(ABILENE, Texas) – To help fill the need for dental assistants, Texas State Technical College will offer a special workforce training program this fall.

The nine-week course will be held in Abilene and include 100 hours of classroom instruction and 40 clinical hours. Classes are scheduled to begin Sept. 21.

“The purpose of the program is to familiarize students with all areas of administrative and clinical dental assisting, focusing on the responsibilities required to function as an assistant in a dental practice,” said Cindy Brunett, TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education project manager.

Nationwide, there is a need for health care-related services, including dental assistants.

“With a workforce of over 300,000 strong, dental assisting ranks as the fourth-fastest-growing occupation in the health care technician field,” Brunett said.

To be eligible for the program, students should have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED. Brunett said students must also provide their own scrubs and pass a background check.

During the program, students will learn about dental office policies and guidelines, legal aspects of the practice, dental equipment and tooth structure.

One reason for offering the fast-track program was to attract military spouses in the Abilene area.

“When the students complete the course, they will be able to get their national certification,” Brunett said. “If they move from Dyess Air Force Base, they will be recognized as a dental assistant if they pass the certification.”

Upon course completion, students will be prepared to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam, Radiation Health and Safety exam and DANB Infection Control exam, she said.

Tuition costs include the textbook, Texas State Board of Dental Examiners exam fees and proctoring, a CPR certification course and the 40-hour clinical externship.

Brunett said with unemployment rates still near all-time highs, people are looking for a career opportunity.

“The need for these fast-track programs is especially high right now. This is the perfect time to roll out a program like this,” she said. “Many people may be looking at a career change, and this is a good first step.”

Plans are to hold classes in person this fall with all safety protocols in place to allow for social distancing. Brunett said that could change if required by state or local officials.

“We will have the capability to provide this program online,” she said. “Right now, the program is open on a first-come, first-served basis, and we are excited to provide this to our community.”

For more information on the course, contact Teresa Adames at teresa.adames@tstc.edu or Brunett at cindy.brunett@tstc.edu.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

dental assistant 246x300 - Dental assistant course to be offered at TSTC’s Abilene campus

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