Staff and faculty at our Carrington College California campuses work with local businesses to forge strong, mutually beneficial relationships. These relationships benefit our students because they can lead to externship opportunities, as well as potential avenues to future employment. Local businesses benefit because we can offer them a source of skilled, knowledgeable, and confident students and graduates.
The La Verne Dental Group partners with our Pomona campus. Located in La Verne, CA, the dental office is owned by Dr. Iskaq, DDS, BS, and is celebrating their 10-year anniversary this year. The practice offers comprehensive dental services from teeth whitening to dental crowns; their modern approach to dentistry allows them to serve all their patients’ dental needs from the one office, with a back office staff of three dentists, five specialists, a hygienist and six dental assistants.
We spoke with Lisa Ali, Office Manager at La Verne Dental, about the benefits of their ongoing relationship with Carrington College California. Lisa has worked in the dental industry for 22 years, with the last 7 years at La Verne Dental Group. Lisa has also taught at a dental assisting college, giving her a great understanding of how programs and externships work, and what makes a good employment candidate.
So Lisa, tell us how the relationship between La Verne Dental Group and Carrington College California got started.
“We’ve had the relationship with Carrington for about a year. One of the representatives from the school contacted me to say they had an extern opportunity; they wanted to see if we would like to have an extern here at our facility. And we said yes!”
You must get approached by dental schools quite often; what convinced you to give students in our Dental Assisting program a chance to impress at your facility?
“I like the way Carrington runs the program; we brought on that first Carrington student as an extern and ending up hiring her as an assistant when she finished her externship. In fact we’ve hired both of the externs we’ve taken from Carrington – Jessica & Kara. We’ve had a 100% success rate so far.”
What is the process Lisa? How do extern candidate resumes reach your desk? Do the students have to contact you directly to arrange the externship?
“No; the school calls me periodically and asks if we have a need for anyone. If we do, then they send a few candidates over for interviews. Based on the interview process, we then select which candidate we would like to have for the externship period.”
So what impresses you the most about Carrington students and graduates, what makes them stand out in your opinion?
“They seem to be very well prepared and they’re taught up-to-date information; plus their expectations are already set. They know what to expect when they get out into the field. Carrington does a really great job of getting the students ready for the hands-on aspects of the job.”
Lisa feels that Carrington students are well-equipped with the tools they need for success in the field. When they start their externship, they are ready to work from day one.
“They already have the base knowledge on that first day, and they have an idea of exactly what’s going to happen. So the six week externship actually helps them put what they’ve learned in school in action – not just learning it on the page but actually doing it makes a big difference.”
Employers get so many resumes these days that it can be tough to separate candidates based on their technical skills alone; that’s why Carrington College California invests time helping students to build their ‘soft skills’. Is that a difference you’ve noticed Lisa?
“Yes, absolutely. Carrington definitely doesn’t just build their book skills, but their personality skills too. That way when they come in for their externship they’re confident in what’s expected, in what they need to do, and how to go about doing it when they first get here.”
Although it’s just the first year of the relationship, La Verne Dental is two-for-two with Carrington College California graduates. But as they have recently hired two, Lisa is very candid with any potential extern candidates that she speaks with.
“I’m pretty honest with all the externs when they come in. Of course anyone would love to have an extern just to have another pair of hands to help out, but I tell them if they’re looking to have a job at the end of their externship, right now we’re fully staffed. If they’re not looking to be employed right afterwards, then we’d love to have them do their in-office training with us here.”
Lisa explained that La Verne Dental is a great place to work; the company believes in and encourages continuing education, progression and promotion.
“New recruits join us as ‘dental assistants’ but they can go on and become ‘Registered Dental Assistants’ (RDA); Jessica & Kara, our two recent Carrington recruits, are in the process of gaining their RDA credentials at the moment. The credentialing examination is something that Carrington prepares them for before they even finish school*, so it’s a matter of signing up for the test, doing some ‘refresher’ study and taking it.
Anyone that works here in the office has room to grow; whether they get tired of the back office and want to move to the front office, or just do further training. There’s always room for growth, and we encourage it.”
La Verne Dental Group has just gone through a growth spurt, reflected in their hiring of Jessica and Kara as new assistants; the office s now in a period of consolidation before it looks to grow again. But although they’re not hiring right now, Carrington College California will definitely be a resource for extern and staff recruitment that Lisa will look to in the future.
“I would say that it’s a fantastic school for advanced, up to date material; students definitely get the preparation they need to be out in the real world, to start practicing what they’ve learned. It gives them the education they need to be a dental assistant, but also the confidence they need to socialize and ‘get the job’. I’d definitely recommend Carrington; I think that students coming out of Carrington are by far the best trained that I’ve worked with so far.
As we grow and we add providers, we will need to increase the number of assistants we have on staff. I would definitely choose Carrington first, and have them supply us with suitable externs.”
Thank you for your time Lisa ; we thank you and La Verne Dental Group for your continuing support of Carrington College California students and graduates, and we wish you continued success.
*Carrington College California prepares students to take appropriate certification and licensure exams related to their individual majors. The College does not guarantee graduates will successfully pass these exams or be certified or licensed as a result of completing the program.
For comprehensive consumer information on our programs, visit carrington.edu.
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