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Students practicing on teeth


Dental Hygiene

We are currently accepting applications for the

RDHAP Fall 2018 Program

For registration Info, click here

Dental Community Clinic


Why Dental Hygiene? Why West?

West's dental hygiene program is among the most respected in the country.  100% of our dental hygiene graduates successfully pass the State licensing exam.  We currently offer a four-year full-time Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Program as well as a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP) program. The final Associate of Science (AS) degrees in dental hygiene will be conferred in June 2017.


Dental hygienists provide primary care to patients to maintain their oral health and prevent oral disease.  Dental hygienists enjoy excellent job prospects for the foreseeable future, with an average of 1,230 job openings per year expected in California through 2016 (Source EDD/LMID, Occupational Employment Survey 2008).  Dental hygienists work in general and specialty dental offices that offer many different types of preventative services including radiology, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, orthodontics, and oral surgery.  Other career options include education, sales, administration, and consulting.  Dental hygienists earn an excellent income, with median, full-time wages reaching almost $80,000 per year often with medical benefits, paid vacation and sick leave.

Degree Picture Type of Degree Offered

Degree Cap

Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene

Students enrolling in the Dental Hygiene Program at West Los Angeles College, graduate with a Bachelor Degree


Dental Hygienist in clinic

Bachelor of Science in Degree Completion

For Licensed Registered Dental Hygienists who have already obtained an Associate of Science Degree


Dental Hygienist in clinic

Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP)

For Licensed Registered Dental Hygienist in California - Additional License that allows the stablishment of independent dental hygiene practice / business


Dental Assistant in clinic

Dental Assistant

For those seeking to become Registered Dental Assistant, or to obtain an Associates Degree or Skills Certificate

Other Information

Oral health and homelessness are the greatest barriers to school attendance.

Dental health issues remain a barrier to attendance, as evidenced by a 2010 Los Angeles School Attendance Review Board (SARB), which lists dental health along with homelessness in the top barriers to attendance.


Oral disease is the most comm​on illness for children.

Almost 60% of kids ages 5 to 17 have cavities - making tooth decay five times more common than asthma among children of this age.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS]. Oral Health in America. A Report of the Surgeon General; 2000, p. 63.


Children need oral health ​care the most.

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting nearly 6 in 10 children in the United Sates. In California, the need for oral health is the most prevalent unmet health care need among children and adolescents.

The Critical Connection between Student Health and Academic Achievement: How Schools And Policymakers Can Achieve A Positive Impact, page 3


As the need for oral health grows, numbers in the profession are dropping.

The job market for dental hygienists is booming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupation will grow 33.3 percent by 2022, which is much faster than the average growth rate for most professions.

There are more dentists retiring each year than there are dental school graduates to replace them.

Beazoglou T et al. “Selling Your Practice at Retirement.” Journal of the American Dental Association, Vol. 131, No. 12, 1693-1698; 2000. See also Gehshan S et al. Help Wanted: A Policy Maker’s Guide to New Dental Providers; May 2009.      


West’s  Dental Programs offer free oral health care to over 5,000 children and adults in its community each year.