STI is pleased to announce that its Dental Assisting Program is the first Massachusetts school to graduate students who may earn the license as an expanded functions dental assistant. There are four levels of licensed dental assistants in Massachusetts, and the expanded functions graduates are in the top bracket.
STI advanced its expanded functions curriculum last school year, under the direction of Dr. Tammi M. Hassan, a licensed dentist who is the program director. A school must have a licensed dentist on its faculty in order to be qualified to offer an expanded functions curriculum. Dr. Hassan said one of the program’s top goals during the last academic year was to meet the state requirements for graduates to receive the expanded functions license.
“With an expanded functions license, our graduates have more responsibility and can work a lot more independently than other dental assistants. This puts our program at the highest level for dental assistant programs,” she said. The nine-month post-secondary program also maintains an extremely high placement rate in dental assistant jobs and further dental education. This past June, the program had a 100 percent national certification passing rate for its graduating class, and all of its 18 students qualified for the top level of state licensure as dental assistants with expanded functions.
Dr. Hassan credits the success of the program to the dedication of her instructors, the Southeastern Regional School District administration, and affiliated community dentists. She said all of the program’s instructors — Jill Ferris, Audrey Beaudoin and Erika Dion — are certified dental assistants and licensed dental hygienists, which enables them to teach the expanded license curriculum as well. The practice management component of the program is taught by Pat Illsley. The program is also fully accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Education.