Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I know if a specific course will be accepted for the General Education and/or pre-requisite requirements?

    The dental hygiene department cannot answer questions regarding general education requirements.  You must consult with a Health and Science (LCP) Learning and Career Pathway counselor, or a counselor familiar with the dental hygiene requirements. This includes questions on the pre-requisite courses in Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Nutrition and Microbiology.

  2. I am a graduate of a dental school outside of the country.  Do I have priority for admission to the dental hygiene program?

    While we value your past education and degrees, we are unable to give you any advanced standing.  Pre-requisite courses must have been taken within the past 5 years. All admission criteria must be adhered to, regardless of DDS status.

  3. Can I have courses in progress when I apply?

    Yes, you may have up to 2 pre-requisite courses in progress when you apply.  However, for each pre-requisite course that you complete with a grade of "A" or "B", you will receive points, any courses in progress, will not receive any points, which may hurt your chances of acceptance considerably.  It is recommended to have as many general education courses completed to receive the maximum number of points.

  4. Do I need dental office experience? Do I have priority having been an RDA?
    Dental office experience is not required. However, it is highly advised. You will earn extra points for being an RDA with a minimum of 6 months experience. Cerritos College Dental Assisting graduates will earn additional points on their application. Please consider attending the Cerritos College Dental Assisting Program before applying to the Dental Hygiene Program as a way to increase your admission status if you are not accepted into the Dental Hygiene Program.

  5. How often can I retake classes to improve my grade?

    Any class may be repeated ONE time only with NO exceptions, and the better grade will be counted.

  6. Should I take extra science courses?

    YES! Extra points may be awarded for taking additional science courses (at least 4 units plus a lab). Extra science courses with earned grades of “A’s” and “B’s” will increase your admittance chances. Of Course, “A” grades make the biggest impact on your application score. Keep in mind the applicant pool is very competitive.

  7. If I am a graduate of a dental assisting program, will I need to take all courses offered in the Dental Hygiene program?

    Yes.  Vocational units from a dental assisting program are not applicable for advance placement in the professional portion of the program.  Skill proficiency may, however, make course work easier in given subjects.

  8. What is required for CPR?

    A valid CPR certification, including health care provider cardiopulmonary resuscitation with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), is required prior to enrolling in Dental Hygiene Program courses and must be kept current.

    These courses can be taken through the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.  Courses may also be taken through The American Dental Association's Continuing Education Recognition Program (CERP) and The Academy of General Dentistry Program Approval for Continuing Education (PACE).

  9. What if I don’t get accepted the first time?

    Take the opportunity to improve your application by taking additional classes, especially science courses. Extra courses with earned grades of “A’s” and “B’s” will increase your admittance chances. Of Course, “A” grades make the biggest impact on your application score. Keep in mind the applicant pool is very competitive.

    1. Strongly consider enrolling in our Dental Assistant Program.
    2. Continue to monitor the Dental Hygiene website for Fall 24 applications updates.

  10. Does Cerritos College Dental hygiene have an on campus clinical site?

    No, Cerritos is unique in that it does not have an on-site facility. Students receive all patient clinical experiences at multiple off-site facilities. The sites are in a range of about 7-15 miles away from the college. Students do not have to find patients for treatment or pay for the patient’s treatment because they are provided by the outside clinical facilities. The student should have transportation to travel to the outside facilities.

  11. Do I need to drive to the outside facilities every day?

    No, the first semester is entirely on campus at Cerritos College.  2nd, Summer, 3rd, and 4th semesters are when students need to travel to the outside facilities. Clinical days are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The students is scheduled a rotation of those clinic days.

  12. Can I work during the program?

    The dental hygiene program is very rigorous, and working part time or full time is not recommended. We have experienced that high student success rates occur when students do not work.

  13. Can I purchase my own supplies from any source I like?

    Supplies such as, Instrument kits, loupes, uniforms, and other clinical items need to be purchased through the companies the dental hygiene has arrangements with and have been approved by the department. Items such as office supplies can be purchased where the student chooses.

  14. Does the dental hygiene program offer a bachelor’s degree?

    The program is in the process of developing a bachelor’s program. The bachelor program is projected to begin Fall 2025, however, continue to monitor the DH website for updated information.

  15. How much does it cost to attend Cerritos Dental Hygiene Program?

    Please see the posted estimated cost form found on the “Program Cost Tab.” for the detailed costs. The average cost is 15,000 -20,000 for the 2-year program.

  16. Program Overview

    Program: Dental Hygiene
    Degree: AA Degree
    Length: 2 years/Full-time
    Start/End: August/May Summer Session: Month of July
    Number Accepted: 24
    Application Timeline: February 1 – April 1
    Prerequisites: Yes, see program requirements, on the DH menu.
    Approx. Cost of Program: 15,000- $20,000. See estimated costs on the DH menu
    National Board Exam: Yes
    Regional Clinical Licensing Exam: Yes
    Est. Annual Salary: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics: CA Hourly mean wage: 53.65
    Annual Mean: 111,58.00