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Free Program by West L.A. College and West Coast Dental Creating Jobs and Filling Gaps
By Sentinel News Service
Published January 27, 2022

More than 40 students have participated in the free training for dental assistants. (Courtesy photo)

A new partnership between local community college, West Los Angeles College (WLAC), and major California dental employer,West Coast Dental, Inc. (WCD), is helping to address the urgent need for qualified dental assistants throughout the state.  In just three months, over 40 students who have participated in this free training program have been hired.

Salaries for Dental Assistants in California typically range between $40,000 – $50,125, according to Salary.com. Additionally, “Dental Assistants get great on-the-job experience as a career advancement stepping stone if they pursue higher levels of employment as Orthodontic Assistants or Dental Hygienist,” explained Tiffany Miller, WLAC’s Dean of Academic Affairs overseeing apprenticeship programs.

“We are totally impressed with the quality and diversity of our apprentices,” said Lucy Juarez, WCD Chief Operating Officer.

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“They’re ready to be contributing members of the dental community.  They will make any dental office a proud and productive employee. We’re very pleased with our new partnership with West LA College and will continue to contribute in a meaningful and impactful way to enhance the communities in which we serve.”

“I feel that West Coast Dental has given me an opportunity to grow and expand my dental knowledge,” said dental assistant apprentice Anthony Gamboa.

“I know here at West Coast Dental I will continue to advance in my career because I am supported by all the classes and training that is being offered to me. I look forward to becoming an RDA [Registered Dental Assistant] and further in my career goal of becoming and OA [Orthodontic Certified Assistant].”

This program is made possible by state incentives providing registered apprentices with free tuition at community colleges. In addition to free training, WLAC provides the apprentices with the free laptops, books and supplies required for courses. WLAC’s dental assistant program offers a Certificate of Achievement in Dental Assisting and Associate Degree in Dental Assistant.

Upon completion of the program and approval of the Dental Board of California (DBC), the apprentice will be eligible to take the California State Board Examination to be a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA).

West Los Angeles College is also one of only two California Community Colleges authorized to offer a Bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. The college offers many other career certificates and Associate degrees as well as paths to transfer to competitive universities as a Junior. For more information, visit WLAC.edu.

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