Community Commitment

Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP) Educational Course

The Pacific Center for Special Care is pleased to offer a primarily web-based postgraduate program on oral health for people with complex needs. This online program has been approved by the California Dental Board to satisfy the 150-hour education requirement for the Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP) license in California. The four-month program is offered twice each year. Apply to the program online >>

Program Description

As California's population continues to grow, it has become one of the most diverse in the U.S. Promoting oral health is becoming increasingly challenging. This course was designed for dental professionals who would like to expand their knowledge and ability to treat people with complex physical, medical, psychological or social situations. The program is primarily Web-based and was designed to reach professionals in both rural and urban areas. Two in-person sessions, one at the beginning and one at the end of the program, allow students to meet and interact with their peers and instructors.

Primary topic areas covered in this program include information management; dental hygiene practice; medically complex patients; oral pathology; pharmacology; developmental disabilities and oral health care; geriatrics; medical and dental emergencies; business administration for dental hygienists; treatment for children with and without special needs; case studies and a community field assignment.

The Pacific program is open to any oral health professional interested in oral health for people with complex needs and is not limited to individuals who will be applying for the RDHAP license. This program provides more than 100 hours of continuing education credit. Some states limit the amount of online credits that are counted for license renewal. Please check your state licensing board regulations.

State Requirements to Obtain the RDHAP License 

The RDHAP License is granted by the California Dental Hygiene Committee.  Requirements and application procedures are listed on their web site.  Requirements to apply for the RDHAP license are:

  • Applicants must hold a current and active California license as a Registered Dental Hygienist
  • Have been engaged in clinical practice as a dental hygienist for a minimum of 2,000 hours during the immediately preceding 36 months (which can be in California or another state)
  • Possess a Bachelor's of Science (B.S.) degree or transcripts demonstrating the equivalency of 120 semester units
  • Complete 150 hours of an approved educational RDHAP program (this course)
  • Pass a written examination in California law and eithics (seperate from this course)

Further details about these requirements are available on the California Dental Hygiene Committee website.  Note that the 150-hour educational program (this course) can be taken at any time and does not require the completion of the other requirements listed above. The RDHAP license may be applied for at any time after completion of this course, when the other requirements outlined above have been satisfied. For inquiries about requirements for or applying for the RDHAP license, please contact the California Dental Hygiene Committee


For more information on some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the RDHAP educational course and RDHAP licensing procedures in the State of California, plesase click here. 

How to Apply

Apply online here >>

Please include your $200 nonrefundable application fee with your online application. The $200 application fee is required in order for your course application to be considered.  It will be applied to your program fee upon confirmation into the program.

Applications are accepted until three weeks prior to the program start date. Enrollment for this program is limited, and applications are processed on a first-come first-serve basis. We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.

For more information, please contact Maureen Harrington at 415.385.5017  or email her at  


Total program fees for this course are $3,975. A $1,000 deposit is due upon confirmation of acceptance to the program. This fee reserves the participant's enrollment and is not refundable 30 days prior to the start of the program. The remaining fees are due no later than one week prior to the start of the first in-person session. Program fees are non-refundable after sessions have begun.

Registration for next session begins  Spring 2016 Session- September 12th, 2015
Application Fee  $200 non-refundable fee
Confirmation Fee  $1,000 due upon confirmation of application
Program Fee Deadline  Monday, February 1st 2016 
Start Spring 2016 First In-Person Session  Friday, February 5th 2016
End Spring 2016 & Final In-Person Session  Friday, April 29th 2016

Future Session Dates

The next RDHAP session will take place in Fall 2016. The course will occur from September-Decmeber 2016, and exact dates have yet to be determined at this time. Registration for the Fall 2016 course will be available on this site beginning Saturday, February 6th 2016. 


Students are required to have a computer that meets specific requirements in order to participate in the RDHAP course. See computer requirements here.  It is the responsibility of the student to confirm that their computer is compatible with course programs. Test your computer by opening and running the presentation tutorial here. Close the tutorial when you are finished by clicking the "X" in the upper right hand corner of the window.   

Student Kit

Reading materials and references are optional.