High schoolers can now become certified dental assistants

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - Juniors and Seniors and Central High School now have the opportunity to get a jump start on choosing their career.

"The sooner students can explore and discover what they want to do in life, the better," said Dental Assistant Program instructor, Leslie Smith.

A classroom full of students at Central High School are on the verge of being certified dental x-ray technicians. If they take it a step further they can become dental assistants.

"If you put in the effort and try and you really want to do this, it's not that hard," said Taylor Salassi, a junior.

When the students aren't learning how to take x-rays or make impressions and molds of teeth, they're interning with local dentists.

"It really showed me what it takes to be in the industry," said Brooklyn Hayman.

Hayman said she enrolled in the class to specifically figure out if dentistry is the right career path.

"You're put in a real-life setting at a dentist office and they let you just help out," Salassi said.

Instructor Smith said the majority of students enrolled have an interest in the medical or science field, but a tiny percentage realize this isn't for them, which is what the class is intended to do, show students the ropes.

"Some of my students have decided, no this is not what I want to do. So we've done them a favor. They can use their time and energy to pursue other career paths," Smith said.

Either way, students said this class makes them excited about the future and the possibility of having a career in dentistry.

"You can make people feel better about themselves," Salassi said. "Just seeing them smile and make them feel confident."

After students complete the course they will be certified to take x-rays. They will also have the option to take a weekend course through LSU's dental program and if they pass the class, will then be considered an Expanded Duty Dental Assistant (EDDA).

Central High School officials said this is the second year for the program.

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