By Whitney Folan
As the Admissions Representative, it is always a proud moment when I am able to watch the students I have enrolled accomplish their goals and walk across the stage every graduation. Three years ago, when the Dental Assistant program began at Ridley-Lowell Business and Technical Institute, I was elated to be able to provide a new opportunity for students to learn and get the hands on training they need to start a new career.
In 2014, we had an 89% job placement rate for the Dental Assistant program, one the best placement rates we’ve had for a new program. Most of our graduates have passed their radiology and infection control certifications, including 2015 graduate Tanaysha Dixon, who proudly acknowledges her education as a key component to her success. “My experience at Ridley-Lowell helped me to become the Dental Assistant I am today because the teachers take their job seriously. If you want to have a career when you graduate, they are going to try their best to help you reach that goal. Everything I know about dental assisting, I learned by attending classes daily and putting in the work!”
After completing the Dental Assistant classes on campus, students receive training in a real dental office by completing a 300 hour externship. Tanayasha’s extern site was Columbia Dental Group. Four weeks into her externship she was offered a job and has been there ever since. “It’s been 1 year and 3 months in this position. The opportunity they gave me to be part of their team makes me feel lucky. I can say I’m completely satisfied in my office!” Of course, starting out in the office Tanayasha was extremely nervous, but confident that her classes prepared her for her job duties from start to finish. “For me my favorite class was being in the lab because we were hands on and learning something new. You learn so much in the 6 months you’re in classes and the last 3 months at your externship. It can get tricky, but it’s all worth it.”
September classes are coming up soon and seating is limited. Tanaysha’s advice to prospective students, is simple; a dental career can be fulfilling and worth working hard for. “I knew becoming a Dental Assistant was going to be a challenge, but to know that your job is to satisfy people's needs and they walk out of your office smiling because you just gave them that boost of confidence by fixing their teeth; there is no greater feeling. The best advice I can give to anyone walking into the dental field is that nothing is easy, but it will all be worth it.”
Whitney Folan has been an Admissions Representative at the New London Campus since 2012