How To Get My Foot In The Door

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Tasha Smithson in Hillsboro, Ohio

84 months ago

I just finished dental assisting school in November (a 10 week Class) and I live in a small town and only being 19 no one will give me a second look. I would like to stay close to home and work in a small practice even start at the front as a front desk coordinator. How do I get started?

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charity in Indianapolis, Indiana

84 months ago

Hello! ive been a dental assistant for 2 years i have my radiology and my expanded functions. I was in the same boat as you. I was 19 just went through a ten week course for dental assisting and no one would hire me. so I went around to small offices knowing they probably wouldnt pay me as much but to get your foot in the door its worth it. so i told them to start me out @ $7/hr for the first month no obligations. I got hired! so anyways 2yrs later and i make $11/hr and i am getting ready to switch jobs to a much larger practice were ill recieve benifits, much better pay and closer to home everything i want but it was a huge sacrifice for the first couple of years getting my certicications but worth it.
Ps. when you find your job if you dont make enough there is usually plenty of weekend time to get another job just for a while. it will be worth i can promise you that!! Good luck and dont quit trying.

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crcajo30 in Atlanta, Georgia

84 months ago

I have the same issue however I am soon to be 30 yrs old. I've been a stay at home mom for six years. I decided to go to college to obtain my Assoc degree in Dental Hygiene in the Fall of 2006. I've completed all of my prerequisites for the course, and recently applied for the DH calss of 2009. Since the competition is so thick for DH school, I decided to take a 10 week course in Dental Assisting just to get my foot in the door. When I completed the course I was 6 mos pregnant with my son so it's been 7 mos since I completed the course. I finished the course with the top three in my class. The class took place in an actual dental office on Saturdays and we practiced takink alginate impressions, x-rays, rubber dam placement, instrument transfer technique (just to name a few) on each other, not on dolls. I do feel that I have experience. I waited unitll the first of the year (for my son to be 3 mos) to start looking for work and have had no luck landing an interview. I would like some suggestions on how office managers screen resumes for potential dental assiting candidates. I would also like to know what is a reasonable amount to ask for if I do get an interview. I am well groomed and dressed in a black pant-suit whenever I am dropping off my resume. I drive around to dental offices in the west cobb and south atl area to briefly introduce myself to the office managers with my portfolio in hand and enclosed I have a picture of myself on my resume with a coverletter printed on ivory water marked resume paper. I am always smiling and polite but it seems llike they don't ever want to be bothered and they never seem to like me too much. Am I doing something wrong?

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DI in Pulaski, Tennessee

83 months ago

To: Tasha Smithson,
I was in your situation still kinda. Went to a 6 month night class during h/s. 18 @ the time. School bites, teacher read to us basically. Not the smartest person but i can read to myself. Well, took the Boards 3 times pass radiology but not chairside. Anyways while trying to pass state boards went D/A job hunting. Went to 26 Offices. 1 interview. NO LUCK. decided to volunteer/observed @ a local office while taking an online class (CHEAP). Now I'm 20 and i only have a part-time job starting next week in the same office. Seems like im going nowhere slowly. Hope you have better luck than me.

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Crystal Carreras in Atlanta, Georgia

77 months ago

I feel ya Queen J. ;-( I recently went back to school and changed my major to Business and Administration with a concentration in Health Information and Administration. Trying to pursue a career in Dental Hygiene had me jumping through many hoops and loops and it's not even all that serious. The general public don't even take oral health seriously that's why it's so hard to find a job let alone a good practice to work in. I don't look at it as me giving up, I just simply moved on. It just seemed like a waste of time to me. Especially, if the Dentists don't even value their Hygeinists when we produce the majority of their income.

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Vanessa LaVergne in Astoria, Oregon

68 months ago

Tasha Smithson in Hillsboro, Ohio said: I just finished dental assisting school in November (a 10 week Class) and I live in a small town and only being 19 no one will give me a second look. I would like to stay close to home and work in a small practice even start at the front as a front desk coordinator. How do I get started?

I think Im going through the same thing as you are, I'm 19 as well and I just completed Job Corps, and now on my way to finding a place to start my dental assistant training. I have my radiology but not my EFDA and I'm afrid that all the jobs that i look up or that are hiring want radiology which is great but also require the EFDA, and have to have the minimum of 2yrs. or more training, and I only have 1. So I guess I can say we're floating in the same boat.

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toothdoc in Louisville, Kentucky

67 months ago

We have a very large Dental Assisting school here in Louisville. Students are routinely misinformed about starting salaries for their skills: "$18 per hour" . They graduate with an EDDA (called different things in different States) but what does that really mean? You learn theory and procedure in school but do you really practice you skills on live patients in a 10 week course? No, you don't. The people in the Dental Assisting Academies are giving you the best case scenarios to ensure that people want to spend money for their services. They are a business, not non-profits.

We routinely have students from the school here as interns (unpaid, getting their hours for graduation). this is a good "foot in the door" for employment. If you have this option, ask the supervising doctor for a reference letter. if your course does not offer an internship, then ask a local doctor for one. Work for free for a few weeks in a private practice or in a free clinic. Yes, you are still "unemployed" but you are on the road to employment.

Don't expect that just because you graduated the program that you are worth $15/ hour and up (we had one applicant ask for $25 per hour right out of her course) as you will likely slow down the existing team with your inexperience. Take a lower salary, get the job, prove your worth and then ask for a raise if one is not offered at a reasonable time. be sure to list your assets to the office when doing so.

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Kayle in Conroe, Texas

66 months ago

I am now 20, but graduated DA school HDAS at 19 like you...I have been a RDA for two years. I looked for a job for six months, no luck. I did have the choice (Advice from teachers from school) to volunteer at the community clinic for free. I thought it would be a waste of time, so I didn't follow through with it. All dentists want someone with experience, no matter where they got it. If I could go back two years ago, I would have volunteered for free in a heartbeat! It would have saved me so much time and stress, and I would have been given a great opportunity for experience. Now I have a six month old baby, and don't have the desire to work for awhile... but when I do, I am going to get experience (work at the free clinic) and get a job. I know this would be worth your while to do if there is any sort of clinic in your area that offers internships. Good luck!

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tanusha7777 in Gilbert, Arizona

63 months ago

hi, can someone please give me a good advise on how to become a dental assistant. I did my research and still i am very confused and lost and don't know to whom and what to belie. Do i really need to go to College for 9 months , get my associate degree to become a dental assistant? What about 14 weeks hands on training program?... will i be able to get a job as a dental assistant after 14 week of school and training? would a person with 9 months of dental assistant college and associate degree have an advantage over my 14 weeks, x-ray certified? Dentists who hiring you , do they care if it's an associate degree, 9 months, 14 weeks ? I need to make up my mined . Could someone please give me an answers' .
thanks

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Courtney13 in Appleton, Wisconsin

57 months ago

Just a heads up to anyone submitting their resume to an office. NEVER personally drop off your resume. This is a big no no. The last thing you want is someone to judge you on your looks or your clothing. Always mail in the resume in an envelope where you do not have to fold the paper. You want the employer to look at your qualifications and decide whether or not to hire you. You never want to be hire on your looks.

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Vanessa LaVergne in Tillamook, Oregon

57 months ago

WOW!!! I never really thought of it that way, I will try that instead, cuz I would always go in and hand off my resume but now I'll try sending it in, instead of going in first. Cuz in today's society we judge people on their looks instead of their skills, its quite sad :( but thanks for the heads up.

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Ebony in Neenah, Wisconsin

55 months ago

Courtney13 in Appleton, Wisconsin said: Just a heads up to anyone submitting their resume to an office. NEVER personally drop off your resume. This is a big no no. The last thing you want is someone to judge you on your looks or your clothing. Always mail in the resume in an envelope where you do not have to fold the paper. You want the employer to look at your qualifications and decide whether or not to hire you. You never want to be hire on your looks.

I live in neenah with very little DA experience, I am looking for a dental office that would be willing to allow me to come in and get on the job training I'm willing to start at the bottom. I am a student at FVTC and plan to transfer to Marian and complete my BA in Healthcare Administration.

I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to find a dentist that will do that.
Do you know any dentist? Thank You.

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Frustrated in Ocala, Florida

55 months ago

Queen J in Ocala, Florida said: I graduate from college Aug 2008 as a dental assistant. I have been looking for a job, and not having any luck. Throughout the day I would ride around and waste gas, only to sumit my resume to local dental practices. They always say we will keep your resume on file. I also had a few interviews with no ending result. I dress up, but I keep it classy and plain. What could it be? The only answer I came up with is ....I am a BLACK. I live in Ocala, FL and alot of Black African Americans don't go to school for dentistry. I pray and asked God to help me. I have bills every month without a job.

I hear I'm having the same problem, I ve been on interviews and never hear back from the offices but it always seems like several months later the sam job is posted again I have a saying that goes" INSTEAD OF HIRING RIGHT THEY RATHER HIRING WHITE" mind you I've been an assistant since 1998

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Belle in Fairfield, Alabama

55 months ago

I too am black, but I never had a problem looking for a job. Have you applied with public health, with the government or your local dental school. Also,see if there is a black dental association in your area attend a few meetings... Good luck.

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Frustrated in Ocala, Florida

55 months ago

When I was living in NYC I never had a problem either but in Fla its a problem. I actually work for the prison system as an assistant but the problem is the pay is so low and they don't want to give raises, I'll look into black dental associations. Thanx for the info.

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Belle in Fairfield, Alabama

55 months ago

Keep me posted as to your outcome........If I think of anthing else I will post it to you. Have you looked on this site for jobs in your area? Also DentalPost.net........ Good luck........

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BreeM in Lancaster, California

55 months ago

Does anybody know of any quick (about 10 weeks) dental assistant courses in the Los Angeles area?

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Belle in Fairfield, Alabama

55 months ago

Frustrated in Ocala, Florida said: When I was living in NYC I never had a problem either but in Fla its a problem. I actually work for the prison system as an assistant but the problem is the pay is so low and they don't want to give raises, I'll look into black dental associations. Thanx for the info.

Just checking back with you to see how the job hunt is going.

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

54 months ago

I am 56 years old and it's been 10 years since I last worked as an assistant. Prior to that I worked for 11 years as an assistant. I need work badly now. I stopped assisting to help my husband with his business. Now I regret ever stopping. I have 2 interviews this monday but I have gone on a couple already and I feel like no one wants to hire someone my age. Assisting is like riding a bike to me. The skills I know I haven't forgotten. And yes I have done digital xrays. But any new thing they have now I know I am capable of doing. I am always smiling and always had a great patient rapport. Any suggestions on how this older woman should go about selling herself to a Dentist or manager interview? I was good at his job....Any help appreciated.:-)

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

54 months ago

This job rather.

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CareerGuru in San Francisco, California

54 months ago

I'm curious to know how your job hunt is going as well.

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

54 months ago

How do you mean how it is going? I mean, I see you are called Careerguru. Do you know something I should know? :-) I am actively hunting. All the internet sights I can find for dental and anything else that looks like something I could most likely do. Anything you can tell me that would help me would be appreciated. Thank you for asking.

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

54 months ago

I hear that men in business suits are applying at fast food places. that is how bad things are right now out there. is there any chance an older but experienced woman can find a job in dental assisting still? I do have 2 interviews coming up. At least I am still getting calls from the places I have posted resumes.

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liquidglove in Corona, California

54 months ago

I have a few questions. I am interested in becoming a Dental Assistant and am getting ready to start checking out local programs. I dont have alot of money so I am thinking of taking it through a junior college. Does this look worse compared to say, somebody who did their class at a more professional place that cost more money? Also, my background is not the best (no violent or felony convictions), is this going to make a great impact on my career choice? And, last but not least can someone who has been through the course maybe give a little rough rundown on what to expect? Thank you all :)

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melanie6613 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

53 months ago

seanbear123 in Riverside, California said: I am 56 years old and it's been 10 years since I last worked as an assistant. Prior to that I worked for 11 years as an assistant. I need work badly now. I stopped assisting to help my husband with his business. Now I regret ever stopping. I have 2 interviews this monday but I have gone on a couple already and I feel like no one wants to hire someone my age. Assisting is like riding a bike to me. The skills I know I haven't forgotten. And yes I have done digital xrays. But any new thing they have now I know I am capable of doing. I am always smiling and always had a great patient rapport. Any suggestions on how this older woman should go about selling herself to a Dentist or manager interview? I was good at his job....Any help appreciated.:-)

If I were you, I would check out some dental temp agencies first. Maybe you can get your foot in the door that way. This could help you figure out where you might fit in or what kind of practice you may like. Additionally, since you have experience, agencies have a lot more access to practices than just looking on your own. Dentists usually call the agency if they are in a bind if someone calls out. This is where your skills could be of assistance. You probably could get regular work more easily this way.

This is what I did. I called dental offices and asked if they knew of any temporary dental placement agencies and the offices gave me names and numbers of agencies to contact. Start there. Your skills will come back once you are back in the environment. Don't let age fool you. What dentists want are good skills and reliability. Let the agency be your way in. You've got experience so let them help you.

Knock 'em dead baby.

Mel

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

53 months ago

That was such a great response. Thanks. I have put up my resume at the tri county dental society but wasn't aware that there might be some temp agencies that placed dental assistants. I am at the point where permanent, temp, or otherwise, I am willing to just have any work that I am trained to do. I'm going to give that a try first thing in the morning. You are a sweetheart, Mel. :-D

Sandy

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jess6789 in Searcy, Arkansas

53 months ago

So i went to the 10 weeks course also, its been almost 2years so my stuff will expire. I found out i was having a baby during my class, finished and past everything. I had took time away from the whole dental thing to be a new mommy, and got back into looking for a job later on. So i have had 5 interviews, and they all say "well i found someone else", "or you don't have the experience we are looking for", im so lost, feel like giving up, but i just thought this was my dream job and now i feel like a wasted all that money on nothing. I need advice and help. Should I move on or keep trying until December when it expires.

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

53 months ago

I would keep trying. Not sure what it is that is expiring. Your x-ray license or something? But don't give up. You shouldn't waste the last several months. You could get hired on the very next interview. I would try offering to work if they hired you for a week or two free of charge to them so that you could show them that you are capable of the work if given the chance to show them.

Hang in there, being young is a plus, too.

Sandy

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jess6789 in Searcy, Arkansas

53 months ago

I got a call informing me that dr. showalter hired someone else, i was wondering if it would be a bad idea to ask him want i needed to do better for my next interviews on facebook, i found him on facebook and my husband aunt is friends with him, that prob dont make a diffence. but i really want to know what im doing wrong after 5 interviews and nobody is giving me a chance

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

53 months ago

Jess, I am having the same problem. I think it is the fact that there is such a huge number of da's coming out of school. I feel that they also want really Young, pretty, thin, model types. Unfortunately in our society, those are really what the majority of dentist's are looking for these days. Any employer for the most part. It is discouraging, But don't give up. There is always that one dentist who only cares about whether you are capable of a good job for him or her. So hang on. have you noticed too that dental jobs are not at all plentiful anymore. Any jobs. We are living in a terrible time right now and but for the grace of God, none of us would be able to care for our families. Have faith.

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jess6789 in Searcy, Arkansas

53 months ago

seanbear123 in Riverside, California said: Jess, I am having the same problem. I think it is the fact that there is such a huge number of da's coming out of school. I feel that they also want really Young, pretty, thin, model types. Unfortunately in our society, those are really what the majority of dentist's are looking for these days. Any employer for the most part. It is discouraging, But don't give up. There is always that one dentist who only cares about whether you are capable of a good job for him or her. So hang on. have you noticed too that dental jobs are not at all plentiful anymore. Any jobs. We are living in a terrible time right now and but for the grace of God, none of us would be able to care for our families. Have faith.

lol, i may not the prettyest person, but im only 21, and not fat. i just really dont know what else i can give, the last interview i was pretty much begging for the job, i work at Mcdonlds right now, ive been there for 5 years. its my first job and only job. ive been working so hard to find a career my daughter can be proud of me for. I know i can do better than fast food, but im not a quiter. i keep telling my family that i dont want another job i hate, and being in a dental office makes me happy. Theres really not much to choose from here in arkansas, sometimes i wish i live in the city, the only places that are hiring are far away, and most of them want people with 2 years of experiance, how do u get the experiance if nobody with give u a chance

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missc2010

51 months ago

I just graduated assisting school, I went through a 1 year
Program and I am an EFDA. On my job search I have been on over
10 working interviews and still no job..I feel like the problem
Is there is no diversity in dentistry were I live..I love
Assisting, however I just feel like no one is giving me a
Chance, b/C they prefer experience over new graduates.
I have considered moving out of this state I'm in, hoping
That will help me land a job. Its kind of discouraging!

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

51 months ago

How did you get to be an efda in only a year??

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Kathy in Orlando, Florida

51 months ago

If you like assisting keep trying, you will find "your place", where you will be WELCOME.

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kiearasmom

51 months ago

i am interested in going to dental assisting school but want to know where i should go here in orlando that is accredited? if anyone has been or has any information to share please email me at kiearassmom@yahoo.com.

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1984 in Tampa, Florida

51 months ago

kiearasmom said: i am interested in going to dental assisting school but want to know where i should go here in orlando that is accredited? if anyone has been or has any information to share please email me at kiearassmom@yahoo.com.

Orlando Tech

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Brianna1991 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

50 months ago

I would like to get started in a dental assistant program and i see that alot of you say that you took a ten week course. i saw advertisements on tv for a course in appleton wi but i am having alot of trouble finding what school they are at. Can any one help me?!

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Congetta in Loxley, Alabama

49 months ago

I completed the 1 year Dental Assisting program at a college in Panama City, FL. We moved soon after to a town near Pensacola and I have been unable to find employment. I have presented my resume and all of my certificates to countless dentist offices in the area. Everybody keeps telling me I don't have the experience and they found someone better for the job. I can't even find a job helping out in sterilization or even volounteering to get more experience. We had a clinic at school where we saw patients two days a week for over half the year. When we wern't seeing patients we were working on each other. I was even required to complete a 2 week internship with two different dentists. I did everything from assisting with amalgams and composites to making and cementing a temporary crown. I feel like I have enough experience to get my foot in the door somehow. Can anyone tell me what I might be doing wrong.

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DentalGuru2009 in Fontana, Wisconsin

49 months ago

I think it's a job market as such that dentists have the proverbial pick of the litter at the moment. So they choose the ones with great experience simply because "they can".

Desperation have effected wages to lower and docs can now afford a better asst when maybe a couple yrs ago they could not. Think of the housing market currently. Prices are down and buyers can afford to be choosy.

Be patient, things will turn around

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Josh in Portland, Oregon

48 months ago

I don't see how anybody could learn what they need to aboout dental assisting in just 10 weeks. My program was 1 year + 300 hours of internship. And I still have to test for expanded function.

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

48 months ago

I agree with Dental Guru. They are being choosy and they are choosing younger ones as opposed to older as well. And Josh, they can't learn in 10 weeks enough to be efficient. It takes a long while to become effecient. I too and 1 hear and 300 hours. Even then there is more to learn once you are working it. I just wish they would hire according to ability and experience instead of being so predjudiced.

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

48 months ago

Josh in Portland, Oregon said: I don't see how anybody could learn what they need to aboout dental assisting in just 10 weeks. My program was 1 year + 300 hours of internship. And I still have to test for expanded function.

I agree whole heartedly. experience is the best teacher as everyone knows.

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r u working i will like to know in San Juan, Puerto Rico

46 months ago

seanbear123 in Riverside, California said: I am 56 years old and it's been 10 years since I last worked as an assistant. Prior to that I worked for 11 years as an assistant. I need work badly now. I stopped assisting to help my husband with his business. Now I regret ever stopping. I have 2 interviews this monday but I have gone on a couple already and I feel like no one wants to hire someone my age. Assisting is like riding a bike to me. The skills I know I haven't forgotten. And yes I have done digital xrays. But any new thing they have now I know I am capable of doing. I am always smiling and always had a great patient rapport. Any suggestions on how this older woman should go about selling herself to a Dentist or manager interview? I was good at his job....Any help appreciated.:-)

r u working? let me know so we can share ideas im a dental assit myself and unemployed

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seanbear123 in Riverside, California

46 months ago

I regret to say that I still have not found any one that will hire me. I really feel it is my age that they are looking at. I need work badly and would be an asset to an office. I value work now more than ever. But still I have found nothing.

Sad in Riverside, California...

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Congetta in Loxley, Alabama

46 months ago

I'm still not working as a dental assistant. I guess there just isn't a demand for assistants where I live.

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Joy d Williams in Ellenwood, Georgia

46 months ago

Tasha Smithson in Hillsboro, Ohio said: I just finished dental assisting school in November (a 10 week Class) and I live in a small town and only being 19 no one will give me a second look. I would like to stay close to home and work in a small practice even start at the front as a front desk coordinator. How do I get started?

since you are so young and just starting out there is a program call travelteam and they will give you a place to stay and a place to work. you can op for a 8 week job or 8month job or perm they are looking to fill spots in washington dc area and boston area it is a good oportunity for you to travel and see different thing and you do not have to relocate if you dont want too, go to craiglist employment under heathcare and it is listed there. I would have tested the water but my younger days are not so young to up and move and leave my daughter.

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Joy d Williams in Ellenwood, Georgia

46 months ago

Congetta in Loxley, Alabama said: I'm still not working as a dental assistant. I guess there just isn't a demand for assistants where I live.

you are going to have to be very agressive and go to the different offices and location and walk in and present your resume .people are more likely to hire you when you go and they see your face and keep checking in and see if they are hiring offer to come in one day and voluntary and help . that sometimes will get you in the door. do temp when someone is going to be out. try and see if any of this helps.

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Joy d Williams in Ellenwood, Georgia

46 months ago

seanbear123 in Riverside, California said: I agree whole heartedly. experience is the best teacher as everyone knows.

I am sorry but it is possible i learned in 12 weeks.being that i was military we had no choice in the matter.and i have been assisting for 28 yrs now. graduated top 10 percent of the class.

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Joy d Williams in Ellenwood, Georgia

46 months ago

seanbear123 in Riverside, California said: I regret to say that I still have not found any one that will hire me. I really feel it is my age that they are looking at. I need work badly and would be an asset to an office. I value work now more than ever. But still I have found nothing.

Sad in Riverside, California...

try the military base cilivian employment, jobs are hard to come by people are holding on to them. but you can not give up pray hard ask for what you want and go knock on doors of these dental office show up and let them see your face . just start dropping resume off at this places keep calling them and go into the inteview and ask for the job lead the interview. make them think you are ready to start that day :-) keep on trying don't give up someone is going to hirer you

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Joy d Williams in Ellenwood, Georgia

46 months ago

Anxious CDA in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan said: To Tasha:
I'm pretty sure you don't have to disclose your age. If it seems to be a detriment, don't mention it. Instead, emphasize your desire to learn and your credentials. If you finished in the top of any of your classes or achieved high marks, highlight this in your interview. Good luck, and keep at it.

To crcajo30:
I'm not sure about the states, but I know up north here it's illegal to discriminate based on a lot of factors, many of which can be revealed by a photo. Perhaps including this is making employers feel akward and maybe they fear being discriminitory towards the other applicants.

yes i agree maybe removing the photo from your resume this may be a bit to much for some to handle and let them see you at the interview.

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