Frequently Asked Questions


All applicants for the dental hygiene program must first complete one year of university courses in the following subject areas: Human Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, English, Psychology, Statistics, with one elective. Here is a link to the prerequisite courses needed (see Admission Requirements). Once you are near completion of these courses, you can begin the application process for the dental hygiene program. So, first complete the prerequisite courses, then apply to the dental hygiene program.

I am currently:

  1. A high school student currently enrolled in grades 9 through 11. It is great that you are thinking ahead and planning your career as a dental hygienist! You should meet with your school academic advisor or counsellor to ensure that you are taking the correct prerequisites courses to allow you to enrol into the VIU first-year science courses. You may need to take higher-level Math, Chemistry, and Biology courses in high school to qualify for the first-year science courses at VIU.
  2. A high school student in grade 12. Congratulations, you are now ready to apply to VIU to take the prerequisite courses that will enable you to apply to the dental hygiene program! We encourage you to connect with a VIU Recruiter who can assist you through the application process.  Once you have applied, we recommend you meet with an Educational Advisor to discuss courses that you will need to take during your first year at VIU.  Remember, you need to take one full year of university courses prior to applying to the dental hygiene program (see Admission Requirements).
  3. Enrolled in a post-secondary institution (college or university). If you have started taking courses at a post-secondary institution and you are interested in the dental hygiene program, we recommend you apply early (October) so that Admissions can review your transcript and you can connect with a VIU Educational Advisor to discuss your educational path.  Please review the prerequisite courses needed prior to your application to the dental hygiene program (see Admission Requirements). Note: Any Chemistry and Human Anatomy/Physiology courses need to contain labs/lab activities in order to be considered towards the admission requirements. Chemistry or Human Anatomy/Physiology courses without labs will not meet the admission requirements for the dental hygiene program.
  4. A dentist from another country. If you have completed a dental degree from another country, some of the admission requirements (such as specific prerequisite courses) may be fulfilled by your dental degree.
  5. An international student with a completed dental degree. Connect with the VIU International Advisors and they will help you with your application to the dental hygiene program.
  6. A Canadian citizen with a completed dental degree from a foreign country. Connect with VIU Admissions and Registration department and ask for the representative who handles domestic dental hygiene applications and they will be happy to help you with your application.

For anyone interested in the VIU dental hygiene program, please attend an information session where all your questions will be answered. The information sessions are typically held in October and February every year. Watch for Upcoming Information Sessions or on the VIU Dental Hygiene Facebook page.

All of the following information must be received by the program admission deadline (March 31).

  1. Completed Vancouver Island University Application for Admission.
  2. Official transcripts (sent directly from the institution) demonstrating completion of the required prerequisites. Refer to Admission Requirements for more details.
  3. Personal Profile form.

Registration/Admissions will notify successful applicants of acceptance near the end of May.

For admission purposes, both academic qualifications (GPA) and the personal profile are weighted.

General Questions

Yes. You can apply for the government student loan and grant program. You may also qualify for institutional scholarships and bursaries. Check with the Financial Aid and Awards office, located in Building 200 at the Nanaimo campus, or call 250.740.6423.

Yes. This program ladders into the Bachelor of Dental Science (Dental Hygiene) at the University of British Columbia, and the Bachelor of Health Sciences at Thompson Rivers University.

Employment Outcomes

The average wage for a dental hygienist in British Columbia is far above the national average. According to the British Columbia Dental Hygienists’ Association the average wage for registered dental hygienists in BC is approximately $45-50 per hour.

Traditionally jobs for dental hygiene graduates are abundant. Recently, some areas of the province are experiencing fewer openings due in part to the provincial economic climate, and to dental hygienists from other provinces moving to BC. However, VIU graduates are still reporting 100% employment.

Program Format

Students will be required to complete four semesters of academic study and clinical practice. The anticipated time commitment from students is from September to the end of April for both years one and two, with an average of 30 hours per week in the classroom and additional time required for out-of-class assignments and study. Clinical and theoretical instruction is scheduled Monday to Saturday during the day and in the evenings.

Questions related to the prerequisite courses should be directed to the Advising or Admissions departments at Vancouver Island University. It is also highly recommended that students attend the information session for the dental hygiene program (refer to the calendar for dates). During this session, faculty review the program in detail and are available to answer questions. You may also contact the Chair of the Dental Hygiene Diploma program.