Dental Hygene Students

Bachelor Degree Dental Hygiene Program


Why Dental Hygiene? Why West?

West's dental hygiene program has been among the most respected in the country since its inception. The dental Hygiene program was originally started in 1969 at Los Angeles City College. The program then moved to West Los Angeles College in 1978. The first graduating class was in 1971. The dental hygiene program has offered an Associate of Science Degree for over forty-six years.

In 2016, the program started a four-year (two years of GE and two years of DH) full-time Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Program. In 2018, twenty-eight students graduated with their first Bachelor's degree from California Community College.  Since then, the college has awarded more than one hundred fifty BSDH degrees (As of 2023).

In 2018, a One-year full-time ONLINE Bachelor of Science Completion Program (AS to BS program) was also started for licensed dental hygienists to complete Bachelor's degrees. Since its inception, seventy-three students have been awarded BSDH degrees (As of 2023).

West also offers the Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP) program since 2007 for those who are interested in serving the community in alternative settings.

West's Dental Hygiene Program is affiliated with UCLA School of Dentistry. The students serve diverse populations in our own dental clinic, Veterans Administration Dental Clinics, Free Clinic of Simi Valley, Southbay Children's Health Center, and South Central Family Health Center.

Dental hygienists provide primary care to patients to maintain their oral health and prevent oral disease. Dental hygienists enjoy excellent job prospects for the foreseeable future, with a 20 percent job growth for the next ten years. (source: Labor Statistics) Dental hygienists work in general and specialty dental offices that offer many different types of preventative services, including radiology, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, orthodontics, and oral surgery. Other career options include education, sales, administration, and consulting. Dental hygienists earn an excellent income, with median, full-time wages reaching almost $80,000 annually, often with medical benefits, paid vacation, and sick leave.

Application for Spring 2025 is now open. 

https://forms.office.com/r/hHinNJMWNX

Information Session Attendance is required for all applicants. 

Please join the next information session via Zoom: Information Sessions

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene provides the opportunity to enter into a variety of dental health positions in teaching, research, administration, public health, private industry and other areas of hygiene practice, as well as application for entry into degree programs such as Master’s in Dental Hygiene, Public Health, Oral Biology or Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice.


Information Sessions

Information sessions are provided throughout the year, at least once a month basis, through remote conference. Check the information session schedule link.


The upper-division dental hygiene curriculum is planned sequentially to be completed in two years. Courses are open only to students accepted into the Dental Hygiene Program, who have completed all CSU or IGETC General Education Breadth Requirements for certification and all dental hygiene pre-requisite courses.

The application is available from the Dental Hygiene Application page. The application deadline is specified for each cohort.

The program follows a cohort model, with students accepted each Fall semester and Spring semester.

Mandatory program orientation (Voc Ed 407) is held during Winter and Summer intersessions.

For more information on admission to the BS in Dental Hygiene program, pre-requisite coursework, and required courses, use the navigation tabs on the upper left-hand side of this page.

PLEASE NOTE: Before applying to the Dental Hygiene Program, you must register as a West Los Angeles College Student.

Apply to West

Licensing Exams

Completing the Dental Hygiene program qualifies students to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and a Dental Hygiene Clinical Examination for licensure. The California State Licensing Board requires the submission of official fingerprinting (Live Scan); a license may be denied if a person has been convicted of a felony.

Upon successfully completing the Dental Hygiene Program at West Los Angeles College, graduates must pass the National Board of Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) to become licensed in California. Our graduate passing rate is high for NBDHE, leading to their licensure with the Dental Hygiene Board of California (DHBC).  Graduates who wish to obtain a license outside California will be required to take the clinical examination.  West Los Angeles College hosts the ADEX mannequin examination, and the graduates who took this exam were successfully passing the exam.

For more information about licensing requirements, contact the Dental Hygiene Board of California (DHBC), 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1350, Sacramento, CA 95815, or online at www.dhbc.ca.gov. Program Faculty will guide students licensing requirements throughout the program.

Affiliated Institutions

West LA College's Dental Hygiene program is affiliated with other prestigious institutions in Los Angeles. These connections offer our students excellent learning and networking opportunities. Dental Clinic facilities are in the UCLA Health Science Center, The Wilson-Jennings-Bloomfield UCLA Venice Dental Center, the VA Greater LA Healthcare System, Southbay Children's Dental Clinic and Free Clinic of Simi Valley.

Cost

The enrollment fee for upper-division bachelor degree program courses is $130 per unit, for California residents.

In addition to West Los Angeles College admission fees, dental hygiene students will need to purchase a professional instrument kit, textbooks, pay professional dues, malpractice insurance, as well as uniforms and other supplies. The cost for these additional items is approximately $13,000* for the first year, and approximately $6,000* for the second year. Payment is due at the end of the July, before the start of the fall semester, each year. Please note, no refunds for equipment or instruments will be issued after two weeks of the program start date. Estimated total cost of the program (tuition) for California residents is approximately $10,000.00* for enrollment fees.

*Fees are subject to change.

Financial Aid is available for qualifying students and may be used to offset these additional costs. 98% of our students receive State, Federal, or private financial aid, or participate in the Board of Governors' Fee Waiver Program. For more information on financial aid, contact the West Los Angeles College Office of Financial Aid via email at financialaid@wlac.edu or by telephone at (310) 287-4532 for more information. We highly encouraged everyone to apply FAFSA before applying the dental hygiene program regardless of the acceptance. For more information, visit the FAFSA website.

Bachelor of Science Program Projections

  • The number of applications to the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Program is projected to double (200+ applications).
  • Based on current trends and college capacity, WLAC began the first BSDH cohort in Fall 2016, two years prior to SB850 regulations, and it is projected to award over 300 Bachelor Degrees by 2023, 5 years prior to SB850 regulations. Program Projections

Employment Data

  • The Labor Market Information projects the following growth rate in the dental hygiene profession: 33% nationally, 23% in California and 19% in Los Angeles County.
  • O-Net Online projects a bright outlook for dental hygiene with a 22% or more increase in employment.
  • The WLAC Dental Hygiene Graduate Survey shows 100% employment in the dental field.
  • The most current Labor Market Information of the Dental Hygienist is available from LMI Data

Accreditation

  • In accordance with SB 850 Regulations, LACCD, WLAC and the Dental Department will comply with accreditation standards. Support Document: SB850 Comparative Analysis
  • West Los Angeles College CTE programs received commendations from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. ACCJC Accreditation.
  • The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) accredits the Dental Hygiene Program and Curriculum.

Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)

The West Los Angeles College Program in Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of "approval without reporting requirements" in 2017 - Accreditation Standards for Dental Hygiene Education Programs. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.

The Commission's web address is www.ada.org/en/coda

Educational Pathways

  • The BSDH Proposed Pilot Program/Curricula complies with SB 8540, Chapter 747, Article 3, Section 78042 (d2). No transfer tracks to CSU/UC. Graduates complete over 120 units and are awarded an AS degree in Dental Hygiene without transferability to a major. Support Document: SB850 Comparative Analysis
  • The LACCD Regional Transfer Pathway will provide students from all (9) LACCD colleges and other colleges access to the baccalaureate degree.
  • Upon completion of the General Education and Science Pre-requisites (60+ units) at LACCD colleges and other colleges, students will feed into the LACCD-WLAC Bachelor Dental Hygiene Program (61+ units). Students will be awarded a Bachelor Degree for completion of the Dental Hygiene Program without adding any additional courses or units.
  • After completion of the BSDH, graduates will have a direct pathway to the University California, San Francisco (UCSF) Masters Degree program and other Masters programs. Support Document: UCSF Pathway
  • The college will explore the opportunity to grant past graduates a BSDH in accordance with the California Educational Code and ACCJC guidelines.

Student Diversity

  • The West Los Angeles College Dental Hygiene Student Demographic Analysis shows a diverse student population, with 56% White, 23% Hispanic, 11% Asian, and 10% African American/Black.
  • Support Document: Student Demographic Analysis (Cohort 2013-2015 and Cohort 2014-2016)

Bachelor Program Approval Letter

2015 CA Community Colleges, Chancellor's Office Final Letter of Program Approval

On October 23, 2015, In accordance with Senate Bill 850, the California Community College Chancellor's Office granted approval for WLAC to offer a bachelor degree in dental hygiene. On January 22, 2016, the substantive change for the bachelor degree program was approved by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The college granted the last Associate of Science (AS) degree in dental hygiene in spring 2017, and archived the two-year AS degree.

On October 6, 2021, Governor approved Assembly Bill 927, which would extend the operation of the statewide baccalaureate degree pilot program indefinitely.

Contact Information

Location

MSB 100

Contact

Health Science Office
Email: wlac-healthsci@wlac.edu
Phone: (310) 287-4464


MSB 105

Lisa Kamibayashi, RDH, MSDH
Program Director
Email: kamibalt@laccd.edu
Phone: (310) 287-4457