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Jun-08-2009 06:51printcommentsVideo

Salem's Dental Assisting School Steers Students Toward Open Career Field (VIDEO)

The state of Oregon's employment Website recently said that "employment in dental assisting is estimated to be larger and is expected to grow much faster than the statewide average for other jobs, with total job openings projected to be much higher than the statewide average."

Salem-News.com
Photos and video by Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - At a time when many industries are losing ground, there is one keeping its solid footing. The demand for well trained dental assistants is steady because everyone needs dental care.

It is estimated that by 2014 there will be a 32.5 percent increase in the dental assisting field. Willamette Valley Dental Assisting School in Salem, Oregon is unique as it is taught in a classroom setting and an actual dental office.

Teri Netter, an instructor at the school, has been an active part of the school's development. "I helped start the program. I developed the first part of our lesson plans, got it all together, helped develop some of the exams; we give weekly exams over what we learned the week before."

She explained that it is a 14-week program.

"We have students that go through on Fridays and on Saturdays. I'm the Saturday teacher, I'm here every Saturday."

For these students, it's a busy 14 weeks, which include 8 classroom hours a week with two third's of the time devoted to clinical practice and about 80 hours devoted to home study.

Danielle Pemberton is a student in the class reaching the end of her 14 weeks. "I've been doing a couple of dental offices, and now I'm just trying to get in the rest of my hours."

Another student, Danny Johnston, has been in banking for about ten years. He's still doing that full-time while completing his work at the Salem Dental Assistance School on Saturdays.

"Right now with the banking industry being as unstable as it is, I've been thinking about getting out of it because it got pretty boring over the years, but the industry being what it is, it was the best time to try something new. And I wanted to get into something related to healthcare of some sort."

So how much can a graduate expect to make in their first job? It depends, offices in and around Salem and larger communities generally pay higher salaries. Average starting pay for dental assistants ranges from $10 to $14 dollar per hour and increases with experience.

Another student named Renae Tyner says the course has given her a lot of new confidence. "I feel good about it, we have a really good teacher, Terry, she makes me more comfortable, and I'm getting more comfortable to go out there on my own and feel like I've been taught hopefully what I need to know and enough of it."

The state of Oregon's employment Website recently said that "employment in dental assisting is estimated to be larger and is expected to grow much faster than the statewide average for other jobs, with total job openings projected to be much higher than the statewide average."

Finding a job is the primary responsibility of the student but the school assists by supplementing students with supporting documentation and letters of confirmation. As job openings become known, staff refers students to dental offices and helps with interviews.

To learn more about Willamette Valley Dental Assisting School, visit their Website, wvdas.com.

Video
Produced by Tim King

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Bonnie King is one of the few media professionals who has extensive time in four relevant areas; radio, television, newspaper and Internet. She has been with Salem-News.com since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers.

View articles written by Bonnie King




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