News>American Red Cross, Dental Clinic offer Dental Assistant Training
Francesca Balajadia, Red Cross volunteer, assists Dr. (Capt.) Aaron Smith during a dental procedure at the Kadena dental clinic Oct. 13. Ms. Balajadia is currently participating in the Red Cross Dental Assistant Training program which consists of two weeks of classroom training and five months of chair-side experience assisting dentists with all aspects of dental care. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alesia Goosic)
Ashley Adams, a student in the Red Cross Dental Assistant Training program, prepares tools for Dr. (Capt.) Jan Carlson during a dental procedure at the Kadena dental clinic Oct. 13. Mrs. Adams is in her fourth month of the six-month training program and will graduate the course in December. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alesia Goosic)
Jennifer Bissen, a student in the Red Cross Dental Assistant Training program, prepares tools prior to a dental procedure at the Kadena dental clinic Oct. 13. As part of her training, Ms. Bissen assists dentists with general dentistry and dental administration. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alesia Goosic)
Ashley Adams, Red Cross volunteer, checks the blood pressure of her patient, Dillon Erven, during his appointment to the Kadena dental clinic Oct. 13. Mrs. Adams said her favorite part of the dental assistant training program is working with children and helping them get over their fear of the dentist. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alesia Goosic)
by Staff Sgt. Alesia D. Goosic
18th Wing Public Affairs
10/12/2010 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The American Red Cross and 18th Dental Squadron host a Dental Assistant Training Program beginning Nov. 15.
The Red Cross Dental Assistant Program is a free, six-month training course designed to provide dental assistant training and experience to civilian volunteers. The course provides 900 hours of training comprised of two weeks of classroom training and five months of chair-side experience assisting a dentist in all aspects of dental care.
The dental assistant training program is offered every six months. The deadline to apply for the class is Oct. 15. Applications can be picked up and turned in at the Kadena American Red Cross located in building 220. The training is open to those who have SOFA status and are over 18 years old.
"This is an outstanding program," said Ashley Adams, a current student of the program and a military spouse. "I chose this program because I have always been interested in the healthcare career field and I'm pursuing a career in dental hygiene. Also since we move a lot, I know I can easily get a dental assisting job almost anywhere."
Gerry Bailey, Assistant Station Manager of the Kadena Red Cross Station, said the program provides the knowledge and experience necessary to get a job in the dental field.
"Graduates have been able to obtain employment as dental assistants in local military clinics and in military and civilian facilities in the United States," Mr. Bailey said. "They can also obtain advanced placement in dental programs in numerous educational institutions."
Upon graduation from the course, participants receive a certificate of completion of the dental assistant program with the number of hours they completed. Mr. Bailey explained that this is not an accredited program, but it is highly recognized as an excellent educational program providing extensive chair-side experience.
Mrs. Adams said she's using this program as a "kick start" to accomplishing her future goals.
"I plan on using my certification to get a dental assisting job here on the island, and when I go back to the states it will help greatly when I apply to hygiene school," she said.
This program has also helped Mrs. Adams cope with some of the struggles of being a military dependent.
"Being a military spouse can be hard and through the program I have made a lot of friends," she said. "It keeps me busy when my husband is gone, not to mention I'm working in a field I love."
Training participants are not the only ones benefiting from the dental assistant training program.
Staff Sgt. Carlton Holt, 18th Dental Squadron education and training NCO-in-charge and one of the Red Cross volunteer coordinators, said the Red Cross volunteers are an asset to the dental clinic and Kadena.
"We use [volunteers] to support our mission here at Kadena Air Base," Sergeant Holt said, "which is to provide optimal care to all servicemembers and dependents."
According to Sergeant Holt, volunteers are trained by the same standards as active duty dental assistants - only for a shorter time. The volunteer trainees are also entering in on an entry level of dental assisting.
"Upon completion of the dental assistant training program, all volunteers are equipped with the tools and skills to work in a dental environment," Sergeant Holt said.
The dental assistant training program is a great opportunity which provides top-notch training, produces high quality dental assistants and is a win-win for everyone involved.
"First of all, the dental clinic wins because we are able to gain additional personnel through this volunteer program," Sergeant Holt said. "Secondly, the volunteers win because they receive valuable job skill training and resume filling work experience.
Lastly, the patient wins, because the squadron is able to care for them with additional motivated and caring clinic personnel, which increases the quality of dental care provided."
For more information about the Dental Assistant Training Program, contact the Kadena Air Base American Red Cross at 634-1979.