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Dental Hygiene

Earn Your Dental Hygiene Degree!

The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Dental Hygiene degree prepares students to practice entry-level dental hygiene. Dental hygiene students will provide preventive and therapeutic services, and will develop a commitment to the community through extramural opportunities serving diverse populations. The program is a blend of academic and clinical coursework that requires attention to detail and motivation to complete tasks on a timeline. Graduates are employed in private dental offices, hospitals, schools, and clinics within their community.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association grants accreditation to the Phoenix College, Rio Salado College, and Mesa Community College programs. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. 

Commission on Dental Accreditation
211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 440-4653
American Dental Association - Accreditation

State Requirements

The Dental Hygiene program is an in-person program based at Rio Salado's Tempe, Arizona campus. Graduates are eligible for board examination and licensure in all fifty states. Please verify the licensure and certification requirements for the respective state board's website for the most up-to-date information. It is the student's responsibility to verify individual state requirements for licensure.

Check Your State Requirement

Applicants who are accepted and enroll in a MCCCD Dental Hygiene program will be exposed to blood-borne and infectious diseases. The program strictly adheres to established policies and procedures regarding infection control as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Dental Association, The Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

CIPS Code: 51.0602

Program Notes:

  • Students must complete the Basic Science and General Education courses with a grade of B or better as indicated in the Program Prerequisites.
  • Basic Science courses must have been completed within the last five years or as determined by the Program Director.
  • Students must earn a grade of C or better in the Required Courses area within the program.
  • Students should consult with an advisor prior to applying to the program.
  • *Indicates course has prerequisites and/or corequisites.
Admission Criteria:
  • A high school diploma or GED equivalency is required.
  • Ability to fully participate in classroom, laboratory, or clinical setting program activities.
  • Submit current CPR card for Health Care Provider and maintain current status throughout the program.
  • Complete and submit the required proof of immunity and health declaration form signed by a licensed health care provider.
  • Submit to a drug screening and demonstrate negative results.
  • Completion of program prerequisites.
  • Formal application and admission to the program is required.

Background Check Requirements

  • Admission to an Allied Health program requires that students be in compliance with the Maricopa County Community College District Supplemental Background Check policy.
  • Program applications will not be accepted without a copy of an Arizona Department of Public safety Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card. Upon conditional program admission, the student must comply with all requirements of the current MCCCD background check policy.

Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene

Program Prerequisites
The credit hour range is subject to change depending on the students' educational experiences.

A grade of C or better in RDG091.
College Preparatory Reading (3) OR
Eligibility for CRE101* College Critical Reading as indicated by assessment
Fundamental Chemistry (3) AND
Fundamental Chemistry with Lab (1) OR
Completion of higher level Chemistry course OR
One (1) year high school Chemistry
CHM130 & CHM130LL together are: Shared Unique Number Number CHM1130
Biology courses (BIO156 and BIO181) and the EMT/HCC/RES course (EMT/HCC/RES109) may be waived by the Program Director for the student who has one year of high school Biology.
Introductory Biology for Allied Health (4) OR
General Biology (Majors) I (4) Shared Unique Number Number BIO1181 OR
One year of high school biology
EMT/HCC/RES109 CPR for Health Care Provider (0.5) OR
Current CPR certification at the health care provider
Professional rescuer level
Students must complete the following Basic Science courses with a grade of B or better with a cumulative GPA of 3.50:
BIO201* Human Anatomy and Physiology I Shared Unique Number Number BIO2201 4
BIO202* Human Anatomy and Physiology II Shared Unique Number Number BIO2202 4
BIO205* Microbiology Shared Unique Number Number BIO2205 4
Chemistry for Allied Health (3) AND
Chemistry for Allied Health Laboratory (1) OR
Fundamental Organic Chemistry (3) AND
Fundamental Organic Chemistry Laboratory (1)
CHM230 & CHM230LL together are: Shared Unique Number Number CHM2230
Students must complete the following General Education courses with a grade of B or better with a cumulative GPA of 3.25:
First-Year Composition (3) Shared Unique Number Number ENG1101 OR
First-Year Composition for ESL (3) AND
First-Year Composition (3) Shared Unique Number Number ENG1102 OR
First-Year Composition for ESL (3)
Introduction to Human Communication Shared Unique Number Number COM1100  (3) OR
Interpersonal Communication (3) Shared Unique Number Number COM1100 OR
Public Speaking (3) OR
Small Group Communication Shared Unique Number Number COM2271  (3)
MAT112* Mathematical Concepts and Applications (3) OR
Satisfactory completion of higher level Mathematics course
PSY101 Introduction to Psychology Shared Unique Number Number PSY1101 3
SOC101 Introduction to Sociology Shared Unique Number Number SOC1101 3
CRE101* College Critical Reading (3) OR
Equivalent as indicated by assessment
Any approved general education course from the Humanities and Fine Arts area 3


Required Courses: 58
DHE110* Pharmacology 3
DHE112* Oral Pathology 3
DHE115* Emergency Medicine 2
DHE117* Dental Radiography 2
DHE119* Head and Neck Anatomy 3
DHE120* Pre-Clinical Dental Hygiene 6
DHE121* Dental Anatomy, Embryology and Histology 2
DHE125* Dental Radiography Laboratory 1
DHE127* Prevention of Dental Disease 3
DHE132* Dental Hygiene Theory I 3
DHE133* Dental Hygiene Clinic I 3
DHE201* Dental Materials 2
DHE202* Dental Materials Laboratory 1
DHE212* Dental Hygiene Theory II 2
DHE213* Dental Hygiene Clinic II 5
DHE219* Practice Management 2
DHE225* Periodontics 3
DHE227* Dental Anesthesia 2
DHE229* Community Oral Health 3
DHE232* Dental Hygiene Theory III 2
DHE233* Dental Hygiene Clinic III 5
General Education Requirements: 0
General Education Core: 0
First-Year Composition  
Met by ENG101 or ENG107 and ENG102 or ENG108 in the Program Prerequisites area 0
Oral Communication  
Met by COM100 or COM110 or COM225 or COM230 in Program Prerequisites area 0
Critical Reading  
Met by CRE101 or equivalent as indicated by assessment in the Program Prerequisites area 0
Met by MAT112 or satisfactory completion of a higher level mathematics course in Program Prerequisites area 0
General Education Distribution: 0
Humanities and Fine Arts  
Met by any approved general education course from the Humanities and Fine Arts area in Program Prerequisites 0
Social and Behavioral Sciences  
Met by PSY101 and SOC101 in the Program Prerequisites area 0
Natural Sciences  
Met by BIO201 in the Program Prerequisites area 0

Additional Notes

  • ** Individuals interested in applying to the Dental Hygiene program are strongly encouraged to contact Rio Salado College academic advisor at 480.517.8580. Admissions criteria, prerequisites and core courses are subject to change without notice.
  • The total amount of credits required for this degree is 95-106.5.
    Minimum GPA: 2.00