After 38 years in the dental industry, Kerin Hamidiani knows dental assisting isn’t just about teeth and she makes sure her students know it too.
Dentistry, she tells them, is as much about the whole patient as it is about the teeth.
“With ongoing research continuing to link oral health and general health like heart disease and diabetes,” says the program coordinator, “It is likely there will be a continued increase in the demand for all preventative dental services and therefore a demand for well-educated dental assistants.”
This translates into job growth that is expected to increase by 25 percent by 2022 – faster than the average for all occupations, she notes. Dental assistants have many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to record keeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.
Professor Hamidiani came to the dental profession after learning it allowed her to combine her aptitude for science with her ability to work closely with people.
She holds an Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene, Bachelor of Science in Education, and Master of Education with a concentration in adult learning from the University of Vermont. She worked full time as a dental hygienist before shifting to education in 1976. Even then, she continued to work part time as a dental hygienist for many years.
Today she brings her own blend of experiences into the NECC dental assisting classroom.
Professor Hamidiani says her favorite way to engage her students in the classroom, is to assign them “case studies” that are similar to patient experiences they may encounter in the real world.
“Students must use critical thinking to apply basic knowledge to the case problems,” she says.
“Dental assistants, along with their technical skills, need to be able to communicate effectively with patients, staff, and family members and be able to work well with a team.”
NECC students who graduate from the NECC dental assisting certificate program learn these skills, she says, which serve them, and the patients, well in this high demand field.