Saturday, November 3, 2012

Technical Training Allows Students to Smile

Rio Salado College’s innovative IBEST program gives students a leg up by helping them develop skills in technical fields. IBEST stands for Integrated Basic Education Skills Training program. Current students in the IBEST program are focusing on dental assisting technology.

“The IBEST program is designed to prepare students to take their GED exam,” said Kristina Kidd, dental assistant facilitator at Rio Salado College. “It also prepares them to work in the field of dental assisting upon completion of the dental assisting technology program.”

IBEST targets people who do not have a high school diploma. To participate in the program, students must have an 8th grade reading level and meet other admission requirements.

Once admitted, students work hands-on and are taught a number of professional skills such as resume preparation, interview and communication techniques, as well as the practical technical skills that are required of the job.

“Students will have to work in the mouth of their peers and act as a patient,” said Kidd. “Blood is present in the dental clinic, as are needles and blood borne pathogens.”

After students have learned in class they go out and practice even more by completing a required internship.

“The program provides the students with one internship site. The student has to interview and be accepted by the site,” said Kidd. “Our goal is to place students in a general practice where they will have exposure to all types of dentistry.”

The IBEST program comes with some challenges that might be a little different than what some students are used to.

“The courses are very fast paced and students have to be mentally prepared to take on the challenge,” said Kidd.

Students have to abide by a mandatory attendance policy and also take time out to prepare for the course outside of the in-person portion of the curriculum. The time it takes a student to prepare can range from two to four hours per day.

“There are study habits that need to be formed,” Kidd said. “Sleep can be affected, and job and home settings may have to be adjusted.”

With so many adjustments to be made Kidd says it can be a tough challenge to overcome all of the educational and life obstacles.

“It typically is a very different pace for the students and it can create a lot of stress,” said Kidd.

To help alleviate some of that stress Kidd notes that the college is always ready to offer assistance but it is also the student’s job to seek out help if needed.

“We do offer services to help with many obstacles a student may face, including success coaches, advisors and counselors,” Kidd said.

With others there to help and encourage the students, the IBEST program is confident in the student’s abilities to succeed. “We encourage students to continue their education,” said Kidd. “There are so many paths to choose from in the dental assisting technology field.”

By Erica White, PR Intern at Rio Salado College
This story also appeared in the November 3 Edition of the Tempe Republic