• Dental Hygiene Program FAQ


  • Important Note: Some external links may be inaccessible. People requiring accommodations due to a disability should contact Accessible Education Services at 503-491-6923 or aes@mhcc.edu.

    Will I be required to have the COVID-19 vaccination to start the program if accepted?

    Dental hygiene students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or request a medical or religious exception. At this time, program clinical placement sites are allowing students with accepted exceptions to continue to work, learn, study, assist, observe, or volunteer in their healthcare settings. However, this could change in the future.

    Should I attend a program information session?

    It is highly recommended that all applicants attend a program information session if at all possible as the program director has noted a correlation between attendance and stronger/more successful applications.

    Do I need to take the Admission Test for Dental Hygiene (ATDH) to apply this year?

    No. However, it is recommended (not required) to complete the ATDH to assess readiness for program success and to determine areas that may need further focus prior to and during dental hygiene school.

    I applied in a prior year and had to complete 20 observation hours in a dental hygiene setting. Are observation hours required this year?

    Due to COVID-19, observation hours are NOT required to apply for Fall term 2023 admission to the program. However, if you have observation hours, please include the observation experience on your resume as it will be awarded points at the interview phase.

    Do I need to have work experience in the field prior to applying?

    No work experience is needed in order to apply. Applicants who have previous dental care experience can earn points at the time of interviews based on the type and length of experience.

    What organizations are approved for Dental Hygiene volunteer work?

    We highly encourage students to seek Dental Hygiene public health volunteer work. Below are approved outreach organizations. Please be aware, due to COVID-19, volunteer opportunities may not be available, and if available, will be limited.

    Compassion Connect (events held all year long)
    https://compassionconnect.com/compassion-clinics

    Compassion Gresham
    https://compassionconnect.com/compassion-gresham

    Compassion Sandy
    https://compassionsandy.org

    Medical Teams International (events held all year long)
    https://www.medicalteams.org/volunteer/us-opportunities

    Binational Health Fair
    Binational Health Fair

    Caring Hands Worldwide Free Dental Clinic (October 2)
    https://caringhandsworldwide.org/national

    Impact Your Health Portland (Summer 2023)
    https://www.impactyourhealthpdx.com

    How do I know what my application status is after I submit my online application?
    Applicants may check on their application status in the MyMHCC student portal at the location where they filled out the application under the “Check application status” link.
    Can I work while I am in the program?
    The program is extremely rigorous. It is strongly advised to not work while you are in the program. If you must work, let us help you make an action plan to see what is appropriate for your situation. Students are also advised to not make large life changes while you are in the program (i.e. getting married, have children, etc.) due to the time commitment needed to be successful.
    What happens if I fail a class while in the program?
    This happens extremely infrequently. We work hard to insure a student gets assistance should their academics be substandard. Students do not have the opportunity to repeat core dental hygiene coursework—at all. This is why we maintain such stringent admissions standards. With students unable to repeat coursework, we have to know you can handle the rigor of this program. Failure to pass all program courses with a grade of C or higher can and usually does result in expulsion from the program.
    I took my Chemistry courses at a different institution. Can this fulfill the admission requirements?

    The course description must include a background in organic and/or biochemistry. The courses listed below from the stated institutions can be accepted in lieu of CH106.

    • CHEM& 131 from Washington colleges
    • CH123 from Oregon State University
    • CH102 from Portland Community College
    • CH112 from Clackamas Community College or MHCC between 2017 and 2019
    Can a higher chemistry series fulfill the Chemistry requirement?
    The course description must include a background in organic and/or biochemistry. At MHCC, CH241 can be used in lieu of CH106 but not CH221/CH222/CH223.
    At MHCC, I took CH112 to meet the admission requirement. Can I still use the CH112 to meet the Chemistry application requirement?
    CH112 is no longer offered at MHCC. Therefore, applicants must now complete CH106 to satisfy the Chemistry requirement. However, if a student took CH112 at MHCC between 2017 through 2019, it will be honored for admission purposes.
    What will I have to do after I am accepted into the program?

    Immunizations - Accepted students need to provide vaccination records and/or immunity to the following infectious diseases: Hepatitis B, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis, and Varicella. Students must also demonstrate they test negative for Tuberculosis (TB). Admitted students need to begin confirming their immunizations as soon as they accept their position in the program.

    COVID-19 Vaccination: Dental hygiene students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or request a medical or religious exception. At this time, program clinical placement sites are allowing students with accepted exceptions to continue to work, learn, study, assist, observe, or volunteer in their healthcare settings, however this could change in the future.

    Criminal background checks and drug testing - The program requires students to complete a criminal background check and drug screening after acceptance. Please note, this drug screening will check for drugs that contain, amphetamines, barbiturates, opioids, benzodiazepines and marijuana. If you are taking any prescribed medication that may contain these drugs you will need to meet with the program director before completing the drug screen. If you have concerns about your background and success in the program, please attend an informational session to discuss your concerns with program faculty.

    If you have a criminal history, we strongly encourage you to call the program director at 503-491-7128 and/or the Oregon Board of Dentistry at 971-673-3200 and inquire about whether or not licensure is possible in your situation. It is often handled on a case-by-case basis at the time of licensing application, so do not wait until you have completed your education only to find that you may be ineligible for licensure, which is required for employment.

    Orientation for accepted students– A mandatory program orientation will be held for accepted students in late spring / early summer each year. Attendance is required.

    Can I use my diploma copy as proof of college degree earned?

    No. For a college degree, you must submit an official college transcript showing the degree earned. This includes foreign transcripts, see https://www.mhcc.edu/internationaltranscript.

    I partially completed a similar dental hygiene program at another college institution, can I transfer in to MHCC’s Dental Hygiene program with advanced standing?

    Advanced standing for the MHCC Dental Hygiene Program is currently not a part of the approved curriculum by the program’s accrediting body. All applicants accepted into the program are required to complete the entire curriculum.