Students working in dental hygiene labAt Carrington College California we have a program where interested students can reach out to graduates about their experience and ask for their advice. Recently, we had prospective dental hygiene student, Ms. Cadieux, reach out to our former Dental Hygiene Class President of her junior and senior terms, Laura Russell. Below is their conversation.

Cadieux: Why did you enroll in Carrington College California versus a community college school?

Russell: I chose Carrington College California (CCC) as it does not require the gamble of a lottery system. I am a mom of two, wife and an all around very busy person, and I wanted to get going on my education immediately. I have had friends that spent years in community college lottery systems. Both my parents are RN’s, and my dad spent four years in the lottery until he was selected. My good friend, was alternate #42, meaning the entire class would have had to drop out twice for her to be a candidate for enrollment.

I also liked that CCC’s four terms are condensed. Condensed, not meaning “lacking info”, just that the classes are four days a week, straight through the day, and we don’t have long summer and winter breaks. The time saved by attending CCC was over a year that otherwise at a community college would have mainly been made up of summer and winter breaks.

Cadieux: Do you now feel ready to be employed, and do your job with confidence?

Russell: Yes I do. I was an RDA (Registered Dental Assistant) first, and wanted to work more independently, with more functions and more respect. The paycheck doesn’t hurt either. I feel confident in my skills as a clinician, public educator, patient advocate and as a hygienist with the most current and cutting edge periodontal education. I was trained on new, high-quality clinical equipment with instructors that ranged from decades of experience to those who are post-graduates within the last five years. So, we have been given education and experience, tricks of the trade and perspective, new and old. I feel well versed in the profession and prepared. Our school also offers many opportunities to meet with professionals (RDH & DDS) in the community through public health activities, externships with dentists and component and conference activity. It is a well-rounded experience that has me feeling prepared and confident.

Cadieux: Do you think CCC is pricey?

Russell: Yes, I do. I think anything more than about $50 is pricey. However, when I compare that to the long future I have in the field, it is truly a drop in the bucket. The CCC Dental Hygiene program has many benefits that I did not find at other schools. We have an entire 16-week class dedicated to the national board review. We carefully review each subject with the instructors who taught them in the last term. I found the information we reviewed to really be the meat and potatoes of what was on the national board exam. Our instructors traveled with us to state boards, helped meticulously and compassionately assist in finding board patients, and spent hours reviewing the board process to help us feel prepared. Board exams are a very stressful time, and having a school that sends us with all of our supplies, instruments and powered ultrasonic scalers is a huge help in the process.

The other schools I looked at are cheaper, their facilities are older, and you get less support with boards and not as many personal instruments. At CCC, you get your own typodonts, dozens of instruments, cassettes to store them in, and a clinic that is immaculately clean and stocked with all of the things you and your patients will need.

Cadieux: What made you pick CCC?

Russell: Proximity to home, no lottery, previous positive experience with the school (I went to dental assisting school there and did the majority of my prerequisites there), and the quality I saw in the clinic. Cost was truly an afterthought, and now that I am done, it was worth it and I’m glad I made the choice.

Cadieux: If I were to be struggling in a certain subject/topic is there a lot of help offered?

Russell: Yes, you have a faculty advisor to help you. You will get grade reports and many teachers offer reviews and study guides to assist with exams. They want us to succeed. Many instructors will spend time through email, after class or during their office hours to help if you have any questions. It is nice that everyone’s office is located in one spot on campus. I never felt lost or pushed off, I was offered more help than I truly needed. And also like I stated above, the help with board exams was above and beyond.

Cadieux: Did you feel confident going into take the state board’s test?

Russell: Yes. Obviously, I had nerves. As far as support from the staff, I had it times 10. The staff was in the UCSF lobby with snacks and water for our patients and us and had suitcases full of extra supplies if we needed them. It was a 5+-hour day for me, and the support was amazing. They spent probably 10 hours alone on just my board patient over the assessment process in the months prior to boards, checking, rechecking, helping with prefect radiographs, board prep with filling out the treatment forms, and much more. We also take a “mock board” exam that simulates pretty much exactly what we do during the board
exam, except obviously it is in a different location for the real boards. They give feedback and advice so you know what to work on.

Cadieux: Did you have a job while in the Dental Hygiene program?

Russell: I did not have a job. My husband supported us through the process. Yet, I remained an active volunteer at my kids’ schools, spent many weekends doing fun things (not tied to a book 24/7) and maintained a great home throughout the process. I felt lucky. I did have many classmates who worked part time while in school, and they were all still top-notch students. I am in awe of those who had kids, families, 32 hours a week of school AND part-time jobs—yet they all still graduated, some with honors and awards.

24 thoughts on “Dental Hygiene Program – A Graduate’s Opinion

  1. amarie

    Hi Im curious, how long is the actial dental hygiene program not including the pre-reqs. Also if I attend this school do I need to complete the DA program before I could even start the DH program?

  2. leila

    Hi ,
    this is leila. I would like to know about the prerequisite courses before get into dental hygeine program

  3. Vee

    Are classes Monday through Friday?
    During the day or night?

  4. Fabiola Silva

    Hi I am interested in San Jose ca dental hygiene program . What is the schedule for school like ? Doesn’t have to be exact just want to know if I will be able to keep my job. I’m currently a dental assistant .

    • Hi Fabiola. The Dental Hygiene program schedule at the San Jose campus is Monday through Thursday from 8am to 5pm. If you have any other questions, give us a call at 1-855-289-2171.

  5. Tiffany


    I am interested in the Dental Hygiene program located in Sacramento, CA. What is the class schedule and time? Also, what is the total cost of the Dental Assistant program and the continuation general prerequisites for an A.S. degree including the Dental Hygiene program?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Tiffany. The Sacramento Dental Hygiene program class schedule is Tuesday through Friday from 7:30am to 5pm. You can find tuition information for the Dental Assisting program at, page 145.
      To learn about general prerequisites to receive an Associate’s Degree in these programs, click the above link and visit pages 24-25 for Dental Assisting and pages 28-29 for Dental Hygiene.
      If you have any other questions or would like more information about enrollment, give us a call at 1-855-289-2171.

  6. Rouz

    Hi! I just want to ask if there are any accreditations for a foreign grad dentist with experience if she will get in to your school’s dental hygiene program. Is it necessary for her to take the whole program or you can just evaluate her transcript so that she can only take just the missing subjects? Thanks

    • Hi Rouz. For specific information about transferring into Carrington, please contact us via phone so we can better provide information specific to you. Please call us at 1-855-289-2171.

  7. Elizabeth

    I’m interested to enter to this program in Mesa, Az.

  8. Amber Arvin

    Hello, my name is Amber, and at the moment I’m currently enrolled at Columbia Community college. I was wondering if this program takes Transfer credits from another college. For example, if I took Anatomy and passed with an A or B would I still need to take DH 13 (Head and Neck Anatomy)

  9. Sydney Mcclary

    Hi I have most of my prerequisites done for the dental hygiene program except two classes, does carrington offer any of the prerequisites courses?

  10. Bee

    Can I work an 8-5 job and still do dental hygiene?

    • Hi Bee. Please give us a call at 1-855-289-2171 so we can help answer your question. Thanks!

  11. Ashley C

    How long is the prerequisites program?

  12. Leslie

    Hello, I am interested in the dental hygiene program for Mesquite, TX. What days and time would the program be offered for Fall 2018?

    • Carrington College

      Hi Leslie! I’m sorry but we currently do not offer dental hygiene in Mesquite. Please check out our academic catalog at as that will have the latest information if anything changes in the future.

  13. Nyah J.

    If I finish my general education classes for Dental Hygiene (Mesa Campus) at another college, Will my tuition decrease?

  14. morgan

    Hi! I was looking into Dental Hygiene at the Boise campus. I saw numbers around 55,000 for tuition and fees, is this a one time tuition payment for the course or should I expect to pay that more than once? All my pre reqs have been met at a community college so I would assume I would jump right into the program/courses

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