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SWOCC Dental Assistant Program wraps up successful first year

(SBG image)

COOS BAY, Ore. -- Last fall Southwestern Oregon Community College announced the start of a new Dental Assistant Program at the college.

Now, as the program’s first year comes to an end, school officials are calling it a success.

A "College to Careers" grant helped make the program possible, providing materials and instructor salaries.

Once these students finish their one-year program, they will take national board exams before they can get out and start working in the field.

"We've had one term already in the field where they've been working in dental offices and practicums, and they've had a great experience,” said faculty instructor Dan Matthews. “I think it's really been fun for me and it's been fun for them."

"I still smile to myself every time I see the purple scrubs and I see them out in the community now too which is really great,” Dean of Career Technical education Cody Yeager said, “so it's going better than we hoped it would."

Many of the students live in the area and say they appreciate the convenience of having a dental assistant program close to home.

"It's a lot easier than traveling and living somewhere else, and having to book a dorm, and it's easier on the family and everything," said student David Garcia.

"It's nice; I mean, I wanted something where I could get in, kind of learn about it, get out, and get to work, because I wanted to stay local, “said student Kady Valentine. “Usually you have to move to a big city."

"I plan to stay in the area, so it's kind of nice to build the relationships that I am working in the practicum around town," added student Katie Aguilar.

Next year's Dental Assistant Program is now open for enrollment.

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