MEDFORD, Ore. -- Today, Rogue Community College is hosting an information session for the school's Dental Assistant Program. It will be at RCC Riverside in Building A, Room 21 from 9 - 10:30 a.m. Applications for the one year program open on Oct. 29.
More than 90 percent of students who graduate from RCC's Dental Assistant Program find a job. Students attribute those high rates of success to the program's hands-on learning approach. They spend each Friday at the school's dental clinic, becoming comfortable with dental equipment and procedures.
This year's Dental Assistant Program has 14 students. They start the day in the classroom and learn about the science behind oral hygiene. Once a week, they put the science into practice in the school's dental clinic.
The clinic is fully stocked with lights, tools and dental models. Students first learn all about the correct mental hygiene. Then, they get to work on dental models.
Students graduate the program knowing how to be a dentist's right hand man. They learn to properly floss, make molds, isolate teeth for procedures and so much more. Professors said it is important for students to learn how to gain a patient's trust because they'll often spend more time with a patient than the dentist.
"If you trust someone you're going to be more willing to listen to their advice," said Carmen Mons, the Dental Assistant Program Coordinator. "To follow their homecare recommendations and to have treatment that maybe you wouldn't have if you didn't trust the person who recommended it."
Hadley McGrew is a dental assistant student and said the program's hands-on learning approach makes a difference.
"When we're going over instruments or all those types of things, we're able to just pop in the clinic," said McGrew. "We can just grab the equipment, go back in lecture, read about them, learn about them and have them. Everything about this program is hands-on."
This type of knowledge is important because all students intern at a real dental office for two terms.
About 96 percent of the program's students graduate with a job. Mons, the program's director, said that dental offices even call RCC to ask if any students are looking for a job. She added that the program gives students to grow. Students can use their dental assistant credits to apply to hygiene school.
The average wage for a dental assistant in Oregon is $20.57 per hour. In the Medford area, dental assistants can make $18.85 per hour.
Applying to RCC's Dental Assistant Program
RCC accepts 28-30 students in the Dental Assistant Program each year. The program lasts one year, or four terms. The next cohort of students will begin the program during the Summer 2020 semester.
Students do need to fulfill pre-requisites and attend an information session to apply to the program. Applications open on Oct. 29.
Below are the date and locations of information sessions.
Monday, Oct. 21 - Riverside Campus, Building A, Room 21 from 9-10:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 30 - Riverside Campus, Building A, Room 21 from 2-3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 20 - Riverside Campus, HEC, Room 132 from 4-5:30 p.m.
For more information about RCC's Dental Assistant Program click here.