Dental Hygiene Admission Requirements

Start: Fall 2024

Location: Moorhead campus

Application deadline: February 29, 2024
(Application must be received by 11:59 p.m. for the Fall 2024 semester start) 

Thank you for your interest in the Dental Hygiene program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Before applying to the Dental Hygiene program, you must complete M State’s general admission process and the prerequisite courses required for acceptance into the program. To be considered for the Dental Hygiene program after you are admitted to the college, you must submit the completed Dental Hygiene Application before February 29 of the year you wish to enroll in the program. Transcripts from any other colleges you have attended must be received before February 29.

Important Information: 

  • Approximately 65 students apply to the Dental Hygiene program each year.
  • The top 20 applicants are accepted for fall term based on a point system. If you retake a class, the grades will be averaged. The next 10 highest-scoring applicants are placed on an alternate list. Should a student decline acceptance into the program, the position will be offered to the first person on the alternate list. 
  • Students not accepted into the program must reapply to be considered for a future year.
  • The general education classes required for Dental Hygiene students are offered on the M State Moorhead campus and are transferrable to a four-year college or university.
  • The program in Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation [and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”]. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at 312.440.4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. The Commission’s web address is
  • Graduates of the Dental Hygiene program are eligible to write the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and complete the state or regional clinical board examination. 

Careers in Dental Hygiene 

Dental hygienists are licensed health care professionals who are skilled in preventing diseases such as cavities (dental caries) and gum disease (periodontal disease) to promote oral and systemic health. The dental hygienist provides direct patient care under the supervision of a dentist and is an essential member of the dental team. Dental hygienists must complete an accredited educational program to qualify for licensure in a particular state or region. Dental hygienists are licensed with the credential of Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) or Licensed Dental Hygienist (LDH) following completion of an academic program that includes didactic and clinical requirements.

Upon licensure, there are many career paths a dental hygienist may choose. Some paths may require additional education such as a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene or a master’s degree.

  • Clinician - Dental hygienists in a clinical role assess, diagnose, plan, implement, evaluate and document treatment for prevention, intervention and control of oral disease. Clinicians can be employed in private practice, community dental clinics, hospitals, university dental clinics, prison facilities, nursing homes and schools.
  • Corporate - Sales representative, product research, corporate educator, corporate administrator
  • Public health - Variety of roles and settings, typically government-funded or non-profit organizations
  • Researcher - Colleges and universities, corporations, governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations
  • Educator - Clinical instructors, classroom instructors, program directors, corporate educators
  • Administrator - Clinical director for a statewide school sealant program, dental hygiene school program director, dean of health sciences at an educational institution, executive director for a state association, director for corporate sales
  • Entrepreneur - Product development and sales, practice management company, employment service, continuing education provider, consulting business, founder of nonprofit, independent clinical practice, professional speaker/writer

Learn more at

Dental Hygiene Program Plan - AAS Plan  

Dental Hygiene admission information:

Admission to the Dental Hygiene program is limited to 20 students each year. Applications to the program are accepted from January 2 to February 29. Selection is based on a formula with components of ACT score and prerequisite grades. Students must also meet the following eligibility criteria. 

Apply to M State
All students who apply to the Dental Hygiene program must apply and be accepted to the college no later than February 29. 
Apply to the Dental Hygiene program 
Application to the Dental Hygiene program will be open from January 2 - February 29, 2024. You must be accepted to M State to access the program application.
Developmental coursework and placement testing

Placement testing: Students who have not completed ENGL 1101 or MATH 0095 and who do not have a recent ACT score are required to complete placement testing prior to registering for the first semester. Students who need to complete placement testing should visit for testing dates and locations.

Developmental coursework: All developmental coursework, if required by the placement testing results or ACT scores, must be completed prior to starting Dental Hygiene prerequisite courses.

Developmental coursework includes:

  • ELL 0050 Foundations of ELL
  • ELL 0060 ELL Reading
  • ELL 1060 ELL Writing I
  • ELL 1080 ELL Writing II 
  • ENGL 0096 Reading & Writing Strategies
  • ENGL 0097 Express English Strategies
  • ENGL 0098 Accelerated English
  • MATH 0055 Foundations of Math
  • MATH 0085 Elementary Algebra I
  • MATH 0095 Elementary Algebra II
Repeated courses
Repeated courses will be averaged for points. Visit with an advisor before repeating a course.
Prerequisite courses 

The following courses need to be completed prior to the application deadline: 

  • BIOL 2260 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 
  • BIOL 2267 Medical Microbiology 
  • DENT 1102 Dental Anatomy 
  • ENGL 1101 College Writing
  • PSYC 1200 General Psychology or SOC 1111 Intro to Sociology 
  • CHEM 1100 Fundamental Concepts of Chemistry

These additional courses need to be completed prior to enrolling in DENT 1103: 

  • BIOL 2262 Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • BIOL 2202 Principles of Nutrition
  • PSYC 1200 General Psychology and SOC 1111 Intro to Sociology 

Having completed the prerequisite courses does NOT guarantee acceptance into the Dental Hygiene program.

Selection of candidates for the M State Dental Hygiene program: 

Applicants to the Dental Hygiene program will be assigned points for ACT score and the prerequisite courses listed below. The 20 applicants who score the highest will be selected for admission to the Dental Hygiene program. To receive points for a course, applicants must have completed the course and received a grade before March 1 of the year that the student applied to the program.

  • Applicants who are in the process of completing courses will not receive points for those courses.
  • All repeated graded courses (A-F) will be averaged.
  • All science courses must be completed within the past five years to be eligible for points.
  • You may apply before you have completed all of the prerequisite courses, but you will need to be registered for them during spring semester and receive a “C” or higher to begin the Dental Hygiene program. 
  • Students must have completed the prerequisites prior to full acceptance into the Dental Hygiene program.
  • In the case of one or more ties, the grade from CHEM 1100 Fundamental Concepts of Chemistry will be used as a tiebreaker. If a tie continues, a public lottery will be the determinant.

Prerequisite courses: 

  • BIOL 2260 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIOL 2267 Medical Microbiology 
  • DENT 1102 Dental Anatomy
  • ENGL 1101 College Writing (or ENGL 1102, 1205, 1210 or 1215) *
  • PSYC 1200 General Psychology or SOC 1111 Intro to Sociology *

*The highest of the grades will be used. 

Additional points are also awarded for obtaining a grade of B or higher in BIOL 2261 Human Anatomy and Physiology I Lab and BIOL 2268 Medical Microbiology Lab. 

Click here to view the Fall 2024 Dental Hygiene Program Application Assessment form

Acceptance notification: 

Each student who has submitted a complete admissions file by a posted deadline will receive an email from the college indicating whether they are accepted into the program, placed on the program waiting list as an alternate or currently ineligible for the program. Please be sure to provide your current email address on your program application. 

Applicants will be notified within 30 days of the application deadline. Twenty students will be accepted, and 10 students will be placed on the waiting list as alternates. Alternates are responsible for providing current phone numbers and email addresses for notification during the summer if an opening occurs.

Estimated program costs for the 2023-24 M State Dental Hygiene program: 

Please note: All costs are estimates. Estimates for room, board, transportation and personal expenses are not included.

ItemDental Hygiene AAS program - 88 credits

Dental Hygiene First Year/Prerequisites: 26 credits

Tuition ($180.80 per credit): $4,700.80
Books $1,500
Technology Fee ($10/credit) $260
Activity Fee ($3.70/credit) $96.20
Student Association Fee (.35/credit) $9.10
Wellness Fee ($6/credit) $156
Parking Fee ($30/semester) $60


Dental Hygiene First Year: 32 credits 

Tuition ($224.60 per credit): $7,187.20
Books $900
Laptop Computer $1,000
Supplies $2,125
Technology Fee ($10/credit) $320
Activity Fee ($3.70/credit) $118.40
Student Association Fee (.35/credit) $11.20
Wellness Fee ($6/credit) $192
Parking Fee ($30/semester) $60


Dental Hygiene Second Year: 30 credits 

Tuition ($224.60 per credit): $6,738
Books $500
Supplies $2,125
Technology Fee ($10/credit) $300
Activity Fee ($3.70/credit) $111
Student Association Fee (.35/credit) $10.50
Wellness Fee ($6/credit) $180
Parking Fee ($30/semester) $60

Dental Hygiene National Board Exam$455
Central Region Dental Test$1,025
Minnesota Jurisprudence Exam$60

Additional program requirements for accepted students: 

Correspondence from the college will provide more information related to the following. However, Dental Hygiene program applicants are encouraged to consider these requirements ahead of time. 

Laptop computer
Dental Hygiene program students must have a laptop computer. The cost will be in addition to the cost of tuition, fees and books. Computer must be a Windows-based system. M State students have access to Office 365 in the student portal. The required computer specifications can be found at
Accepted students must have current certification in American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS). Current card must be uploaded to the online Student Passport System. Certification must include a hands-on, in-person testing component.
Background check

State law requires that students having direct contact with individuals in licensed institutions complete an annual background study with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Students in the dental programs are also required to complete a federal criminal background study. Students who do not pass the background checks will not be allowed to participate in clinical activities and thus are not eligible for graduation. The background studies will be initiated after the spring program orientation and must be completed by July 1. The fee will be assessed to DENT 1103, Intro to Dental Healthcare Providers 1. Once the background study has been initiated, the student will be directed to a site for fingerprinting. Currently the cost of fingerprinting is $10.

The background study results must be uploaded to the Student Passport by July 1.

Health data
Students accepted to the Dental Hygiene program are required to complete the information on Student Passport System. This information must be completed by July 1. Included are the instructions for a current record of a two-step Mantoux test or the QuantiFERON tb Gold blood test. All immunizations must be current. It is strongly recommended that students in the dental programs be vaccinated against Hepatitis B. Health career program students may be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials, therefore may be at risk of acquiring the Hepatitis B virus (HBV).
GPA requirement
Students must achieve a grade of C or above for each course required in the program in order to progress. If a student receives less than a grade of C in any of the Dental program courses, they will be unable to complete sequential courses.
Clinical and Laboratory Health and Safety Provisions

M State and the Dental Hygiene program comply with mandated and recommended health and safety policies to ensure a safe learning and working environment for students, staff and patients. Upon entering the Dental Hygiene program, students will be provided with the M State Dental Program Student Faculty Handbook, which details all program policies related to infection control, hazards management and safety in the lab and clinical settings. The M State Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Policy is available on the college website. 
Dual Enrollment Bachelor's Degree Program 
M State has an affiliation agreement with Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn. This agreement allows an M State Dental Hygiene student the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene concurrently while earning the AAS degree at M State. Students interested in this program should work on their general education/Liberal Arts & Sciences degree while completing prerequisites for the M State Dental Hygiene degree. Please visit with an advisor about this option.

If you experience any issues with the application, please call 877.450.3322 or email

Please be aware that M State’s Dental Hygiene admission requirements are subject to change in order to assure the quality of the program.