Program Information

The Community College of Denver’s Dental Hygiene program is a unique blend of academic and clinical coursework that requires attention to detail, motivation, and the ability to complete tasks within a specific timeframe. Through its science and clinically-based curriculum, students learn the educational, clinical, and communication skills necessary to become valued members of the profession. Dental hygiene students are strongly encouraged to be self-directed in their learning and to establish the highest standards of professional and personal excellence.

Admission to the dental hygiene program is very competitive, and the number of applicants always exceeds the number of positions available. Information is provided below regarding the application review, acceptance criteria, and other information about the program.

Each year, CCD’s dental hygiene program receives more applications than there are available student spaces. Each application is carefully reviewed using a 100-point scale and the following criteria.

The Community College of Denver’s Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Dental Hygiene program is designed for those who wish to become a dental hygienist. It is a unique blend of academic and clinical coursework that requires attention to detail, motivation to succeed, and the ability to complete tasks within a specific timeframe. Through its science and clinic-based curriculum, students learn the educational, clinical, and communication skills necessary to become a valued member of the dental team.

Applications to the Dental Hygiene Program are accepted once a year between August and December. One class is accepted each year, and study begins part-time in the summer semester following application and acceptance. The full-time study begins during the fall semester following application and continues for five semesters.

To prepare to apply to the AAS Dental Hygiene program, applicants must complete eight (8) prerequisite classes (four (4) science classes and four (4) general education classes). All prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the application semester in order to be eligible for application. The science classes must have been taken within seven years of the planned start of the program and, when averaged, have a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Science prerequisite classes:

  • BIO 2101 - Human Anatomy & Physiology I
  • BIO 2102 - Human Anatomy & Physiology II
  • BIO 2104 - Microbiology
  • CHE 1009 - General, Organic & Biochemistry (CHE 1011 and 1012 will compensate for CHE 1009)

The four (4) general education classes are good for a lifetime and must have a minimum GPA of 2.5.

General education classes:

  • ENG 1021 - English Composition (ENG 1022 will compensate for ENG 1021)
  • PSY 1001 - General Psychology I (PSY 1002, 2221, or 2440 will compensate for PSY 1001)
  • SOC 1001 - Introduction to Sociology (ANT 1001, SOC 2018 will compensate for SOC 1001)
  • COM 1150 - Public Speaking (COM 1250 or 1260 will compensate for COM 1150)

To verify the classes have been completed and to provide proof of grades for GPA calculation and credits by semester, unofficial copies of all transcripts containing prerequisite courses must be submitted with the application. Courses that have been taken more than once will be averaged if taken within two years of each other.

If planning to apply, applicants must complete the Admission Test for Dental Hygiene (ATDH), which is only offered in spring and fall windows. Please follow the link for dates and times. The score from this aptitude exam will be used in the evaluation of the application to the Dental Hygiene program. To register for the exam, applicants should visit the website Admission Test for Dental Hygiene to learn more and register to take the exam.

There will be other documents that must be submitted or paperwork completed as part of the application process. Be prepared to provide the following additional items with your application.

  • Application Essay - Applicants will choose one of two writing prompts and provide a typewritten response.
  • Two Dental Hygienist Interviews - Applicants will conduct an interview with two (2) dental hygienists and provide a summary of each interview.
  • Signed Notification of Estimated Program Expenses
  • Signed Notification of Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens

All applicants to the CCD Dental Hygiene program must apply and be accepted to the Community College of Denver prior to submitting a separate selective admission application to the Dental Hygiene program. During the CCD application process, applicants will establish their residency status and document their demographic/life experiences. These demographic/life experiences are evaluated during the application review to the dental hygiene program and include the following.

  • First-generation college student
  • Non-Traditional student (over age 50, GED recipient, single parent)
  • Underrepresented minority
  • DACA, DREAMer, ASSET, Undocumented
  • A resident of a rural location identified as a home/permanent address verified by federal, state, or county data

To see how each application is evaluated, visit our Application Review section to learn more.

All applicants must complete a criminal background check and drug screening before being offered an opportunity to interview for the program. Applicants who meet the minimum GPA criteria will be provided information on how to complete this step once all applications have been received and reviewed. 

Application Review Criteria and Points

Criteria Maximum Points
Science GPA 10
General Education GPA 5
Prior Education Credits 10
  • >28 credits and/or Bachelor's degree or higher complete
  • Deduction for retaking a prerequisite course (1 point per class: maximum 2-point loss)
Credit load/semester ->  12 credits/semester 16-25

GPA range and Points

3.5 - 4.0 =25 points

3.0 - 3.499 = 22 points

2.5 - 2.999 = 19 points

< 2.499 = 16 points

Credit load/semester - <  11 credits/semester 14-23

GPA range and points

3.5 - 4.0 = 23 points

3.0 - 3.499 = 20 points

2.5 - 2.999 = 17 points

< 2.499 = 16 points

Demographic/Life Experiences 3
  • First-generation college student
  • Non-traditional student
  • Military service
  • Underrepresented minority
  • DACA, DREAMer, ASSET, Undocumented
  • Rural Resident
Admissions Test for Dental Hygiene (ATDH) up to 15
Written Prompt Response 4
Two Dental Hygienist Interviews 5
Colorado Residency 3
Applicant Interview (by invitation only) 20
Total Points 100

Following review, background check, drug screening, and interview, scores are tallied, and the highest-scoring forty (40) individuals are offered a position within the dental hygiene class. The next ten (10) individuals are offered alternate status. If, for any reason, someone chooses not to accept their position in the class, the next highest-scoring individual from the alternate list is offered a position in the class.

The Dental Hygiene Curriculum includes two years of study. At the conclusion of study, students will earn 63 credits and have a total of 91 credits, including the prerequisite courses. View the Dental Hygiene Curriculum to learn more about the classes you will take.

During the two years of study, students are required to attend school in person for all clinical courses and labs. Classroom coursework is provided through a variety of delivery methods, including face-to-face/live instruction and remote online learning. Students are required to be available to attend school Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the possibility of evening classes or clinics.

Once accepted into the program, students begin to study part-time during the summer session of their acceptance year. The full-time study begins in the fall of the acceptance year and continues for two years, including a summer session between the first and second years of study. Students are also expected to maintain their clinical schedule and recruit patients as needed to fulfill program requirements.

Dental hygienists must hold a valid dental hygiene license specific to the state in which they wish to practice. Dental hygienists must comply with a specific state’s dental practice act. Rules and regulations pertaining to dental hygiene practice vary from state to state and must be obtained from the specific state dental board in which a dental hygienist wishes to practice.

Students graduating from CCD are eligible to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam (NBDHE) during their final semester in the program.  The NBDHE is a written examination that is accepted in all 50 states as one step in the licensure process.

An additional exam, a regional clinical exam, is also required for dental hygiene licensure. CCD currently serves as an examination site for the Central Regional Dental Testing Services (CRDTS) exam. This exam is accepted by the state of Colorado for dental hygiene licensure.

A criminal background check and drug screening are required and must be completed before being offered an opportunity to interview for the program. Applicants who meet the minimum GPA criteria will be provided information on how to complete this step in January once all applications have been reviewed. 

Basic computer skills are necessary, including the ability to use email, the Internet, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Word.

A Windows or MAC laptop computer is mandatory as instructors correspond via email, post-critical course and program information on the learning management system (LMS), and deliver examinations using third-party examination monitoring software for exam security.

The dental hygiene program is limited to the number of students it may admit to each class based on the size of the clinical facilities. Minimum criteria are established to be eligible for placement in the applicant pool and must be met by the application deadline of December 1. Meeting the minimum criteria for selection does not guarantee admission to the dental hygiene program. The final selection will be made using the 100-point system, which takes into account the criteria listed above. There is no waitlist, and the applicant pool is determined on a year-by-year basis.

 *Individuals completing prerequisite classes during the application semester must show proof of the course in progress through submission of an unofficial transcript at the time of application. Once final grades have been rendered for in-progress courses, an updated copy of the unofficial transcript must be sent to the dental hygiene program to complete the application.