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Charter Graduate Success Story – Dental Assistant

When Charter College graduate Jaimie Putnam moved to the United States from the Philipines in 2006, she admits she didn’t even regularly floss. Fast forward to 2014 and she not only flosses, but teaches other people about the benefits of oral hygiene as a dental assistant at Lighthouse Dental in Vancouver, Wash.

“My passion is to help people,” said the 2010-graduate from Charter’s Dental Assistant Program in Vancouver, Wash. “And with Lighthouse Dental I am in a great position to do that. Our patients are our number one priority. We are here to care for them.”

One of Putnam’s favorite aspects of her dental assistant career is the Compassion Clinics she participates in where she volunteers her services to people in need of oral hygiene without the resources to pay for it on their own. “It’s important to me that I can help bring a smile to our patients’ faces,” she said.

Before becoming a dental assistant Putnam, now 31, was a stay-at-home mom looking after her daughter. As her daughter grew up, she started to consider her own career options. A dentist friend of the family suggested she pursue dental hygiene. Putnam started the dental assistant program at Charter to see if the dental field was right for her and she found a fit.

“My instructors were all really helpful,” she said of the program. “And during my externship I learned a lot about the field and got hired on right away, before I even graduated.”

Even with a job in her field before graduation, it took her a few years before she found the right clinic. “It’s difficult when you’re just starting out,” she said. “For me, it worked out really well to focus on general dentistry instead of specializing in a certain area like periodontist, or ortho… I got exposed to every kind of procedure in the field early on which made me a more versatile assistant. But as a dental assistant you have options.”

Through hard work and her willingness to learn new things, Putnam has excelled in the competitive field of dental assisting and now enjoys a good paying, full-time career with regular hours that provides her family with free dental care.

“Both my daughter and my husband are now part of the No Cavity Club and have been for a long time,” she said. “Knock on wood.”

If you’re looking for a stable career with good pay and benefits, consider becoming a dental assistant. Enrollment begins every five weeks at Charter College and can prepare you for a new career in as little as 10 months. Find out more today!