The Division of Continuing Dental Education is pleased to offer a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP) program. Led by Elena Francisco, RDHAP, MS, this online program is designed for dental hygienists interested in expanding their knowledge and ability to treat people with complex physical, medical or psychological needs and patients in underserved communities. It has been approved by the Dental Hygiene Board of California to satisfy the 150-hour education requirement needed to apply for an RDHAP license in California.The virtual program, offered twice each year, consists of live, interactive webinars, online modules and a field of study. 

Led by Elena Francisco, RDHAP, MS, this online program is designed for dental hygienists interested in expanding their knowledge and ability to treat people with complex physical, medical or psychological needs and patients in underserved communities. As California’s population continues to grow, it has become one of the most diverse in the United States. Promoting oral health is becoming increasingly challenging. This virtual program is designed to reach professionals in both urban and rural areas. Two live, interactive webinars will allow students to meet their peers and instructors virtually.

Primary topic areas covered in this program include: dental hygiene practice and theory; treating medically complex patients, geriatric patients and children with and without special needs; oral pathology; pharmacology; information management; developmental disabilities and oral health care; medical and dental emergencies; and business administration for dental hygienists.

The Dugoni School of Dentistry Difference:

  • A personalized program for RDHAPs led by practicing RDHAPs
  • The only RDHAP program offered by an accredited dental school in California
  • A fully online program approved by the Dental Hygiene Board of California
  • Interest-free payment plans available to qualified candidates
  • Funding available through the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan
  • Convenient virtual program accessible from anywhere in California

The Dugoni School of Dentistry 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 150 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 Dental Hygiene Board of California. Requirements and application procedures are listed on their website. 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 of science (BS) 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 ethics (separate from this course)

Your eligibility for the RDHAP license needs to be confirmed with the Dental Hygiene Board of California. The Dugoni School of Dentistry provides the continuing education course only. It is the student's responsibility to confirm if college units and foreign-trained dental provider degrees are eligible for licensing purposes. It is the student's responsibility to confirm this with the DHBC and students are encouraged to do this prior to enrollment in the course.

Note that the 150-hour educational RDHAP program 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 Dental Hygiene Board of California. 

Because this is a virtual program, students are expected to have a computer that meets minimum computer requirements. Students need:

  • Reliable access to a computer
  • To be familiar with using basic computer programs and accessing the Internet
  • Able to use Microsoft Word, including naming, saving and retrieving documents
  • A computer with sound and speakers capable of playing video from the web 

A reliable internet connection

The following software applications:

  • Microsoft Word (version 2007 or later) 
  • The most recent version of one of the following web browsers
    • Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge
  • Adobe Acrobat reader (version 10 or later)

Contact Us

Dugoni School of Dentistry
Continuing Dental Education