COA receives start-up funds to launch dental assisting program

Published 5:56 pm Sunday, April 21, 2024

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College of The Albemarle (COA) has announced the receipt of substantial start-up funds to establish a dental assisting program in collaboration with East Carolina University’s (ECU) Dental Community Service Learning Center. The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) recently allocated $239,746 to COA to address the critical need for dental education programming in Northeastern North Carolina.

“College of The Albemarle’s Dental Assisting program is comprehensive and unique in its collaboration with ECU’s Dental Community Service Learning Center and Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC),” stated a COA news release. “The ECU partnership provides invaluable resources, including lab training space and clinical site support, enhancing the quality of our program and our commitment to leveraging regional resources for the benefit of our students. College of The Albemarle has partnered with Catawba Valley Community College for the past two years to bring the program into our service area. We appreciate their collaboration and guidance in helping COA establish its program.”

“We are thrilled to receive this grant, which marks a significant milestone in our efforts to bring sustained dental education programming to Northeast North Carolina,” said Robin Harris, COA dean of health sciences and wellness. “This funding will allow us to establish a dental assisting program that meets the needs of our community while providing students with the skills and credentials necessary for success in the healthcare industry.”

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The start-up grant will facilitate the purchase of essential equipment, including dental chair sets, to support hands-on training. Additionally, funds will be allocated towards curriculum development, faculty recruitment and program implementation. COA plans to commence its first dental assisting cohort in May, with classes scheduled to begin on May 6, 2024.

“This program represents a critical investment in the future of healthcare in our region,” said Dr. Jack Bagwell, president of College of The Albemarle. “Equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge, we are not only meeting workforce demands but also empowering individuals to pursue rewarding careers in dental assisting.”

The COA dental assisting program will offer students a pathway to obtain a Certificate of Completion in Dental Assisting I and the opportunity to pursue additional credentials through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and working with employers. “With a focus on hands-on training and clinical experience, graduates will be well-prepared to enter the workforce as skilled dental professionals,” noted the release.

Prospective students interested in enrolling in COA’s dental assisting program are encouraged to visit or contact Elizabeth England at 252-335-0821, ext. 2368 or ext. 2250. Seats are limited.