People pursue careers in dentistry for a number of reasons; they like helping others, they have a love for art and science, they’re fascinated by teeth or oral health, or perhaps they’re just looking for a reliable field of work. No matter why they’re interested in dentistry, it can be agreed that dental assisting is a great place to start to find out if the dental field is right for you, and there’s no better place than the Dental Depot Academy of Dental Assisting.
In Spring 2019, the Academy of Dental Assisting held its first session. Now, it begins its third year and seventh graduating class, the Academy continues to provide an incredible foundation for anyone looking to get started in the clinical side of dentistry. But what makes the Academy different (and, arguably, better) from the other programs out there?
The Academy is designed to get graduates career-ready and confident in just 12 short weeks. Combining 100 hours in the classroom with 124.5 hours chairside, students learn as much from hands-on labs and in-office training as they do from Academy instructors. Students learn dental theory, ethics, professional conduct, and of course, the clinical techniques and skills required to perform well in a dental office.
Not only does the Academy eliminate the need for a post-program externship, the tuition is all-inclusive. Students don’t have to worry about lab fees, textbooks, supplies, safety equipment, uniforms, and more. As a part of their tuition, graduates will leave the Academy with their CPR certification, their dental assisting permit registration, and their radiation safety course!
Program Director Robin Graham brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Academy with nearly thirty years as an educator for both dental assisting and dental hygiene. Robin is a registered dental hygienist and earned her master’s in Education. She also wrote the curriculum for the Academy, which is licensed with the Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools.
Joining Robin is Heather McCauley, a US Army veteran who joined the Dental Depot team as a dental assistant in 2014. Today, Heather works side-by-side with Robin to train students at the Academy. Together, the duo is able to provide critical support to each of their students.
Because the Academy only accepts a maximum of 15 students per session, students benefit from small class sizes and one-on-one instruction and guidance. Additionally, students are assigned to a trainer (a current Dental Depot dental assistant) to help guide them throughout their clinical rotations.
Augusta Emmerson, a Summer 2019 Academy graduate and current dental assistant at Dental Depot Norman, says:
“The best thing about being in the Academy was being welcomed into an environment where I was pushed to be my best self, and encouraged to grow constantly,” Augusta explained. “The small class size allows you to have meaningful one-on-one time with instructors, while clinical prepares you to work a busy schedule with confidence. From day one I was met with support; I personally haven’t stopped growing since. My classmates have become coworkers, teammates, and family.”
The trainers are an essential part of what makes the Academy such an incredible foundation for students looking to hone their craft or advance further into dentistry. And while many of the students from the first few sessions relied on trainers already in the offices (and to whom we’re exceedingly grateful!), there are some students who have become trainers themselves.
One such graduate-turned-trainer is Hope McMillin. Hope came to the Academy after having worked in the South OKC front office as a BOA. In addition to working as a dental assistant, Hope is getting ready to apply to hygiene school.
“[The Academy] was really, really great. They made everything so easy for me. They always helped whenever I needed it,” Hope explained. “I owe everything that I know to my doctor and the team I was with. Monica was my trainer. It helped a lot, too, when I graduated and I was able to stay on that team. They’ve helped me to progress as an assistant.”
“Robin and Heather were very thorough in their lessons and you can really tell that they know what they’re doing,” Hope continued. “I got lucky as a trainer because the student I had was very eager to learn. I think it helped me as much as it helped her.”
The Bottom Line
Dental assisting is both a fulfilling career in and of itself, providing new opportunities to learn and advance with each expanded duty attained. Assisting is also a great place to start if you know you want to pursue further dental opportunities, such as hygiene and dental school. The US Bureau of Labor has projected that the assisting will grow 19% by 2026 and with Dental Depot opening an average of 2-3 new offices per year, the demand for well-trained assistants is high.
While students at the Academy are trained to succeed at any practice, more than three dozen have remained here at Dental Depot. Because the students are familiar with our offices and work side-by-side with our teams, many are ready to get to work at Dental Depot as soon as they graduate.
If you’re ready to make your next career move, the Dental Depot Academy of Dental Assisting might be just what you need. There are three 12-week sessions held per year so you can find the right time for your schedule. To learn more and to apply, visit dentaldepotacademy.com today and get started on a career you’ll love.