College is an investment in your future; whether you’re retraining as an older adult or going to college fresh out of high school, you’re working to earn a qualification that may help you enjoy a career in a successful business. To give you some insight into the type of employer that hires our graduates, this month we’re profiling Hero Dental & Orthodontics in Spokane, WA.
Hero Dental & Orthodontics have been providing high quality dental care for children in Spokane since July 2008; Office Manager Cassie Lewis was kind enough to spend some time with us.
“We have about 20 employees in our dental office including 3 doctors (2 full time & 1 part time), plus a dental hygienist, an Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA) and 10 registered dental assistants. We also have an in-house orthodontics team. We have some patients whose parents will drive them 2 or 3 hours to come and see our orthodontist, so that’s a part of the business that we hope will grow.”
Cassie herself is a shining example of a Carrington graduate, as she completed our Dental Assisting program in 2007. Cassie then joined the dental office where had carried out her externship, before moving to Hero Dental in August 2008 because she wanted to work in pediatrics. Cassie was promoted to Office Manager in December 2008, a position she still holds today;
“As a business we’ve had an association with Carrington College for about 3 years; and as a Carrington alumni I have a natural affinity for the school. As an employer, and as a graduate, I think Carrington has a great Dental Assisting program.”
Hero Dental has been an extern partner of the Dental Assisting program at our Spokane campus for several years; they have also employed a number of Carrington graduates, as Cassie explains; “We’ve had great success with Carrington students both as extern students and employees. Over the last 3 years I think we’ve had around 10 to 15 here for their externships. We take students from a couple of local colleges, but I really like the initiative that Carrington students display.
“They are all generally really well prepared [by Carrington] for their time with us; we have an interview to make sure we’re a good fit, both for them and for us, because not everyone is suitable to pediatric dentistry. Carrington also allows their students to stay in one place for the entire externship, which I think is good for the student and the business. Some colleges will move students around between employers, and that doesn’t give them the consistency they need to learn…in my opinion.”
Although a relatively small practice, there is opportunity for advancement at Hero Dental; Cassie herself is a good example. If an employee shows potential, and if the business need is there, they are prepared to pay for continuing education.
“Having an EFDA really takes the pressure off our dentists, as an EFDA can perform more advanced functions, such as restorations.The office paid for our current EFDA to go to school to become EFDA qualified. At the moment our office only needs one, but when the need arises, we look to promote from within where possible.”
Cassie believes that Carrington students and graduates typically show a good level of professionalism and a great desire to succeed. And that suits the philosophy at Hero Dental because their goal is to see their staff succeed in their careers.
“Our new dental assistants will often start in hygiene and then move to operatory. I tell them that it is a really important place to start because it’s where we can make our first impression on the kids, and their parents. We need to make it a positive experience from the start.
“We have had experience with students from other colleges who came to us and acted like robots, but I’m looking for personality and initiative. The technical skills can be trained, but in dentistry, especially pediatrics, it’s often the soft skills that matter. Including me, we currently have 5 Carrington graduates on payroll, and that’s not an unusual number.”
In Cassie’s opinion, Carrington College offers students an excellent Dental Assisting program;
“Carrington appears to really care about their students; and they work well with their extern partners and potential employers. If I call up Carrington Career Services and tell them that I’m looking to hire, they will send me resumes, and even set up 4 or 5 interviews on campus. That level of service is really convenient for me, and it’s great for the students/graduates too because they get to meet with me in their own environment. Other schools sometimes don’t even return my call, let alone go to all that trouble!”
The team at Hero Dental treat their kids like family; they try to make every visit as positive an experience as possible, and their staff is obviously critically important to that. Dental assistants are the gatekeepers to the practice, because they are often the first person that a new patient, especially the younger ones, will interact with.
“Carrington students seem to be a great fit for us, we’ve had success about 95% of the time. Because we really care about our patients, we need our staff, both interns and new hires, to share that passion. Carrington students and graduates are willing to work, they are professional, they show initiative, and they have the desire to succeed. It’s typically a great combination.”
Thanks to Cassie for her time, and to her and the team at Hero Dental & Orthodontics in Spokane, WA, for their continued support of our students and graduates.
For comprehensive consumer information about our Dental Assisting program, please visit carrington.edu/cc/programs/dental-assisting/