The University of Illinois Chicago College of Dentistry has created a new program that allows a dental assistant to work at the school without any previous dental training.
The Dental Assistant Pathway Program allows those with a high school diploma, or an equivalent, to be hired at the college as a dental assistant for a rate of $17.04 per hour. Previously, the college required the dental assistants it hired to have some dental assisting experience gained through junior college or working at a dental office.
Additionally, the college obtained a three-year grant from the Otho S.A. Sprague Memorial Institute to train 12 new dental assistants each year. The funds cover the tuition, exam fees, reading materials, and a computer for each of the 12 students. Typically, the cost of a dental assistant training program is $3,000 to $18,000, according to the university.
The 14-week work-study program aims to alleviate the U.S. dental staff shortage and make more people, including those who did not attend college, aware of this dental position. Dr. Robert Bara, a clinical assistant professor who helped develop the program, has been named director of auxiliary programs.
To apply for the program, visit the university’s website.