University of Illinois Chicago dental school adds dental assistant pathway program to alleviate workforce shortages

The University of Illinois Chicago College of Dentistry created a new training program to help alleviate the national dental assistant shortage. 

The Dental Assistant Pathway Program allows the college to train people with no prior dental assistant training and who did not go to college, according to an April 3 news release.

The college was previously required to hire dental assistants who had some dental assisting experience from a junior college or past work in a dental office, which made it difficult to find people.

The school was given a three-year grant from the nonprofit Otho S.A. Sprague Memorial Institute to train 12 dental assistants each year, making the 14-week program free for students. Students will also work at the school and be paid $17.04 an hour.

The college will also pay fees associated with seeking a National Entry Level Dental Assisting Certificate for students who complete the program.

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