RALEIGH, N.C. (July 18, 2022) – Twenty-two highly qualified dental assistants from Wake Tech will soon be supporting the delivery of dental treatment to patients.
The students finished their final coursework in the 48-credit hour Dental Assisting diploma program on Monday and celebrated during a graduation luncheon sponsored by the Raleigh-Wake County Dental Society at Perry Health Sciences Campus.
Wake Tech’s Dental Assisting program is highly competitive and accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. All graduates are classified as Dental Assistant II by the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners. Almost all the graduates have already successfully completed the Dental Assisting National Board exam and have earned their CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) credential.
The program has trained dental assistants for 33 years. Students practice their skills in the state-of-the-art Lane & Associates Family Dentistry Dental Clinic Facility, which features eight treatment rooms, a designated sterilization area, a panoramic X-ray room, a reception area, faculty offices and a student locker room. Lane & Associates is a major partner for Wake Tech’s program, providing hands-on learning opportunities for students at multiple offices across the Triangle, along with funds for student scholarships, emergency financial aid and equipment.
Students also receive hands-on clinical experience with rotations at the Adams UNC School of Dentistry, Wake County Human Services Dental Clinic, Wake Smiles, Advance Community Dental, Dental Hygiene Clinic at Wake Tech and other private practices within Wake and surrounding counties.
Dental assistants are in high demand nationwide to meet the needs of a growing number of patients. Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for dental assistants is $38,660.
“Dental assistants are important members of the dental team,” said department head Trudy Clark. “The analogy often used to describe a dental assistant’s responsibilities is that of an air traffic controller because they often perform many duties that contribute to ensuring patient scheduling and safety while making sure the dental office runs smoothly on a daily basis.”
Several students within the Class of 2022 received special awards during Monday’s celebration:
- Highest Academic Achievement
Tea Campo and Olivia Temple for their 4.0 GPAs
- Trudy Clark Patient Care Award
- Outstanding Clinical Achievement
- Outstanding Growth and Achievement
- Outstanding Achievement in Dental Radiography
- Raleigh Pediatric Dentistry Award
- Tracy Holmes Britt Teamwork Award
- Dianne Keyser Community Service Award
The next class of dental assistants will begin their training in the fall semester. Learn more about Dental Assisting at Wake Tech at dentalassisting.waketech.edu.