Click on a question to read the answer.

What are the admission guidelines for the program?

Applicants must meet the general admission requirements for the college. Cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be ≥ 2.75 by the end of Fall 2024. If your GPA is not above a 2.75, you are encouraged to seek advising from the Health Professions Advising and Applications Office Advising team or Ms. Perdue ( about how this will impact your eligibility and how to improve your GPA as early in the process as possible.

The following high school prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher by the end of the Spring 2025 semester:

  • Chemistry

Appropriate developmental or college courses can be substituted for high school deficiencies.

The following college level prerequisites must be completed by the end of Spring 2025 with a “C” or higher in each course:

  • SDV 101 (Orientation to Health Professions – 2 cr.)
  • BIO 141 (Human Anatomy & Physiology I – 4 cr. with lab)

The following college level prerequisite must be completed by end of SUMMER 2025 with a “C” or higher:

  • BIO 142 (Human Anatomy & Physiology II – 4 cr. with lab)
  • Please note this is the ONLY prerequisite that is allowed to be completed in summer prior to fall admission. If admitted into the program, without completion of this course, the BIO 142 must be completed by end of summer (July/beginning of August) with a final grade of “C” or higher to maintain your accepted status into the fall DNH program.

BIO 141/142 must be taken within the 5 years prior to the fall semester you are applying for. BIO 231 and BIO 232 with labs are acceptable equivalents.

What steps do I need to take if I graduated high school from another country and cannot obtain my official high school transcript?

For applicants who graduated high school from a foreign country and it is not feasible for them to obtain an official (and translated) document, the applicant can complete this document (PDF) or write a statement that they are unable to obtain the official High School transcript because they graduated from another country and print your name, sign your name and include the seven digit student id number. 

What happens if my college does not offer a two credit SDV course?  How can I fulfill the two credit SDV requirement?

If your college offers a one credit SDV 100 and a one credit SDV 101, we can combine those two courses (provided final grade is ‘c” or higher to equate to the two credit SDV 101 prerequisite.  In addition, if you have completed an Associate or higher, upon receipt of the official transcript showing degree completion, we can use the previous degree to award credit for prior learning for the two credit SDV prerequisite. If your college only offers the one credit SDV, we can use the one credit of SDV, and then if you have completed another HLT or PED course, we can use that course for the second SDV credit.  In addition, several community colleges offer their two credit SDV courses on-line, including VWCC, that you can apply to that college and register and pay and complete the two credit SDV.

Is admission to the program very competitive?

Approximately eighteen (18) students will be admitted yearly to the Roanoke Dental Hygiene class, approximately eighteen (18) to the Joint Venture at Laurel Ridge Community College (in even numbered years), and approximately 15-20 to the Joint Venture at Danville Community College (in odd numbered years). The criteria that will be evaluated include: (1) academic record and GPA, including science grades (Chemistry and Anatomy and Physiology I), (2) TEAS reading comprehension results – the percentile, and (3) previous healthcare experience in dental office. The total number of qualified applicants considered for admission (including the Joint Venture) for 2024 was 150+. (If the Admission Review Committee elects to include other admission information in the admission rubric, we will include that information here.)

What is the TEAS? When do I take it?

TEAS is the Test of Essential Academic Skills for Allied Health. The TEAS measures basic essential skills in the academic content areas of reading, mathematics, science and English and language usage. We are most interested in the results of the reading comprehension component for Dental Hygiene admission purposes. (If the admission rubric includes other components of the TEAS score, we will place that information here in the fall.)

Roanoke and Join Venture TEAS testing is usually conducted mid-March. All qualified early applicants should receive additional details by mid-March 2025 regarding TEAS testing dates. (Danville Community College applicants will be completing the TEAS VII remotely with VWCC applicants.)

Applicants can only test once. Those who have applied before and took the TEAS must test again (previous scores cannot be used).

What if I complete the TEAS for another program beginning October 2024? Can I use those TEAS scores?

If you complete the TEAS VII after October 1, 2024, you may use your TEAS scores for the fall 2025 admission cycle. You will need to contact ATI and ask for a score transcript to be sent to VA Western CC-AH. After five days of your request, you will then need to email Ms. Woody at to confirm receipt of the TEAS scores from ATI. In addition, all previously completed TEAS scores since October of 2024 must be present in the Health Professions Advising and Applications Office by the last testing date at VWCC, typically in mid-March.

Who makes the admission decisions? When are the results given to the applicants?

A Dental Hygiene Admissions Committee, which meets near the end of the spring semester, makes the admission decisions. Decisions are emailed to the applicants as soon as possible, usually during mid-to-late May.

Does it help to take the program support courses before starting the program?

The dental hygiene program is difficult, so some students like to have some of the general support courses (Eng 111, Psy 230, Bio 150, and Phi 220) done prior to beginning the program. It should be understood that support courses are not treated as prerequisites and meeting the admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. The HP Program Advisor, Ms. Rhonda Perdue, can assist you with course planning. Please direct any inquiries or concerns to

Why are some support classes within the AAS Dental Hygiene not covered by Financial Aid (FA) in the CSC: Introduction to Dental Hygiene?

The CSC: Introduction to Dental Hygiene consist of specific coursework that is designed to allow applicants to the Dental Hygiene program to complete some of the courses required within the AAS and to also offer a job skill option to applicants in case of non-admittance to the program. Not all prerequisite and support classes are included in the CSC.  The BIO 150 is not included in the CSC and the course options offer PSY 230 OR PHI 220.  If you are using FA to cover the cost of classes, FA will not cover the cost of both PSY 230 and PHI 220 nor will it cover the BIO 150 course. If you wish to complete those courses prior to entry, you need to plan to pay for those courses out of pocket.  If you are accepted into the AAS Dental Hygiene program, at that time, FA will then cover those courses.  The plan change for accepted students, to be placed into the AAS program from the CSC, typically occurs in late May or early June for the accepted students and will not be effective until the fall term.

Do I have to complete the observation form if I am currently working in Dental Assisting?

Yes, the 16 hours of observation is still required for those currently working in a dental office. You may observe in the office you are currently practicing; however, the form has to be documents regarding the observed procedures and must be signed by a dentist and dental hygienist.  Note: completed form must be submitted by application deadline of December 1, 2024.  You may submit the Dental Hygiene application prior to the observation hour form being submitted.

Why is the dental hygiene program considered difficult?

The curriculum has a heavy emphasis on general and dental hygiene sciences, as well as clinical sessions which demand technical and lecture application skills. All classes included in the AAS Dental Hygiene curriculum must be passed with a grade of “C” or above to ensure continued enrollment. (Support classes for Dental Hygiene (non-DNH courses), must be completed with a “c” or higher as well. Continuance in the program is based upon academic criteria and adherence to attendance and other program policies covered at orientation. Satisfactory progress is necessary for eligibility to take licensure examinations.

In addition, the Dental Hygiene program utilizes the following grading scale for the DNH courses: 

Percentage  Letter Grade

93% – 100%  A

92% – 86%   B

85% – 77%   C

76% – 69%   D

≤68% F

Are there additional costs beyond tuition and books?

Yes. Upon enrollment into the program, Dental Hygiene students are required to purchase items specifically for their field of study such as an instrument kit, uniforms, and special supplies. These fees are non-refundable. The student should be prepared to pay approximately $2,500.00 for these particular expenses at dental hygiene orientation prior to the beginning of first year fall classes. A loupe and light will be required to assist with visualization. This item will cost approx. $1,400.00. The purchase of supplies will be approximately $800.00. Other medical related expenses (ie. physical, PPD, Hep B) if accepted are typical for most students in a health related program. In addition, there are other cost associated with Board Fees and Reviews as well (please see the estimated cost sheet).

How are patients/clients recruited for clinical experiences?

Students are responsible for recruiting patient/clients for clinical experiences. Approximately 60 patient/client experiences at specified levels of competency are required for program completion. Resources for client recruitment include previous clinic clients, students, college faculty/staff, Bradley Free Clinic (Roanoke), Roanoke Valley Health Department, and friends or family of students. Clinic services are free to the public. Note: Applicants should be aware that an evening clinical experience may be necessary on a limited basis, due to the number of students involved and clinical hours necessary to meet educational standards.

What would be the impact on program completion, for a person who does not have the COVID-19 vaccination?

Virginia Western Community College does not require students to be vaccinated. However, in the second year of the program students participate in enrichment activities where they spend time at local dental clinics. Some of our enrichment partners may require students to be vaccinated in order to attend. If you choose not to receive vaccinations required by the clinical facilities, the following could occur:

  • You may be able to be rerouted to another facility only if one exists; and if there are available faculty to support an alternate clinical experience,
  • You may not be able to be rerouted to another facility because there is no other option for this specific educational requirement;
  • If there is not another clinical option, due to the facility requirements and the inability to route you to another facility, you will be unable to continue in the program

What is the policy regarding non-discrimination?

Applicants for admission to the dental hygiene program are considered for class positions based on their ability to meet program admission standards, without regard to race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, or other non-merit factors.

Is there a waiting list? What process do I follow if I want to apply for a future year?

There is not a waiting list. All applicants who meet the deadline who are minimally qualified and complete the application process will be considered for the program each year. Applicants that wish to begin preparing for possible future consideration can submit the Dental Hygiene application form with a note attached informing us of your future goal. You will still have to provide official transcripts with the application if you desire advising from the advisor so proper courses can be suggested. If you are planning to take classes to meet prerequisite requirements or completing support courses prior to entry, you will benefit from advising and receive updates on changes to the curriculum (if any). Later, you will need to submit the observation form and application prior to the December 1 deadline for the following fall program.

If I applied for a fall program, and are not accepted, what is the process for reapplying to the next year?

Typically, your status letter for fall, will outline the necessary steps for reapplication to the program.  Typically, a new program application is required and the new set of observation hours, on the new program observation form for the application year is due.  We would need a final High School transcript showing graduation/completion if we you previously applied while still in High School and prior to graduation.  We would need official updated transcripts from any colleges attempted since the last application period.

Do I have to pass a licensing test to practice as a Registered Dental Hygienist?

Yes! In all 50 states, RDHs are required to pass a regional clinical licensing exam as well as a national written exam. They must also meet additional state requirements in order to obtain a license to work as a RDH. Prospective students should be aware that in Virginia, and in many other states, completing a fingerprinting and background check process may be part of the licensing process. If students have any concerns regarding possible findings on these reports, they may contact the Virginia Board of Dentistry or the State Agency in which the prospective student plans to work.


Est. Tuition*: $
Credits: 72 Hours
Time: 2 Years

*Estimated cost reflects in-state rate and is subject to change


The cost of attendance is an estimate of the costs a student may have while at Virginia Western.

Click here for the cost of attendance for financial aid.

 Fralin Center HP339
New Students: Chapman Hall
Fax: 540-857-6640

Mailing address:
School of Health Professions
3091 Colonial Ave., SW
Roanoke, VA 24015


Marlana Thomas
Administrative Officer, Dental Hygiene

B.S. Dental Hygiene – Old Dominion University, 2010
M.S. Education – Old Dominion University, 2011


Martha Sullivan, Dean