June 2017 Revised Mission and Goals


The Yakima Valley Community College Dental Hygiene Program will provide a curriculum which reflects the core values of the profession, instills life-long learning appreciation, and promotes student development as caring, clinically proficient and ethical entry-level dental hygienists prepared to serve a diverse community in both private and public settings.


Faculty will implement a student centered, evidence based curriculum that strives to develop student abilities in self and peer assessment and self-directed learning by promoting effective communication, critical thinking, problem solving, professional responsibility, ethical reasoning, and lifelong learning.

Graduates will be prepared for provision of current dental hygiene care, interprofessional collaboration, research, and practice management as outlined in the Dental Hygiene Competencies document.

The faculty will maintain a strong dental hygiene program/college/community liaison mechanism, which prepares and encourages students, faculty, and community to participate interactively.

A diverse population of patients accepted for dental hygiene care will be satisfied with high quality patient-centered and culturally competent care and appropriate dental hygiene patient education for disease prevention and health promotion.

Graduates will be prepared for dental hygiene licensing examinations.

Graduates will be prepared for entry into graduate programs for dental hygiene and other health professions.

In meeting the stated goals, the Dental Hygiene Program further considers:

Providing a positive climate of trust and mutual respect to maintain a sense of personal value.

Affording continual self-assessment and improvement of the dental hygiene curricula, with respect to how the program is meeting the standards set for dental hygiene education.

Through collaborative efforts, seeks to stimulate innovative ideas that will lead to improved public oral health.

Continuing to seek knowledge and education with respect to more effective educational methodologies, including use of computer technology.

Utilizing information technologies to enhance management of information and services to dental clients.

Promoting understanding and enhancement of human diversity with Dental Hygiene patients/clients, program students, staff and faculty, and college colleagues.

Enhancing excellence and student success in the dental hygiene program, thereby enabling graduates to be successful within the dental hygiene profession and encouraging their life-long learning.

Providing a positive climate of trust and mutual respect to maintain a sense of personal value.


The Yakima Valley 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." 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 -2678. The Commission's web address is:​


The dental hygiene curriculum is academically, physically and psychologically demanding as well as rewarding. Dental hygiene students are enrolled full time only, and are often in classes and clinics up to and occasionally exceeding eight hours a day, five days a week. Guest speakers and community outreach events are occasionally planned outside of normally scheduled class times. In addition, students need to study and contact patients in the evening hours. The curriculum in the Dental Hygiene Program is six quarters in length with a summer break between quarters 3 and 4. Because of the rigorous program schedule, outside work is strongly discouraged. Click on the link below to view or print the curriculum sequence.



Upon graduation from the Dental Hygiene program, students earn a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Dental Hygiene.  Degrees in Dental Hygiene for dental hygienists holding a baccalaureate degree are also available. The BASDH Degree prepares graduates for advanced degree programs in Dental Hygiene or related disciplines. 


Winter and spring quarters of the second year, dental hygiene students complete National Board Examinations. Upon completition of the Dental Hygiene Program, the graduate is eligible to take the Central or Western Regional Dental Hygiene Board Examinations, as well as other state and regional dental hygiene examinations. Upon successfully completing these examinations and fulfilling various requirements placed by individual states, the graduate may apply for licensure.


The Dental Hygiene faculty at Yakima Valley College utilize Canvas CMS to enhance all courses and employ active and participatory teaching methodologies. Learning is facilitated by incorporating a variety of methods and strategies to accommodate and enhance diverse learning styles. Teaching strategies include group exercises and projects, discussion, writing, lecture, demonstration, simulation, clinical observation, role playing, case based problem-solving, self-evaluation and self-learning with instructor guidance. Group learning projects and exercises are frequently used to teach critical thinking skills, effective communication, collaboration and teamwork, all of which are most valuable in the job market. The student is ultimately responsible for his/her own learning. Preparation for classes, group exercises and projects is crucial. Learning activities in the classroom are designed with the assumption that the student has come to class well prepared and that he/she has sufficient background knowledge to gain maximum benefit from class time. Students are expected to spend a minimum of two to three hours of preparation/study time for every hour in class.

Learning complex psychomotor skills is an important component of the curriculum. Practice on models and lab experience, with students achieving minimal competence, are utilized prior to attempting procedures on "real" dental patients. Students will qualify as "safe beginners" before being expected to perform skills on patients. Instructors assist students by providing constructive feedback designed to facilitate learning and effective clinical decision making. Both the process of performing procedures and the final result of those processes are assessed by clinical faculty. Individual students learn psychomotor skills in different ways and at different rates. It is important that students recognize individual differences and work progressively toward the accomplishment of individual goals. Sufficient time is allowed for practice and many learning experiences are evaluated as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Minimal competency levels and process evaluation will be part of all preclinical and clinical courses. The goal of clinical evaluation is to provide instruction and feedback to assist the student in utilizing problem solving and decision-making and in working independently with skill and confidence. As the curriculum progresses, students are expected to perform with increased proficiency and efficiency and to acquire more complex clinical skills.

Students will experience diverse teaching styles in clinic and lab. Instructional diversity provides a rich environment for learning. In order to obtain maximum learning in the clinical environment, it is important to learn to appreciate the knowledge, background, and experience of each clinical and laboratory instructor. Initially psychomotor skills are taught with one basic approach describing specific task components. This encourages consistency of teaching and evaluation, minimizing student confusion and frustration. As the student skill level improves, appropriate advanced techniques will be introduced. The program expects that all students will achieve career entry-level skills by the time of graduation.


​Ethics are fundamental and essential in the health professions. Individuals must behave in an ethical manner by demonstrating responsibility for learning and for appropriate professional and personal actions. Students must demonstrate honesty and integrity in interactions with fellow student colleagues, patients, faculty and staff.

Ethical dimensions in the health professions include:

  • Taking responsibility for learning
  • Being accountable for one's own actions
  • Maintaining veracity (truth)
  • Abstaining from wrongdoing
  • Righting wrongdoing that has be committed
  • Addressing others' wrongdoing constructively
  • Maintaining personal integrity
  • Respecting others' rights, views, and confidentiality


Students should have ready access to a computer and printer, and are strongly encouraged to purchase a laptop for classroom use. Academic and clinical courses will be supported through an online course management system (CANVAS) learning management suite, and Panopto lecture capture. Patient scheduling and care are accomplished in a primarily paperless protocol utilizing Eaglesoft® patient management software. The dental hygiene classroom and student study area are equipped with wireless internet access.


Applicants seeking admission to the Dental Hygiene Program should be well informed about the demands of the dental hygiene profession and the challenges of the dental hygiene program. Dental hygiene students must be exceptionally self-motivated, unerringly ethical and professional, exhibit a strong aptitude for sciences, and have good social and interpersonal skills, including the desire to work within group settings.