 10 hours of which must take place in public healthy, such as a public dental clinic, dental school clinic, dental hygiene school clinic, mobile dental van, community health center, hospital, nursing home or prison.

Prerequisites

  • Chemistry (one semester with lab) | CHEM 220
  • Microbiology | BIOL 308 (see advising center for alternates)
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology (with lab) | BIOL 224 and BIOL 240
  • English Composition/Writing | ENGW 201
  • Interpersonal Communication/Speech | MEDA 201
  • Spanish (one semester at college level) | SPAN 101 or higher
  • Psychology | PSY 150
  • Sociology | SOC 101 or SOC 102
  • College level math course, Statistics preferred | MATH 207, PSY 350, or SOC 301
  • Nutrition | EXIP 281
  • Medical Terminology | EXMB 303
  • Arts and Humanities | Eight semester hours in art, language, literature, music, philosophy, religion, ethics, history, media arts, and/or FYS

More information

Pacific University School of Dental Health Science
American Dental Hygienists Association
American Dental Association
American Dental Education Association

Lisa Rowley | Director, School of Dental Health Science
503-352-7252 | lisajrowley@pacificu.edu

Leah Baldwin | Associate Director of Graduate and Professional Admissions
503-352-7224 | leahbaldwin@pacificu.edu