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Differences Between Dental Assistant and Dental Hygienist Training

Pikes Peak Community College has an excellent Dental Assisting program. However, our Dental Assisting program does not provide a perfect starting point to a Dental Hygiene program. PPCC students can take prerequisites for Dental Hygiene programs and then transfer. General education requirements for Dental Hygiene are different and more extensive. See more about this below.

What is a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a skilled and essential member of the dental health care team in the delivery of preventive dentistry. The continuing demand for dental hygienists makes this program an opportunity for a productive career.

You may be employed in any of the following areas upon completion of a Dental Hygiene Associate of Applied Science degree:

  • General Practice
  • Periodontic Practice
  • Independent Practice

Explore more through the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

NOTE: This profession is not the same as being a Dental Assistant.

Dental Hygiene Program General Education Requirements

It is very important that you consult with your choice of Dental Hygiene programs to take the correct general education requirements. Review the PPCC Medical Science Biology Sequence chart. Dental Hygiene programs typically include the following requirements:

  • ENG 121 (3) College Composition (Pre-requisite to BIO 111)
  • COM 115 (3) Public Speaking
  • PSY 101 (3) General Psychology
  • SOC 101 (3) Introduction to Sociology
  • BIO 201 (4) Human Anatomy and Physiology I (Pre-requisite: BIO 111)
  • BIO 202 (4) Human Anatomy and Physiology II (Pre-requisite: BIO 201)
  • BIO 204 (4) Microbiology (Pre-requisite: BIO 111)
  • CHE 109 (4) for Colorado Dental Hygiene Programs. Other Chemistry courses may be required for programs in other states.
    • Note: CHE 109 is not offered at PPCC at this time. To meet the course requirements of all Colorado Dental Hygiene programs, you could take CHE 109 at those colleges, or take CHE 101 (5) and CHE 102 (5) at PPCC. See your Medical Sciences Advisor for further questions.
Dental Hygiene Programs in Colorado

Dental Hygiene programs are competitive entry programs. Most have annual application dates and very specific course sequences. Be sure that you are taking the correct courses for your target program.

Colorado Northwestern Community College

Community College of Denver

Pueblo Community College

What to Do Now

  • Review application requirements for the colleges in which you are interested.
  • Make note of the application dates for each.
  • Feel free to contact each college for specific questions.

Meet with your general Medical Sciences Advisor to set up course plans.