The best Arizona dental hygiene schools can help you prepare for an exciting and ever-changing career within two to four years. Many programs can be accelerated, allowing working professionals to become certified in less time. As a field with multiple job duties, every day on the job will be a unique experience.
Students enrolled in dental hygiene programs will learn about oral diseases, dental cleanings, and dental examinations. They will broaden their skills in patient care, ensuring patients maintain and improve their oral health.
Dental Hygiene Programs in Arizona
Arizona offers diverse dental hygiene programs that can be completed within two to four years, depending on the chosen pathway. These programs provide comprehensive education in oral diseases, dental cleanings, dental examinations, and patient care. By enrolling in an accredited dental hygiene program, you will gain the necessary skills and knowledge to maintain and improve oral health effectively. Accreditation is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a dental hygiene program. All the programs featured in this guide are accredited by recognized bodies, ensuring they meet stringent quality standards and prepare you for professional licensure.
To help you find the ideal school for dental hygiene, we’ve ranked 10 top programs, each of which meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $27,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $20,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
10 Best Arizona Dental Hygiene Schools
1. Pima Community College
2-4 Year; Tuscon, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $3,583
Studying dental hygiene at Pima Community College allows students to get an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene. At the school, you will focus on patient-centered learning using evidence-based approaches ideal for health professionals. Throughout your studies, you will learn the fundamentals of the field and prepare for state and national licensing exams.
One of the more unique aspects of this program is that it pairs hands-on learning with theoretical coursework. Students will work alongside dental professionals to receive state-of-the-art real-world experience. Upon graduation, you can use your Associate of Applied Science to move onto a four-year program to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.
There are several areas of dental hygiene you will be able to explore through your hands-on training. Each student will be fully supervised by a licensed dental hygienist and a licensed dentist. A few examples of services you can assist with include:
- Full mouth radiographs
- Oral hygiene instruction
- Panoramic radiographs
- Dental prophylaxis
- Fluoride treatment
- Desensitization treatment
- Local anesthesia
2. Phoenix Dental Assistant School
2-4 Year; Mesa, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $3,690
If you are interested in pursuing a career in dental hygiene and want to attend a specialist school, the Phoenix Dental Assistant School is ideal. The entire school revolves around dental assisting and hygiene to help thoroughly prepare students for their careers. You will focus on employable skills that help make you more career-ready through various learning methods.
Students will often find themselves working in state-of-the-art labs and self-paced online lectures. You will find that it’s one of the more adaptable learning pathways for working students or those with tight schedules.
Another fascinating aspect of this program is that the school can assist you in finding your dream career after graduating. Uniquely, the Phoenix Dental Assistant School provides students with a more affordable way to become seasoned professionals. All of your supplies, scrubs, and materials are included in your tuition. The only extra item you will have to buy separately is the textbook, which you can also rent.
The faculty members at this school help make your learning experience more thorough. You will be taught by qualified and experienced instructors with distinguished careers. Students will likely work alongside dentists, dental assistants, and other oral health professionals.
3. Phoenix College
2-4 Year; Phoenix, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $8,744
The dental hygiene program at Phoenix College is a well-rounded option for students interested in pursuing careers as dental hygienists and assistants. As a hygienist, you will learn how to assess and diagnose a patient’s oral health and take and develop x-rays. Another massive component of your classwork will be learning how to assist dentists with day-to-day operations.
Phoenix College ensures that its students are fully prepared for their state and national licensing exams. You will get hands-on experience working teeth cleanings as well as preliminary exams. After you graduate, you will find it’s much simpler to move onto a four-year Bachelor’s program or begin your career.
Like many dental hygiene programs in the state, students will obtain an Associate in Applied Science after graduating. You will enroll in plenty of courses, including those that revolve around therapeutic services, administrative services, diagnostic skills, and preventative oral health.
As one of the best Arizona dental hygiene schools, the curriculum from Phoenix College is rigorous and science-based. Students will work in clinical settings while demonstrating critical thinking, ethical skills, and exemplary professional skills. It’s also important to note that students will enhance manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
4. Mohave Community College
2-4 Year; Kingman, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $8,986
Mohave Community College’s dental hygiene program is a fantastic solution for career-ready students looking to diversify their skills. With enrollment, you’ll be working towards an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene with a strong focus on employable skills.
The program requires two years of study, making it a highly rigorous program. You can then complete your licensing examinations at the end of your two-year study period. Alternatively, you can take your two-year AAS and apply to a four-year university program for a specialization.
It’s important to note this program is selective, with only 18 students accepted during the fall semester. Undoubtedly, your time at Mohave Community College will be filled with insightful coursework and hands-on learning. Students will participate in a diverse number of classes, including:
- Dental Radiography
- Dental Anatomy
- Dental Materials
- Applied Pharmacology
- Current Issues and Ethics in Dental Hygiene
5. Rio Salado College
2-4 Year; Tempe, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $9,320
As a prospective dental hygienist, you’ll be glad to know that Rio Salado College’s curriculum is designed to meet specific requirements. All students will have the experience and knowledge necessary to become Licensed Dental Hygienists in Arizona. Currently, the program is only available to students in Arizona.
While working towards your Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene, students will explore many concepts. You will learn more about assessment and diagnostic services, research, education, and preventative oral health assistance. With the information you gather from your classes, you can quickly work in private or public healthcare settings.
There’s no doubt that Rio Salado College has a rigorous program that focuses primarily on science and health. Along with your in-class coursework, you will also be required to get hands-on experience in authentic clinical settings.
In total, you should expect to obtain 102.5 credits before graduating. Rio Salado College provides a well-rounded curriculum that focuses on the many facets of dental hygiene, including:
- Assessing patient data and oral health data
- Implementing dental hygiene services
- Evaluating the outcome of dental hygiene services
- Improving interpersonal communication with families and patients
- Adhere to ethical and legal standards while administering oral healthcare
6. Mesa Community College
2-4 Year; Mesa, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $9,669
Like many other dental hygienist programs, Mesa Community College has a science-based rigorous program. Students will need to be prepared to participate in an intensive learning pathway to help them become licensed oral health professionals. One of the more unique program features is how they take a more mindful approach to learning.
Students will develop higher levels of emotional intelligence, helping them provide better patient services. You will also focus intensely on empathetic and compassionate care while maintaining professionalism. Through your courses, you’ll try your hands at new and modern methods and ideas in oral health.
After completing the program, you can then move onto a four-year program or opt to become a working professional. There are multiple concepts you’ll gather during your studies, helping you become a well-trained and compassionate caregiver. Some fundamental goals you will achieve include:
- Developing leadership skills
- Maintaining a safe environment for yourself and coworkers
- Supporting ethical and professional behaviors
7. Northern Arizona University
4 Year; Flagstaff, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $12,915
Northern Arizona University (NAU) has a fantastic dental hygiene program in Flagstaff. Students will be able to work towards a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. It’s also one of the most reputable programs across the United States.
Within two years, you will be able to obtain a B.S. degree in Dental Hygiene. Students will enroll in four 16-week semesters, five during the summer, and a two-week externship. The externship must be completed before your classes begin in the fall.
This program is recommended if you’ve been searching for a learning opportunity with state-of-the-art facilities. Students will learn in cutting-edge facilities, including a dental laboratory and an 18-chair clinic. With access to Spectra, Velscope, and an Intraoral camera, you will gain plenty of hands-on experience.
Since Northern Arizona University’s curriculum is quite advanced, there are multiple courses you’ll take during your two-year program. A few examples include:
- Oral Radiology
- Oral Health and Disease Prevention
- Oral Health Research
- Clinic IV: Oral Health Outcomes
- Oral Pathology and Cariology
8. Fortis College – Phoenix
2-4 Year; Phoenix, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $14,004
Having an adaptable learning pathway that works with your schedule is one of the most significant benefits of Fortis College – Phoenix. Their diverse dental hygiene program is ideal for preparing you for a fast-paced working environment. Students will explore clinical training, developing patient relationships, and more.
As mentioned, the dental hygiene program from Fortis College – Phoenix is adaptable. You can opt to take classes online, find class times that fit within your schedule, and more. The options are endless, making it a great opportunity for working students.
All of your classes will give you new experiences, similar to a day in a dentist’s office. As a student, you will acquire hands-on skill development, which should help you diversify your real-world skills. Also, there are opportunities to learn in genuine clinical environments to further your education.
Some of the most notable skills you’ll refine during your studies include:
- Documenting patient care and treatment plants
- Taking and developing x-rays
- Applying fluorides and sealants
- Removing plaque, stains, and tartar
- Assessing patient health
Another remarkable aspect of Fortis College – Phoenix’s dental hygiene program is its faculty. Students will learn from some of the town’s best dental hygienists and dentists. With a combination of classroom, clinical, and laboratory instruction, you’ll be fully prepared to begin your new career.
9. Carrington College – Mesa
2-4 Year; Mesa, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $14,962
Carrington College – Mesa has a fast-paced and engaging dental hygiene program that students can use to their advantage. Within two years, you can earn an Associate’s degree to help prepare you for licensure. Like many other similar programs, this pathway provides you with classroom and hands-on training and experience.
There are many aspects you’ll learn during your studies, from educating patients to taking x-rays. Students will also refine their skills in dental cleaning, applying fluoride and sealants, and documenting patient care. Everything that you can expect to encounter on an average day on the job will be covered during your studies.
Carrington College – Mesa is also a fabulous solution for students looking for a more community-centric learning environment. Along with your classes, you will also find tutoring and study groups. There’s also the option to sign up for externships, clinical rotations, and fieldwork to get real-world experiences.
After completing your studies, you can also take advantage of the school’s career services. With this department’s help, you can begin building your resume and search for jobs in your desired field. They also help students prepare for interviews, making you a very competitive candidate.
10. University of Arizona
4 Year; Tuscon, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $15,016
The University of Arizona has a different option for students interested in a dentist or dental hygienist career. Instead of a dedicated dental hygiene program, they offer a Pre-Dentistry program. Through this, you can then move onto dentistry school or transfer your credits to a dental hygienist program.
During your studies, you will take an assortment of courses specifically designed to target all areas of oral health. It’s one of the more rigorous options for students, primarily as most courses revolve around physics, chemistry, and biology.
It’s also important to note all of your coursework will prepare you for the Dental Admission Test. A few general areas of study you should expect to take with your coursework include:
- Organic Chemistry
- General Chemistry
Although this program isn’t a standard dental hygienist program, it can be quite beneficial. It’s particularly helpful for students interested in pursuing a career as a dentist. Also, the credits can be used by Master’s students to help with their graduate studies.
Rio Salado College Online Program:
Rio Salado College offers an online dental hygiene program that provides flexibility for students who prefer distance learning. The program follows the same curriculum as the on-campus program and allows students to complete their coursework remotely while still gaining hands-on experience through clinical rotations.
Job Placement Assistance:
Several of the dental hygiene schools mentioned, such as Phoenix Dental Assistant School and Carrington College – Mesa, offer job placement assistance to help graduates find employment in their field. These services can be valuable for students who want support in launching their careers after completing their studies.
Continuing Education Opportunities:
Many dental hygiene schools, including Northern Arizona University and Fortis College – Phoenix, provide opportunities for graduates to pursue continuing education courses. These courses allow dental hygienists to stay up to date with the latest advancements in the field and expand their knowledge and skills.
State and National Licensing Exams:
It’s important to mention that all dental hygiene programs mentioned in the list prepare students for state and national licensing exams. Graduating from an accredited program is a requirement to become a licensed dental hygienist and practice professionally.
Community Outreach Programs:
Some dental hygiene schools, such as Pima Community College and Mohave Community College, may offer community outreach programs where students have the opportunity to provide dental hygiene services to underserved populations. These programs allow students to gain valuable hands-on experience while giving back to the community.
Professional Associations and Networking:
Students in dental hygiene programs can benefit from joining professional associations such as the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) or local dental hygiene societies. These organizations provide networking opportunities, access to resources, and support for professional growth and development.
Advanced Degree Options:
In addition to the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs mentioned, some schools, like Northern Arizona University, offer Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in dental hygiene. Pursuing an advanced degree can provide dental hygienists with more career opportunities, such as research, education, or management positions.
Scholarships and Financial Aid:
Many dental hygiene schools offer scholarships, grants, and financial aid options to help students with the cost of tuition. It’s worth mentioning that prospective students should explore the financial assistance opportunities available at each school to make education more affordable.
Choosing the right dental hygiene school is a significant decision that can shape your future career. We hope this comprehensive guide to the top dental hygiene schools in Arizona has provided you with valuable insights and information. Take the time to research and visit the schools, speak with faculty members, and consider your personal goals and preferences. By selecting a reputable program that aligns with your aspirations, you can embark on a successful journey in the dynamic field of dental hygiene.
Visit the websites of the featured dental hygiene schools, explore their programs in detail, and contact their admissions offices for further information. Begin your journey towards a rewarding career in dental hygiene today!