Dental Hygiene

Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene is the science and practice of the recognition, treatment, and prevention of oral diseases.

The dental hygienist is a preventive oral health professional who has graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program in an institution of higher education; is licensed in dental hygiene; and works collaboratively with other health care professionals to provide educational, clinical research, administrative, and therapeutic services supporting total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.

Dental Hygiene Clinic Safety Protocols

Patient safety is important to us! This video describes safety protocols in place at the Dental Hygiene Clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide for the safety of patients. Our clinic provides dental exams, teeth cleaning, x-rays and fillings.

YVC Dental Clinic looking for patients

YVC’s Dental Hygiene Program provides dental exams, teeth cleaning, x-rays, and fillings. Nominal fees apply and state insurance is accepted. Adults, teens, and children are eligible for services. Information and services are available in both English and Spanish. Prospective patients must call 509.574.4917 to schedule an appointment. Students are always looking for potential patients.

The Weston D. Brown Dental Hygiene Clinic is located on YVC’s campus at 1015 S. 16th Ave, Yakima, 98902.


Program information

Commission on Dental Accreditation – Allied Dental Education Programs

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 Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) formally evaluates accredited programs at regular intervals. The complete standards can be found on the CODA website.

Comprehensive site visits based on a self-study are routinely conducted every seven years. The United States Department of Education (USDE) procedures require accrediting agencies to provide an opportunity for third-party comment, with respect to institutions or programs scheduled for review. Currently, the Yakima Valley College BASDH program is fully accredited by the Commission.

A complaint is defined by the Commission as one alleging that a Commission-accredited educational program, a program which has an application for initial accreditation pending, or the Commission may not be in substantial compliance with Commission standards or required accreditation procedures.

The Commission will review complaints that relate to a Commission-accredited education program’s compliance with the accreditation standards. The Commission is interested in the sustained quality and continued improvement of dental and dental-related education programs, but does not intervene on behalf of individuals or act as a court of appeal for treatment received by patients or individuals in matters of admission, appointment, promotion or dismissal of faculty, staff or students.

The Commission strongly encourages attempts at informal or formal resolution through the program’s or sponsoring institution’s internal processes prior to initiating a formal complaint with the Commission.

Accreditation Review

Yakima Valley College’s Dental Hygiene Program is currently participating in the accreditation process through the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). CODA formally evaluates accredited programs, like YVC’s, at regular intervals. The complete standards can be found on the CODA website.

Third-party comments may be submitted by interested parties such as faculty, students, program administrators, Commission consultants, specialty and dental-related organizations, patients and consumers. Comments regarding the Dental Hygiene Program may be made until February 24, 2023. Third party comments should be emailed to the appropriate Commission staff noted below; comments should not be sent to the Commission office via the US Postal Service. All comments must be related to accreditation standards for the discipline and required accreditation policies.

Commission Address
Commission on Dental Accreditation
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-2678

Commission Contacts
Allied Dental Education
Jamie Asher Hernandez

Site Visit Coordination
Bernadette Molina

A copy of the accreditation standards for Dental Hygiene Programs and/or the full policy on third party comments may be obtained from the Commission at the above address or by calling 1-800-621-8099 extension 4653.

A site visit with accreditors will be held April 27-28, 2023.

Additional Information: All comments submitted must pertain only to the students relative to the particular program being reviewed or policies and procedures used in the accreditation process. Comments will be screened by Commission staff for relevancy. Only signed comments will be considered. For comments not relevant to these issues, the individual will be notified that the comment is not related to accreditation and, where appropriate, referred to the appropriate agency. For those individuals who are interested in submitting comments, requests may be made to the Commission office.

All relevant comments will have signatures removed and will then be referred to the program at least fifty (50) days prior to the site visit for review and response.

Selection Procedure

A limited number of student positions are available in the Dental Hygiene program. We currently have openings for 18 students for the next enrollment cycle.

To be eligible for selection consideration, eight prerequisite courses (to include five Natural Sciences prerequisite courses) must be completed by the end of Winter quarter of the year of application. Subsequent to program application, selection is based on cumulative GPA in Dental Hygiene prerequisite courses (historically, above a 3.5 GPA), number of prerequisite courses completed, dental experience and education, ability in a second language, extracurricular experiences and appropriate standardized tests.

Dental Hygiene students must possess skills essential to performing dental hygiene functions as outlined in the Dental Hygiene application information packet.

The selection process is reviewed each year.

Admission Requirements

Completion of prerequisite courses does not guarantee admission into the Dental Hygiene program.

Application forms and all required records (including official transcripts) must be submitted to the ADEA DHCAS by the first Friday in February for an applicant to be considered for fall entry.

Transfer applicants must also apply to Yakima Valley College for general admission, pay the $30.00 application fee, and submit official transcripts to the Registrar’s office. This applies to any student who has not attended YVC in four quarters, previous to the application deadline. Special conditions apply if you have attended summer quarter at YVC. You may need to still submit an application to the college and pay the application fee, as summer quarter enrollment does not always require an application. To apply for admission to YVC, visit Admissions. Please pay attention to the important dates and deadlines as those may impact your transcript evaluation timeline.

Dental Hygiene Program Application Process

Yakima Valley College Dental Hygiene admissions/selection procedures are reviewed on a yearly basis which closes at 11:59 pm EST on the first Friday in February.

The Dental Hygiene Program at Yakima Valley College participates in ADEA DHCAS® (ADEA Dental Hygiene Centralized Application Service). Applicants are invited to apply via ADEA DHCAS to provide the program with accurate, streamlined, and uniform data.

Complete the online application, upload required documents, and send $25.00 to the dental hygiene program by 11:59 pm EST on the first Friday in February.  Application fees are non-refundable.

Transfer students must also apply for admission to Yakima Valley College and submit official transcripts to the Registrar’s office.  To apply for admission to YVC, visit Admissions. Please pay attention to the important dates and deadlines as those may impact your transcript evaluation timeline.

  • Complete the ADEA DHCAS online application including all required documents and official transcripts.
  • Submit $25.00 processing fee to the YVC Dental Hygiene Program.
  • Apply to Yakima Valley College and submit official transcripts to the Registrar’s office (transfer students, only.)
  • If additional college courses are completed after submission of the online DHCAS application, current official transcripts must be forwarded to the YVC Registrar and directly to the YVC Dental Hygiene Program.

Applications need to be submitted to DHCAS by by 11:59 pm EST on the first Friday in February.
Review of Applications begins the first Friday in February.
Applicants will be notified by the fourth Friday in April.

The  ADEA Dental Hygiene Centralized Application Service (ADEA DHCAS) opens for applications on November 1. 

The following forms must be completed and uploaded to DHCAS by the first Friday in February.

HSRT – Health Sciences Reasoning Test

Applicants must complete the Health Sciences Reasoning Test. Call 509.574.4916 to register for the test. ($15 testing fee required) Upon request, the YVC Dental Hygiene department will forward HSRT results to other Dental Hygiene programs at no additional charge.


  • Second language skills or competence in American Sign Language must be assessed by completion of the ALTA test when applicable.
    • Applicants need not be fluent in a second language. Various skill levels can be assessed.
    • Call 509.574.4916 to register for the test and for fee information
  • Applicants must be proficient in reading, writing and speaking English.

Attention Applicants with prerequisites scheduled for Winter Quarter

Attention Applicants with prerequisites scheduled for Winter Quarter Official confirmation of enrollment for winter quarter must be submitted with application materials.​ In the event changes are made in winter quarter courses, please revise course plan on DHCAS and notify the Dental Hygiene department immediately by e-mail Applicants must meet all college admissions requirements, college policies and procedures.

Incomplete files will not be processed.

Application Timeline

First Friday in February.

  • Submit completed application online and submit all required documents by 11:59 pm EST on the first Friday in February.

First Friday in April

  • Students who have remaining prerequisite courses to complete during spring quarter must submit a copy of spring quarter registration form.
  • Upload Winter quarter grade on DHCAS. Request official transcripts be sent to DHCAS for verification. (If transcripts are issued under a name different than the one referred to in the application process, it is the applicant’s responsibility to request the sending institution include the current applicant name on the transcript.)

Fourth Friday in April

  • Applicants receive notification regarding the status of applications.
  • Applicants may be offered admission, placed on an alternate list (order of placement is not published), or denied admission.

First Friday in July

  • Submit official Spring quarter transcripts directly to the Dental Hygiene department. (If transcripts are issued under a name different than the one referred to in the application process, it is the applicant’s responsibility to request the sending institution include the current applicant name on the transcript.)

First Friday in September

  • Submit official Summer quarter transcripts directly to the Dental Hygiene department. (If transcripts are issued under a name different than the one referred to in the application process, it is the applicant’s responsibility to request the sending institution include the current applicant name on the transcript.)


  • In order to be considered for the selection process, all documents must be uploaded to DHCAS no later than the first Friday in February.
  • To be considered official, all Spring and Summer transcripts must be received by the Dental Hygiene Department in sealed, official school envelopes.
  • If transcripts are issued under a name different than the one referred to in the application process, it is the applicant’s responsibility to request the sending institution include the current applicant name on the transcript.

Selection Process

Consistent with accreditation standards for dental hygiene education programs, selection is based on specific criteria and procedures.

There is no priority waiting list for admission into the Dental Hygiene program.

The following must be completed and submitted as part of the application.

The completed forms and application fee must be submitted to the ADEA DHCAS by first Friday in February. The applicant must also apply and submit appropriate fees to Yakima Valley College and the YVC Dental Hygiene Program.

  1. Application Coversheet (Cover Letter)   
  2. Official College Transcripts
    • To allow prompt selection and notification of dental hygiene applicants, grades for the current winter quarter should be uploaded in the ADEA DHCAS immediately upon posting of grades, to be followed by official transcripts. Be sure to include transcripts from all colleges.
    • Accepted applicants must submit official transcripts directly to the Dental Hygiene Department for Spring and Summer quarter (when applicable for remaining completed prerequisite courses) no later than the first Friday in July and September respectively.​
  3. Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) 
  4. High School Transcripts or GED Certificate.
    • Official high school transcripts must be uploaded to ADEA DHCAS. An official copy of the GED certificate is required in the event a high school diploma has not been achieved.
  5. Dental Hygiene Observation 
    • (A fully completed form is required of all applicants). Minimum experience required is 20 hours of observation of a dental hygienist. This experience must include signed validation of the observation of administration of local anesthetic by a dental hygienist, and initial periodontal therapy (quadrant scaling), performed by the dental hygienist. Observation of restorative procedures is also required (restorative procedures may be performed by a dental hygienist or dentist.) The observation form must include the hours, dates and verification signature of licensed dental hygienist and dentist if applicable.
  6. Additional dental work experience 
    • (Optional) Designate additional work experience hours in the DHCAS “Experiences” section to document up to 3,200 total hours. 
  7. Dental assisting education 
    • (When applicable) – Documentation of completion of an American Dental Association Certified Dental Assisting Program or non-certified Dental Assisting Program. Specify the total number of training hours.
  8. ALTA Test
    • Second language skills or competence in American Sign Language must be assessed by completion of the ALTA test when applicable. Applicants need not be fluent in a second language. Various skill levels can be assessed.
    • Applicants must be proficient in reading, writing and speaking English.
  9. Personal Data Form
  10. Disclosure of Academic Performance
  11. Additional Information

The following information may be submitted in support of the application and will be reviewed by the selection committee. These activities may be documented by inclusion within a cover letter, certificates, letters of recommendations, etc.

  • Honors and special awards
  • Leadership Activities
  • Community Service
  • Team experiences (other than employment)


Acceptance (and enrollment) is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the prerequisite course. A minimum of 2.5 cumulative GPA for all prerequisite courses and a minimum grade of “2.0” in each prerequisite course must be achieved. All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to the beginning of fall quarter of expected enrollment in the dental hygiene program.

Selection into the dental hygiene program is based on the following criteria and emphasis:

  • Approximately 75% – grade point average of the prerequisite courses.
  • Approximately 25% – completion points for prerequisite courses; dental field experience; proficiency in a second language or American Sign Language; HSRT Standardized Test; community service, honors, and leadership experience, when applicable.

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by the fourth Friday in April.

  • 18 students will be offered a position in the program.
  • Additional qualified applicants may be placed on the alternate list. Ranking of the alternate list is not disclosed.

Applicants may be notified of acceptance up to the first day of classes in September.

Scholarship opportunities are available through the YVC Foundation. The applicant is also encouraged to investigate financial aid and​ additional scholarship opportunities.

The dental hygiene curriculum is academically, physically and psychologically demanding as well as rewarding. Presently, 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.

Prerequisite Requirement Course Information

  • A minimum of 2.0 must be earned in each prerequisite course.
  • A minimum of 2.5 cumulative GPA in all prerequisite courses must be achieved.
  • Each course retaken for grade improvement may be retaken one time only.
  • The retake or original course grade (whichever grade is higher) will be used to calculate the GPA. ​
  • A minimum of 8 prerequisite courses must be complete by the end of winter quarter of the year applying.
  • A minimum of 5 natural science prerequisite courses (Chemistry, A & P, Microbiology, Statistics, Nutrition) must be complete by the end of winter quarter of the year applying.
  • The following courses must be 5 years current upon enrollment: BIOL& 241, BIOL& 242, BIOL& 260, CHEM& 121, CHEM& 131, and NUTR& 101.
  • Instruction in all “Lab” Science courses must occur in “seated labs” continually under the direct supervision of the instructor. This mode includes learning activities in laboratories, clinics, or workplaces where students receive hands-on-learning experience continually supervised by the instructor. Work is normally completed in the learning environment, but may include out-of-class assignments.
  • Withdrawal (W) & Administrative Withdrawal (V) grades will not count against applicants for the first two quarters of these grades. After two quarters of W & V grades there will be point deductions. Applicants will need to explain the circumstances for the W & V grades in the cover letter.
  • All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to fall entry into the dental hygiene program.

Completion of the dental hygiene prerequisite courses does not guarantee admission into the dental hygiene program.  Acceptance is based on the final selection criteria.​

The Dental Hygiene education curriculum is a postsecondary and scientifically oriented program of study.

  • Skills development is rigorous and intensive.
  • Enrollment is limited by the facility and faculty.
  • Special program admissions criteria and procedures are established for selecting students who have the potential for successfully completing the program.
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to carry full time academic loads during the process of completing the prerequisite courses.
  • Additional credit toward selection will be awarded to applicants who demonstrate the ability to master a full time (15 credits) college-level, science based curriculum:
    • Course loads taken prior to spring quarter of the year applying.
    • At least one course must be a dental hygiene prerequisite course.
    • 3.0 quarter GPA or above, earned.
    • In order to most efficiently complete the dental hygiene prerequisite courses, applicants are encouraged to begin the biology, math and chemistry requirements early on.
    • General Biology with Lab, BIOL& 160, ​is a prerequisite to BIOL 241, 242, 260

Course Equivalencies

Verification of prerequisite course equivalency is the applicant’s responsibility. Applicants seeking prerequisite course equivalency verification may be required to submit a college catalog and a course syllabus to the dental hygiene department. Equivalency of most courses taken at colleges in the state of Washington may be determined by referring to the “University of Washington Transfer Guide”. This guide may be found in college libraries or career and counseling centers. Course numbers and titles vary among colleges. Equivalency of prerequisite transfer credits is determined by course content. Credits transferred from another college or university may be evaluated by the Registrar’s office to determine equivalency.

Yakima Valley College Dental Hygiene Program does not grant admission with advanced standing for credits earned in other dental hygiene programs.

Program Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate to entry-level proficiency, the full legal scope of dental hygiene practice in Washington State.
  • Conduct professional activities and develop professional relationships in responsible ways.
  • Employ evidence-based decisions as health care providers guided by ethical principles and core values of the Dental Hygiene profession.

Requirements after acceptance

The following information is required before applicants begin the first quarter of the first year of the Dental Hygiene Program:

  • Upon acceptance into the Dental Hygiene program, a $275.00 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve a position into the Dental Hygiene Program. The deposit will be applied toward the $9,350-$10,000 instrument issue cost.
  • The following must be completed and the results provided to the YVC Dental Hygiene Department by the first Friday in September.
    • A physical examination administered within six months is required prior to entering the program. The examining physician’s signature attests to the health status which allows the dental hygiene student’s performance of the essential skills of the dental hygiene profession. The examination is to include the status of health and a muscular-skeletal evaluation.
  • A current vision examination is required and includes an evaluation of depth perception, color contrast and detail identification. Students will be required to wear safety glasses with side shields in all pre-clinical and clinical activities.
  • A recent dental examination is desired. Full mouth radiographs may be taken as part of the curriculum learning experience. If entering students have been diagnosed with periodontal disease that requires treatment or routine periodontal maintenance, the required treatment needs to be completed prior to entry into the program.
  • Current Health Care Providers First Aid and CPR/AED cards are required. All students are required to obtain CPR certification. The certification must cover One-person & Two-person Adult C.P.R. and Obstructed Airway Management.
  • Upon enrollment, students are required to sign a statement of “Academic Achievement” and an “Informed Acknowledgement and Consent to Hazards and Risks” form, which is part of the YVC Dental Hygiene Policies and Procedures Handbook. In addition, students are required to acknowledge and sign other appropriate procedural documents.
  • An orientation session (enrolled students only) is scheduled for the first week of classes in September and is designed to provide program information and build community and team skills.
  • The YVC student instrument issue packages are required of all incoming students. The required issue packages must be purchased through the dental hygiene program.
  • The current estimated cost of the instrument packages is approximately $9300-$10000.

 Health Status Disclosure 

Students and employees of Yakima Valley College are not required to disclose information about their HIV status. Neither employment nor student admission into the Department of Dental Hygiene may be denied based on HIV status. Washington State Dental and Dental Hygiene licensure or license renewal is not limited by HIV status. However, by law, when performing health care functions, dental hygienists must protect the health and safety of the public. According to the Washington State Administrative code 18.130.180, Regulation of the Health Professions-Uniform Disciplinary Act. “Engaging in a profession involving contact with the public while suffering from a contagious or infectious disease involving serious risk to public health” constitutes unprofessional conduct which may result in denial of licensure.


  • Tuberculosis : All YVC Allied Health Programs require a one time two-step PPD test to establish a base line. The second PPD test is administered in 1 to 3 weeks after the first.). If you have or have had a positive PPD test, a chest x-ray is required for YVC student to demonstrate no active Tuberculosis. YVC requires anyone who had a positive PPD to sign a yearly screening form that testifies that they have had no tuberculosis symptoms since their last Chest X-Ray. Once the student has a positive PPD skin test, no further skin tests are done since once positive, always positive. A person, who has been exposed to tuberculosis, must have a repeat of the PPD Test.
  • Tetanus (Td): Tetanus is usually done every 10 years. However, Allied Health Programs at YVC require a Tetanus booster to be given in the last 8 years to cover the student while in 1-2 years in the program.
  • Rubeola, Mumps: Adults born prior to 1957 are considered immune, but MMR titers are required. Adults born in 1957 or later should have received at least two doses of MMR in a life time. In addition, MMR Titers are required within the last 5-10 years. The titer tests will tell you if you have antibodies from previous exposure; if so, no further MMR immunizations are required. If titers for Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, and Rubella do not prove immunity, one MMR injection is required.
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B): Three injections are required over a six month period. The second dose must be at least one month after the first dose; the third dose is administered 6 month after the first. Documentation must be in the student’s file, proving the first two injections have been completed prior to the first Clinical Procedure Lab. The third injection must be scheduled and received prior to externship. Hepatitis B injections can be further apart. For example, if you had one injection five years ago, you would pick up where you left off.
  • Hepatitis A (Hep A): Currently not required, but strongly recommended for all health care professionals. Two injections are required. The second one must be at least 6 months after the first one. Yakima is a high risk area for Hep A.
  • ​Varicella (Chicken Pox): You Cannot Be Pregnant And Must Not Become Pregnant For The Next Month. YVC Allied Health students must provide proof of Varicella immunization, titer, or signed a form testifying that the student has had chicken pox. If there is no history of having neither chicken pox nor Varicella Immunizations; then two Varicella injections are required 4-6 weeks apart. If the student has had chicken pox, they must sign a form testifying that they have a history of Varicella.​
  • Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines recommended.

Reapplication to Dental Hygiene Program

If a student has previously been dismissed from the Yakima Valley College Dental Hygiene Program or any professional program for failure to comply with ethical or professional standards, the student will not be considered for admission into the dental hygiene program.

Reapplication after previous dismissal

Applicants reapplying must complete a current Dental Hygiene Application on the ADEA DHCAS website.

Previous enrollment in a Dental Hygiene Program

It is mandatory to report previous enrollment in any dental hygiene program. The dental hygiene department reserves the right to obtain copies of all clinical evaluations and a letter substantiating good standing from the dental hygiene program previously attended.

Estimated Costs for the two year program (2022-2023)

First Year Costs

Tuition (Resident) ** $8,699.48
Lab Fees – $875.00
Books – $1,450.00
Instruments-Supplies-Plates for digital x-ray (due the first week of fall quarter) (Approximately) $11,500.00
Student ADHA Dues – $65.00
Student WSDHA Dues – $45.00
Magnification Loupes (optional) – $1,750.00
Illumination – $550.00
Miscellaneous for both years (scrubs, gloves, masks, shoes, safety glasses, etc.) – $1,050.00

Sub Total – $25,984.48​

Second Year Costs

Tuition (Resident) ** $7,656.56
Lab Fees – $1,250.00
Books – $550.00
Instruments/Supplies – $1,500.00
Student ADHA Dues -$65.00
Student WSDHA Dues – $45.00

Sub Total – $11,066.56

National Board Review Course (winter) does not include variable travel and lodging expenses $350.00
National Board Exam fee (paid in Mid-February) $455.00
Western Regional Board Exam fee (paid in mid February-March) $2,200.00
Washington State License application fee (paid in June) $150.00
Dental Hygiene Law Exam fee (paid in May) $135.00
Graduation Fee $10.00

Estimated total cost for two-year program $​40,351.04

​All costs are estimated and subject to change.

**Tuition amounts are based upon current tuition rates.
When applying for any type of loan, processing takes approximately 3 months or longer.

​​​​​​Career Information for Dental Hygienist


Dental hygiene offers a challenging and demanding educational experience and a highly valued career opportunity. Employment and compensation compares with other allied health professions. Dental hygienists are employed in a variety of professional and interprofessional settings including private dental practices, community health agencies, private industry, hospitals, health maintenance organizations, military branches, colleges and universities, Peace Corps, World Health Organization, and foreign dental practices. The dental hygienist may function in seven professional roles:  Clinician, Corporate, Researcher, Educator, Entrepreneur, Public Health, and Administrator.

Scope of Dental Hygiene Practice (18.29.050 RCW Scope of licensee’s Functions)

Any person licensed as a dental hygienist in the state of Washington may remove deposits and stains from the surfaces of the teeth, may apply topical preventive or prophylactic agents, may polish and smooth restorations, may perform root planning and soft tissue curettage, and may perform other dental operations and services delegated to them by a licensed dentist. Licensed dental hygienists shall not perform the following dental operations or services:

  1. Any surgical removal of tissue of the oral cavity
  2. Any prescription of drugs or medications requiring the written order or prescription of a licensed dentist or physician, except placement of antimicrobials pursuant to the order of a licensed dentist
  3. Any diagnosis for treatment or treatment planning
  4. Taking of any impression of the teeth for the purpose of intra-oral restoration, appliance, or prosthesis.

Dental Hygiene as a Profession

“As dental hygienists, we are a community of professionals devoted to the prevention of disease and the promotion and improvement of the public’s health. We are preventive oral health professionals who provide educational, clinical, and therapeutic services to the public. We strive to live meaningful, productive, satisfying lives that simultaneously serve us, our profession, our society, and the world. Our actions, behaviors, and attitudes are consistent with our commitment to public service. We endorse and incorporate the Code into our daily lives.”

Preamble to ADHA Code of Ethics June, 2019

In the context of an evolving healthcare system for the 21st century, dental hygienists are valued members of the healthcare workforce.

Dental hygiene is the science and practice of the recognition, treatment and prevention of oral diseases. The dental hygienist is a preventive oral health professional, who has graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program in an institution of higher education, is licensed in dental hygiene, and provides educational, clinical research, administrative and therapeutic services supporting total health through the promotion of optimal oral health. In practice, dental hygienists work collaboratively with dentists and other healthcare professionals to prevent oral diseases and promote health.

The purpose of medical and dental science is to enhance the health of individuals as well as populations. Dental hygienists use scientific evidence in the oral healthcare decision making process. The dental hygienist is expected to respect the diverse values, beliefs and cultures present in individuals and groups or communities served. ​

Standards of Dental Hygiene Conduct

Dental hygienists are responsible, by law, to the people of the State of Washington, for specific standards of dental hygiene conduct:

By law WAC 246-815-160—”The standards of dental hygiene conduct or practice identify minimum responsibilities of the registered dental hygienist licensed in Washington in health care settings as provided in the Dental Hygiene Practice Act, chapter 18.29 RCW, and the Uniform Disciplinary Act, chapter 18.130 RCW. The standards provide consumers with information about quality care and provide the secretary of health (of the department of health), guidelines to evaluate safe and effective care. The dental hygienist assumes the responsibility, public trust and obligation to adhere to the standards of dental hygiene practice”. 18.130.010 “Intent. It is the intent of the legislature to strengthen and consolidate disciplinary and licensure procedures for the licensed health and health-related professions by providing a uniform disciplinary act with standardized procedures for the licensure of health care professionals and the enforcement of laws the purpose of which is to assure the public of the adequacy of professional competence and conduct in the healing arts.”

Occupational Hazards

Occupational hazards for the field of dental hygiene may include but are not limited to: exposure to infectious diseases such as AIDS, COVID19, and Hepatitis, exposure to hazardous chemicals or substances, accidental injury, neuromuscular problems, exposure to bloodborne pathogens, exposure to radiation, and allergic reactions to latex, anesthetic agents, or other chemical agents. Students enrolled in the dental hygiene program are provided with in-depth instructions on OSHA and WISHA Safety and Infection Control Policies and approved COVID 19 Safety Plans employed in the dental hygiene program. Students are required to sign a “Hazards and Risks” acknowledgment document.

Latex Allergy

Latex is an integral part of dentistry; although latex free gloves are used in clinic, rubber dams, suction tubes, etc. may contain latex. Individuals with a history of some prior allergic condition, such as hay fever, environmental allergies, and drug allergies, may be at risk for latex hypersensitivity. Individuals with a documented latex allergy must submit clearance from a physician prior to participation in pre-clinical or clinical activities.

Essential Curriculum Components and Technical Standards

While in the program, dental hygiene students are required to be operators and patients, and to deliver and receive injections of local anesthetic and to administer and receive nitrous oxide sedation for dental hygiene learning experiences.

These activities are essential components of the dental hygiene curriculum.

Essential Functions for Admission, Promotion, and Graduation

The department of Dental Hygiene has adopted the following essential functions for admission, promotion and graduation for its entry-level professional program. Dental Hygiene is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. Students acquire the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors needed throughout the dental hygienists’ professional career. Those abilities that the dental hygienists must possess to practice safely and in a professional competent manner are reflected in the essential functions that follow.

Candidates for the degree must be able to meet these minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of degree requirements.

Essential Functions:  Students must be able to meet the following minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of degree requirements.

A. Visual Acuity

  1. Must be able to read small printed labels on medications and other pertinent supplies.
  2. Must be able to read small numbers on instruments.
  3. Must be able to determine detail in small areas of the mouth varying from <5mm to several cm.
  4. Must possess adequate depth perception to evaluate size, shape and texture in small areas with minimal contrast
  5. Must be able to determine very slight variations in color.

B. Speaking Ability

  1. Verbal expression must be clear and distinct enough to enunciate dental terminology while wearing a face mask.
  2. Must be able to express thoughts clearly in English.

C. Motor Skills

Must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and treatment to patients including:

  • The ability to directly operate foot controls using fine movements
  • The ability to operate hand and mechanical dental hygiene instruments around the teeth and structures in the oral cavity
  • The ability to perform palpation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers and procedures
  • The ability to transfer and position disabled patients and to physically restrain patients who lack motor control
  • The ability to position and reposition self around patient and chair in a sitting and standing position.

Must have coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and integrated use of the senses of touch and vision to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and treatment to patients as detailed above.

D.  Adaptive Ability

  • Must be able to successfully complete required tasks/functions under stressful conditions.
  • Must be able to perform with minimal supervision.
  • Must be able to interact appropriately with all members of the dental team, patients, patient representatives (e.g. parents, guardians, family members, interpreters, etc.).
  • Must be able to function in a structured environment with time constraints.

E.  Language Ability

  • Must be able to read, write, speak, record and report in English.
  • Must be able to comprehend written and oral directions given in English and carry them out.
  • Must be able to have conversations in English on the telephone and one-on-one.

F.  Observation

  • Must be able to observe demonstrations in lecture, clinical and laboratory settings. Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing and somatic sensations.

G.  Communication

  • Must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, and patient representatives (e.g. parents, guardians, family members, interpreters, etc.), as well as perceive nonverbal communications.
  • Must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with other members of the dental team and health care community to convey information essential for safe and effective care. Communication includes: speech, language, reading, writing and computer literacy.

H.  Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

Must possess the ability to effectively solve problems.

  • Must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information in a timely fashion. For example, the student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history and examination findings to develop an effective treatment plan.
  • Must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships of anatomical structures.

I.  Behavioral and Social Attributes

Must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities to include the exercise of good judgment:

  • The prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of clients
  • The ability to demonstrate attributes of empathy, integrity, concern for others
  • Interest, motivation, and development of mature, sensitive, empathetic, and effective relationships with patients
  • The ability to give, receive, and positively respond to constructive feedback
  • The ability to work within the context of a group or a team of peers
  • The ability to demonstrate intrapersonal coping skills
  • Must maintain a professional appearance and hygiene.
  • Must have the ability to be timely and dependable.
  • Must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress
  • Must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients.
  • Must demonstrate professionally ethical behavior, including the ability to comply with rules, regulations, professional Code of Ethics and policies of the College and Clinical Affiliates.

J.  Curriculum Requirements

  • Must be able to successfully complete, with or without reasonable accommodation, all required essential components of the curriculum.

K.  Tests and Evaluations

  • Must be able to successfully complete both written and practical periodic examinations which are employed by the Dental Hygiene Program as an essential component of the curriculum to evaluate competence.
  • Must demonstrate successful completion of these examinations as a condition for continued progress through the curriculum.

L.  Clinical Assessments

  • Must be able to successfully demonstrate, with or without reasonable accommodations, competence of clinical skills in both laboratory and clinical settings.

Student Competency

The Dental Hygiene Program is committed to supporting student success and provides opportunities for students to demonstrate the essential functional abilities. To successfully complete the dental hygiene program, the student must be able to demonstrate performance of all functional abilities and completion of the published Dental Hygiene Competencies.

The dental hygiene program, as part of YV​​C, is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. The program does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran status. When requested, and with appropriate documentation, the program will provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified students with disabilities. Student who need adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, emergency medical condition, or need special arrangements in case a building must be evacuated, should notify the Program Coordinator and the instructor of the respective course. More information is available through Disability Support Services at 509.574.4961.


Students are responsible for their own transportation and for complying with parking regulations on campus and in the assigned clinical agencies.

Academic Standards When Enrolled in the Dental Hygiene Program

Dental Hygiene courses must be passed with a minimum of 1.7 (C-) and completed in consecutive sequence.
A dental hygiene program cumulative 2.5 GPA or above is required to continue in the program.
If a student withdraws from the program or fails to successfully complete a course or courses, the student forfeits his or her position in the program.
Reapplication to the program (starting with the first year) is necessary.
The reapplication will be evaluated and ranked in exactly the same manner as any new application.

Identification Of Positive Criminal History—Washington State Criminal History Repository
Department of Health— Licensing Application
DOH conducts criminal background check on every applicant for licensure (DH program, dentistry, etc.)

  • Applicants must answer the DOH Information Data Sheet with integrity and honesty. Future licensure is at great risk if false information is submitted.
  • With positive criminal history, the applicant must include all reports and court documents along with detailed and complete explanations, with the application for Washington State licensure.
  • Positive criminal history cases are submitted to a DOH review panel where decisions regarding licensure (and possible stipulations) are determined.
  • Each case identifying positive criminal history is managed as an individual case.
  • License stipulations may be obligatory if patient harm is potential.
  • Applicants with positive criminal history may attempt to get the violation records expunged.

Enrollment in the Dental Hygiene Program

A criminal background check is required of each student who is accepted into the Dental Hygiene Program. Verified Credentials is the agency conducting the background checks which will include a 10-panel drug screening. A letter of explanation and details will be mailed upon acceptance into the Dental Hygiene Program.

  • It is imperative that the student with an identification of positive criminal history communicate with the dental hygiene department coordinator(s) regarding the violation(s) incurred, and the circumstances of the incident(s).
  • Students must provide honest, detailed, and complete explanations to the dental hygiene department.
  • Omission of information or fraudulent answers to the Personal Data Sheet questions will adversely affect dental hygiene enrollment.
  • During enrollment, specific agencies/institutions participating in scheduled assignments within the dental hygiene curriculum, must be advised of visitations by students with criminal history.
  • The laws of Washington State do not allow community college programs to discriminate in admission policies based on the areas covered by the questions on the Personal Data form. Consequently, it is possible that an applicant be admitted to and successfully complete the Dental Hygiene Program and not be eligible for licensure.
  • Certain convictions may prevent students from completing program requisite field work experience and may result in the student’s ineligibility to complete the program requirements.

Ethical standards of conduct that apply to Dental Hygiene students are described in The Law Relating to Dental Hygiene Practice, The American Dental Hygienists Code of Ethics for Dental Hygienists, Dental Hygiene Policies and Procedures Handbook, YVC Code of Students Rights and Responsibilities, Dental Hygiene Clinical Handbooks, procedures manuals and individual Dental Hygiene course syllabi.

A student will be assigned a failing grade in a Dental Hygiene course and subsequently dismissed from the Dental Hygiene program, for failure to comply with ethical standards of conduct.

Licensing Criteria

​Pre-Application Information

High school students interested in health care careers should select a college preparatory tract which includes chemistry, algebra, biology and college preparatory English. The study of foreign language in high school is encouraged. The selection process awards credit for skills in language in addition to English. The selection process also awards credit for paid or volunteer work in the dental field, community service, leadership experiences, and team participation. ​

 High School Diploma

All applicants are required to have earned a high school diploma or to have completed the General Education Diploma (GED) requirements.
Applicants must submit a high school transcript or GED certificate.

Program Tours

Interested parties are welcome to visit the dental hygiene department/clinic to view the facilities and to observe the clinical and preclinical sessions. It is also helpful to visit with the students to help understand the commitment that is necessary while enrolled in the dental hygiene program.


Students interested in the dental hygiene program are encouraged to meet and maintain contact with the full-time faculty advisor in a dental hygiene department as well as meet with a college counselor/advisor to explore career options.

Washington State Dental Hygienists Association logo
American Dental Hygienists Association logo


Cheri Podruzny RDH MS
Dental Hygiene Program Administrator
Yakima Campus
Dental Hygiene Clinic
Building 3, Room 121
Phone: 509.574.4921

  • AAS-T and AAS-DH Yakima Valley College
  • BS Allied Health Central Washington University
  • MSDH Eastern Washington University
Deborah Gould
Restorative and Radiology Lead Faculty
Yakima Campus
Dental Hygiene Clinic
Building 3, Room 117
Phone: 509.574.4919

  • AAS-DH Yakima Valley College
  • BSDH Eastern Washington University
  • M. Ed Western Governors University
Debbie Mahre
Full-time Faculty
Yakima Campus
Dental Hygiene Clinic
Building 3, Room 119
Phone: 509.574.4923

  • AAS-DH Yakima Valley College
  • BSDH Eastern Washington University
  • MSDH Eastern Washington University
Brianna Byrne

  • BASDH Yakima Valley College
Laurie Bruskland

  • AAS Yakima Valley College
  • BSDH Eastern Washington University
Cheryl Craig

  • BASDH Yakima Valley College
Olga Gutierrez

  • BASDH Yakima Valley College
  • M.Ed. Western Governors University
Kim Hussey

  • M.Ed. Western Governors University
  • BSDH Eastern Washington University
  • AAS-DH Yakima Valley College
Patricia Pruiett

  • AAS-DH Yakima Valley College
  • BS Central Washington University
Robyn Rossmeisl

  • BASDH Yakima Valley College
  • MA University of British Columbia
  • BA Western Washington University
  • BA College of St. Benedict
Brandi Thomas

  • AAS-DH Yakima Valley College
  • BSDH Eastern Washington University
 Kayla Underdahl

  • BASDH Yakima Valley College
Lacey Webber

  • BASDH Yakima Valley College
  Susan Wood

  • BASDH Yakima Valley College

Contact Us

Call 509.834.4522 or Email

Dental Clinic Contact Information: 509.574.4917, ext  003-000