Dental Hygiene

Program Type

Associate in Applied Science


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About the Program

Our popular dental hygienist program offers career opportunities in hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, higher education institutions, schools, and extended care facilities. As a part of the dental health team, you'll learn about work in private and corporate dental offices where clients are educated on preventing periodontal disease, optimal oral health, and general oral healthcare.

Admission Requirements

Admission is selective and competitive. All required documents must be submitted to the Dental Hygiene Program office on or before March 31 to be reviewed for admission for the fall semester. The Dental Hygiene Program holds information sessions that cover prerequisites and other important admission information. Attendance of a session is required to receive an application packet for the program. 

What can I do with this degree?

Potential Careers & Wages

A career in dental hygiene offers opportunities in multiple settings. Registered Dental Hygienists are part of a dental health team. Dental hygienists work in private and corporate dental offices, where they provide treatment and services that help to prevent oral disease such as dental caries and periodontal disease and educate the client about maintenance of optimal oral health. They also work in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, schools, correctional facilities, health maintenance organizations and higher education institutions where they serve as faculty members.

Program Pathways

Students should meet with an Academic Advisor to develop a clear pathway leading to a seamless transfer experience or transition to the workforce. For additional possibilities that may require an advanced degree or certification, make an appointment with an Academic Advisor.

Visit Academic Advising

Prosepective students are required to attend a virtual information session. Once the information session has been completed, students will receive the program application packet. Visit the college calendar for live session dates or view a recording of the presentation here

If accepted into the program, the following courses or equivalencies must be completed before starting this program:

  1. Biology: BIO 281/282–Human Anatomy and Physiology I/II, or equivalent and BIO 274-Microbiology. Completion of BIO 282 within 5 years. BIO 281/282 must meet a minimum of 2.5 GPA.
  2. Chemistry: CHM 110/210–General, Organic and Biochemistry I/II, or CHM 120-General Chemistry I, or equivalent Chemistry course with lab.
  3. Communications: ENG 101–Composition I, or equivalent.
  4. Fitness, Wellness & Sport: FWS 237–Nutrition for Optimum Living (3 credits as a prereq that must be completed within two years of entering the program)
  5. All prerequisites must be completed with a “C” or higher, unless noted above.


You are encouraged to meet with an Academic Advisor to ensure a seamless pathway from prerequisite courses through the Dental Hygiene Program. The Dental Hygiene Academic Advisor is Amanda Lonsway and she is located in the Health Sciences Center. For more information, please contact Amanda Lonsway at

Graduates are eligible to take two board exams that lead to state licensure. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) under the auspices of the American Dental Association (ADA).

The Associate in Applied Science Degree in Dental Hygiene Program at Rock Valley College meets the state education requirements for a registered dental hygiene license in the state of Illinois. Rock Valley College has not determined if the Rock Valley College Dental Hygiene Program meets the state education requirements in any other state, any U.S. Territory, or the District of Columbia. The following link contains additional information on dental hygienist education, training requirements, and professional licensure.

RVC has partnered with Northern Illinois Universities College of Health and Human Sciences. Eligible RVC graduates may transfer to the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences at NIU. For further information, visit

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