Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) — Students begin their new semester Monday, August 27, 2018 at Horry Georgetown Technical College.
For those learning about dental assisting, they can now be certified in less time and get to work in their field even sooner.
It's back to school time at HGTC for students like Antoinette Ricketts.
She is starting her two-year journey in the Dental Hygiene Program after getting her Associate in Science degree in May and completing the Dental Assisting Program.
"Assisting taught me the terminology you need to know. It's a great networking tool, because we actually went out to rotation sites and met with dentists and worked with them for a whole semester," Ricketts said.
Learning the basics and getting hands-on experience is what the Dental Assisting Program is all about.
"There's all different instruments you have to learn, all the different materials you have to know. We go over X-rays so you actually get to learn how to diagnose certain things," Ricketts explained.
This new semester brings some big changes. For the first time, students can finish this program in one school year and become certified in just two semesters instead of three.
"Nothing is removed from the program, nothing is removed from the curriculum. We just have to work hard and get it done in a lesser amount of time, " said Amy Freeman, one of the instructors in the program.
The change makes HGTC the only tech college in the state offering this kind of two-semester program.
"We are not producing Dental Assistants fast enough for this growing area. To graduate 15 young ladies who got an offer or a job in the Grand Strand area is amazing. What a way to give back to your community, what a way to serve," said Freeman.
Students get to learn in the state of the art facility, unlike any other.
They call their instructors the best of the best. "They are absolutely amazing. They will work with you, they know so much. We were talking about dental dorks, they are the epitome. They are just amazing people. This is a really good community to get into," said Ricketts.
As of Wednesday August 22, there are still five openings for the Dental Assisting Program that starts on August 27. 15 people are already signed up.
To learn more about the expanded duty Dental Assisting Program, click here.
HGTC also has two public Community Dental Clinics at its Market Common campus in Myrtle Beach that offer affordable dental care.
Learn more here.