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TSTC Dental Assistant Program Earn 100 Percent Pass Rate

(HARLINGEN) – The Spring 2017 graduating dental assistant class at Texas State Technical College has earned a 100 percent passing rate on state certifying exams.

The program had all 24 students pass the state board exam, which is necessary to practice in the state of Texas. All students also passed an additional nitrous oxide exam, an optional exam that gives dental assistants the opportunity to administrator the sedative agent.

TSTC Dental Assistant Lead Instructor Jill Brunson said this is the first time that everyone has passed both exams to earn a 100 percent passing rate in both in the same semester.

“I can honestly say that this particular class has the ‘It’ factor,” she said. “I’m so proud of them and I know they will all be successful.”

Students prepared for the test with additional lectures and refresher courses provided by instructors from the program.

Many students, like Tracey Jackson, even stayed after regular lecture and lab hours to continue studying the material.Dental Assistant Class of 2017

“I got an A on my boards, but I couldn’t have done it alone,” Jackson said. “All of the prepping and drilling of information from our instructors gave me the confidence I needed to feel positive while taking my tests.”

The Dental Assistant program at TSTC is two semesters. It begins every fall and ends in the spring with graduates earning a certificate from TSTC and additional certifications in areas such as CPR, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Brunson said the program’s curriculum is designed and based on helping their students pass the state board exam.

“We facilitate our lectures and labs on a base that will teach our students to become skilled professionals, in turn helping them pass their exams,” she said. “We hold them to a very high standard.”

She added that with this type of passing rate her students are first in line for jobs.

In fact, dental assistant student Michael Chavez has secured a position with Cardenas Dental Implants and Oral Surgery in Harlingen. He was the program’s first hire.

“I’m ready for this new venture,” said Chavez. “With the training I received at my clinical site and at TSTC, I’m confident and ready to get to work.”

Brunson said many of her other students have already been hired as full-time dental assistants as well.

She also said she believes the day she retires will be the day that a student or students from this class will return to take her job.

“Dental assistants are the heart of a dental office and one day our dental assistants will be the heart of our program,” she said.

These 24 students were part of the 480 students who received certificates or associate degrees at TSTC’s commencement ceremonies on Friday at Yeckel Memorial Auditorium at Marine Military Academy.

Dental Assistant technology is offered at TSTC’s Harlingen and Waco campuses.

For more information on TSTC’s Dental Assistant program call 956-364-4765 or visit


Written by Amanda Sotelo Sotelo on May 1, 2017
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