If you are looking for a dental degree, whether at the undergraduate level for dental hygiene or at the graduate level to become a dentist, you can find programs in Arizona to meet your needs. Based on your career goals, use the information that follows to find the program that is right for you.
What You Need to Know
You could become a dental hygienist by completing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Both programs require general education classes with the dental hygienist curriculum. The associate’s program takes two years to complete, and the bachelor’s takes four years.
You could also enroll in dental school after completing an undergraduate degree, and these programs take about four years to complete. Coursework in dental school covers both classroom theoretical training and clinical rotations.
Associate’s Degree Program for Dental Professionals
Pima Community College
This program takes place on the W. Campus location in the large metropolitan area of Tucson. Courses are offered weekdays, weekends and evenings, and core courses include dental morphology, preventive dentistry, oral radiography, periodontology, pharmacology, dental materials, pain/anxiety control and clinical practice. You must also complete prerequisite courses in reading, math, biology, chemistry and computers. In addition to coursework, you’ll complete several clinical experiences. This school also offers an associate’s degree in dental laboratory technologies and certificates in dental assisting, complete or partial dentures technology, dental ceramics technology and fixed bridgework technology.
- Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
- Program Length: 93.5-106.5 credits with prerequisites
- Tuition and Fees: $2,142 per year for in-state students; $7,458 per year for out-of-state students (2018-2019)
- Prerequisites: Prerequisite courses
- Admission Requirements: Special program application, assessment tests, departmental orientation, Department of Public Safety Fingerprint Clearance Card, toxicology screening, proof of immunizations and negative tuberculosis test, health insurance, physical ability requirements
- School Type: 2-year, public; about 19,594 undergraduate students
Bachelor’s Degree Program for Dental Professionals
Northern Arizona University
Centrally located in Arizona, in this school’s program you complete the first 2 years of prerequisites and then enter the 2-year dental hygiene professional education sequence. Your dental courses include topics such as dental anatomy, oral medicine, radiology, pain control, periodontics and dental materials. You’ll practice your new skills in the dental hygiene and radiographic facility and serve a 2-week externship in a dental public health facility in or outside of Arizona. This school also offers a bachelor’s degree completion program in dental hygiene and online continuing education courses for dental hygienists.
- Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
- Program Length: 4 years
- Tuition and Fees: $11,564 per year for in-state students; $25,828 per year for out-of-state students (2018-2019)
- Prerequisites: Prerequisite coursework in math and science, 2.5 grade point average (GPA) required
- Admission Requirements: Computer literacy, written essay, application to program, fingerprint clearance, immunizations, current vision exam, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)/first aid certifications, compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)
- School Type: 4-year, public; about 27,072 undergraduate and 3,994 graduate students
Doctoral Degree Programs for Dental Professionals
A.T. Still University – Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health
This school is located in close proximity to other cities such as Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona. Your curriculum is comprised of sequential modules in areas such as integrated human systems, integrated dental practice, dental tissues, dental disciplines and clinical experiences. As a graduate, you’ll receive a certificate in public health management in addition to your Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). This school also offers a master’s degree in public health dual degree program for dental students and an advanced certificate in orthodontics.
- Program Name: Doctor of Dental Medicine
- Program Length: 4 years (7 years maximum)
- Tuition: $73,347 for first year students (2020)
- Prerequisites: 3 years of college coursework completed with a total of 41 semester hours in biology, general and organic chemistry, human physiology, biochemistry, algebra-based physics and English composition; minimum 2.5 GPA
- Admission Requirements: Dental Admissions Test (DAT), 2 letters of recommendation
- School Type: 4-year, private non-profit
Midwestern University – Glendale
Your curriculum in the first 2 years includes instruction and introduction to clinical experiences, while the last 2 years are comprised of instructive courses and your clinical rotations. Courses fall into categories such as integrated systems, oral health sciences, healthcare ethics, interdisciplinary healthcare, human behavior and clinical education. In clinical experiences, you’ll gain hands-on training working with patients to improve their oral health.
- Program Name: Doctor of Dental Medicine
- Program Length: 4 years
- Tuition: $45,812 per year (2018-2019)
- Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree; prerequisite courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, anatomy, microbiology, physics, physiology, biochemistry and composition/technical writing; minimum 2.7 GPA required
- Admission Requirements: DAT, 3 letters of evaluation, agreement to the school’s substance abuse policy, criminal background check
- School Type: 4-year, private non-profit; about 3,823 graduate students
To become a dental hygienist you can begin at the associate’s degree level through Pima Community college, advance to a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and complete a doctoral programs through A.T. Still University – Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health or Midwestern University – Glendale.
Dental Therapists: Who Are They?
Dental therapists are oral healthcare providers who work closely with dentists to deliver a range of services, including oral examinations, cleanings, and preventive care. Their responsibilities may also extend to providing restorative treatments, such as filling cavities, performing extractions, and placing dental sealants. They are a vital part of the dental team, particularly in areas with limited access to dental care.
Dental Therapist Salary in Arizona
The salary of a dental therapist in Arizona can vary based on several factors, including experience, location, and the specific employer. On average, dental therapists in Arizona can expect to earn a competitive salary. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the median salary for dental therapists in the state of Arizona was around $80,000 to $90,000 per year.
It’s important to note that these figures may have changed since then due to various factors, such as inflation and changes in the job market. Factors such as the demand for dental therapy services and the local cost of living can also impact a dental therapist’s earnings.
Is There a Dental School in Arizona?
The presence of dental schools in a state is a significant factor in shaping the landscape of dental therapy. Dental schools not only train future dentists but can also have an impact on the training and employment of dental therapists.
As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, Arizona does not have its own dental school. However, this does not mean that individuals interested in pursuing a career in dental therapy are left without options. Dental therapy training programs can be found in other states, and students from Arizona can choose to attend these programs to become dental therapists.
Arizona Dental Therapist Programs
While Arizona may not have its own dental school, several accredited dental therapy programs exist across the United States. Students interested in becoming dental therapists can explore these programs and select one that best fits their educational and career goals.
Dental Schools in Arizona: A List
Although Arizona does not have a dental school that offers comprehensive dental education, it does have dental hygiene programs. Dental hygiene programs are separate from dental therapy programs but are closely related, as dental hygienists often work alongside dental therapists and dentists.
Here is a list of dental hygiene programs in Arizona:
- Mesa Community College: Mesa Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Dental Hygiene program.
- Phoenix College: Phoenix College provides an AAS in Dental Hygiene as well.
- Pima Community College: Pima Community College also has a Dental Hygiene program, which grants an AAS upon completion.
These programs are designed to train students to become dental hygienists, who primarily focus on preventive oral care. However, dental hygienists often collaborate with dental therapists in clinical settings to provide comprehensive dental care.
Dental Schools in Arizona that Offer Services
While Arizona doesn’t have a traditional dental school, the state is home to a number of dental clinics and teaching facilities that provide dental services to the community. Some of these clinics are associated with dental hygiene programs and may offer services such as cleanings, exams, and X-rays to the public. These clinics often provide hands-on training for dental hygiene students.
A few examples of dental clinics in Arizona that offer dental services include:
- ASU Dental Clinic: The Arizona State University (ASU) Dental Clinic provides comprehensive dental care to the community. It’s staffed by licensed dental professionals and dental students.
- Mesa Community College Dental Hygiene Clinic: Mesa Community College operates a Dental Hygiene Clinic where students provide affordable dental hygiene services under the supervision of licensed dental hygienists.
- Maricopa Community Colleges Dental Hygiene Clinic: Maricopa Community Colleges, which includes several institutions in the Phoenix area, offers dental hygiene services to the public through their clinics.
These clinics not only serve as valuable resources for the local community but also offer opportunities for dental hygiene students to gain practical experience.
In conclusion, while Arizona may not have its own dental school, it does have dental hygiene programs and clinics that provide dental services to the public. Dental therapists interested in practicing in Arizona can explore educational options in neighboring states and may also consider working in conjunction with dental hygienists in clinical settings. The field of dental therapy continues to evolve, and its practitioners play a crucial role in improving access to oral healthcare for underserved populations in Arizona and beyond.