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How does an RDH or RDA look to the Dental Admission Comittee?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by Beagle, Aug 3, 2001.

  1. Beagle

    Beagle Meet BEAGLE 7+ Year Member

    596
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    Jul 16, 2001
    California
    Hello
    I am interested in getting my RDH or RDA.
    I just graduated with a 2.96 B.S in Biology and will be working towards my masters degree in Biology in the fall.
    Obviously, my GPA is not that great. I had my setbacks with C's here and there in undergrad. I also got a "D" in Ochem and had to retake it later on (earning only C plus's on all three quarters). My science GPA is not too great, being around 2.5-2.7 I think.
    I have not taken the DATS yet, but will next year. I am wondering if getting an RDA or RDH will increase my chances of amdission into dental school greatly? Or is it a waste of school time? Would the admissions comittee look at it the same way as volunteering or interning at a dental office? Do you think it is worth the effort to get an RDH or RDA?
    Thanks!
    BEAGLE
     
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  3. groundhog

    groundhog 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    1,398
    2
    Nov 1, 2000
    In your case, RDH might be a good option. Pay is good and the future is bright for RDH's. Up in my area, the surest route to becomming an RDH is via a 4 year college program. Admission is competitive, but based strickly upon academic performance on the pre-req's. On the other hand, rumors persist that admissions into the 2 year community college programs are more subjective in nature because the process is influenced by "good ole girl" networks.
     
  4. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    176
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    Aug 1, 2001
    Austin, TX
    I am not pre-dent, so take this for what it's worth. I felt compelled to respond mostly because I teach at a career school that has a RDA program. I teach in the medical assisting program but I have been asked to fill in for the DA instructors on account of my dad being a dentist and the time I've spent in his office over the years. Since you are a college graduate, and obviously on a professinal career track, an RDA is not the way to go. Depending on the state you live in you probably won't even need the degree (I call it that but it is really a certificate) to work in a dentist's office. Given that you are educated and interested in a career in dentistry you would be snatched up in a second by any dentist to which you applied. RDA's are generally for people that received GRE's, come from a very uneducated background, and are hoping, usually with the help of federal and state programs, to get off welfare, food stamps, etc. An RDH is a professinal two,year, post college degree. But if you want to be a dentist, I don't see much point in pursuing that. You would waste two years, and your GPA would still be the same, at least for undergraduate and graduate coursework. RDH's do make big bucks (60-70k) for the amount of education they put in. However, the problem still remains that you would be pursing a different academic avenue than the one admissions committes are interested in. BTW, RDAs make lousy money. Most of the students that graduate from the school I teach at start out at eight or nine bucks an hour. That's chump change for someone with your credentials.
     
  5. Beagle

    Beagle Meet BEAGLE 7+ Year Member

    596
    0
    Jul 16, 2001
    California
    Hi !
    THanks for the responce! I was hoping to get advice from someone and you seem to know what you're talking about. THANK YOU!
    I guess an RDA is not for me afterall? I did not know htat the people who entered those RDA programs were very uneducated and barely had GRE's. Ok--I guess I'd feel out of place doing that...
    what about the RDH? I wasn't interested in the degree for the money, but only for the extra title. I need something to get me into dental school and I just don't know what else to do? I wouldn't plan on working as an RDH for any time really.
    Well tahnk you for your advice!!! And why do you think it is that an RDH makes so much money?
     
  6. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    176
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    Aug 1, 2001
    Austin, TX
    I hear that RDHs make such good money because of good old supply and demand. Apparently, there are not enough RDH programs to adequately supply the dental field. Most RDHs do not even work for one dentist per se. For the most part, at least in the state I live in, they contract their labor out to various dentists at the tune of $45 an hour. I'm getting all this info from the DA instructors at my school and my father. Take it for what its worth. I really don't have any first hand knowledge of the issue. In so far as your desire to go to dental school, I'd just say go for it. I am not really all that well acquainted with the process, but if you are in an academic setting right now, I'm sure you should be able find someone to give you an informed point of view. Like I said, in so far as dental school admissions goes, mine is not all that informed. I am applying to med school but am thinking about the possibility of oral surgery down the line so I drop in this forum now and again. I can tell you anything you want to know about med school admissions, but that appears to be a whole other animal. Anyway, good luck to you.
     
  7. Beagle

    Beagle Meet BEAGLE 7+ Year Member

    596
    0
    Jul 16, 2001
    California
    An RDH requires a college degree? Really? I thought it was similar to that of the RDA where you can do the whole program at a community college. ???
    Anyway, I was wondering--do you think I could get a job as a dental assistant, even without the RDA certificate? I mean, just some extra job experience and something for my resume before applying to dental school?
    Thanks
    Beagle
     
  8. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    176
    0
    Aug 1, 2001
    Austin, TX
    I think it depends on the state you live in. In Texas, the RDH program at San Antonio requires a college degree plus prereqs like Intro Bio, Inorganic and Organic Chem, etc. I can't say for other states. I'm talking with my dad right now (he's an oral surgeon) and he said that based on your credentials you wrote about he'd hire you in a second. He also just said he wouldn't know why you would want to work as an dental assistant if you were a college graduate. A little incentive, he got a C in organic and still finished fifth in his graduating dental school class. In so far as my opinion is concerned, a job as a RDA in kind of beneath you. I absolutely do not think you need to go to school for it; you would be bored silly in those classes. If you really want to do it though, and work for the nine bucks an hour they'll probably pay you, go ahead and write a cover letter explaining that you want experience in a dental office prior to applying to dental school and fire it off to the dentists in your area along with your resume. Be sure to include your salary requirements. Otherwise they probably won't call you back thinking you're too expensive. Also be sure to include the bit about applying to dental school or they might think your resume is a practical joke. You might get a dentist that is willing to take you under his/her wing and truly help you with the admissions process if he/she knows what your ultimate career interests are. Good luck.
     
  9. Beagle

    Beagle Meet BEAGLE 7+ Year Member

    596
    0
    Jul 16, 2001
    California
    Gregory
    You actually think that a dentist would hire me even though I HAVE NO experience in the dental office? I mean, what does the college degree matter if you have no experience? Geez....I would be happy if the dentist paid me 4 dollars an hour!!!
    I guess Im looking for something to put on my resume. I will be working on my masters degree in Biology in the fall, but as is, I only have class at night so I wanted to do something in the day..
    Thanks for the advice. Do you think some dentist will really let me volunteer to steralize stuff or EVEN PAY ME???????
    Jennifer
     
  10. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    176
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    Aug 1, 2001
    Austin, TX
    It's too bad you don't live in my hometown. I'd send you over to my dad's office tomorrow. He'd probably give you ten bucks an hour.

    The experience you speak of at the level of a RDA is a non-factor for someone with your background. The students I teach take six months of classes four days a week from eight to noon. They have NO education and find the prospect of learning anything scientific in nature overwhelming. You'd have the job duties down in no time. In fact, my dad doesn't even hire from RDA programs. He prefers to train his employees himself. If I were you I'd start faxing your resume and cover letter this week. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the response you get.
     
  11. Beagle

    Beagle Meet BEAGLE 7+ Year Member

    596
    0
    Jul 16, 2001
    California
    Gregory
    What do I say in my letters? I am a graduate student that is interetsed in dental school and would like to work in yoru office? ??? DOING WHAT?? and where and how do I mention a few bucks as pay? Don't most dentists wnat someone with experience???
    Should I only write those dentists who I find in ads in the paper? Or should I write to all in the area that I am at? (and hope for a phone call)
    I see that you're a teacher---what do you teach? Are you the RDA teacher? What kinda things do they teach as an RDA--science courses, dental procedures?
    Thanks
    JEn
     
  12. waiting

    waiting Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 9, 2001
    hey beagle,

    I tried the same thing you're doing several months ago. Basically, I have a college degree (and even 2 yrs. of med school background) but no dental experience (at the time I was looking). I basically faxed my resume and a cover letter to numerous dentists in the area who had placed ads looking for assistants. I mentioned that I was going to be applying to dental school and wanted to get some experience in a clinical setting while also helping out (and gettig paid). I interviewed at a few places, and did some 'working-interviews' too, but every time the dentists ended up taking someone w/an actuall DA degree or prior experience. All the dentists were very nice about the whole process, though, and I continued to volunteer w/a number of them. One of them ended up writing a letter for me for applications. So....I recommend going ahead and contacting numerous docs in your area via fax/phone but just don't expect that you'll get a paid position despite your general science education. Many dentists have very busy practices and just don't have the time to totally train someone from ground zero. However, they'll still love to have you hang out and observe and gain lots of exposure anyway....so go for it! Hope this helps.
     
  13. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    176
    0
    Aug 1, 2001
    Austin, TX
    I teach for a CMA (certified medical assistant) progra) but I fill in on occasion for the DA program. What I can tell you about the schools I've taught for is that the education is very basic. I teach just about anything they need me to--anatomy and physiology, medical/dental terminology, etc. I don't think your lack of dental experience should be a major obstacle. What dentists might have a reservation about though is the fact that you will be a short term employee. I would fax the dentists that have put adds in the paper first, and then depending on how that goes I would fax other dentists in your area that would be willing to accept a paid intern into their office. In so far as your letter is concerned, I would simply state your work experience (even if it is unrelated to dentistry), your career goals, and the salary you are seeking (shoot low-$7/$8 bucks an hour since that is what beginning DAs make). Like I said before, it depends on the part of the country you live in, but I think most dentists would be receptive. A little side note, I got my first job as a medical assistant becasue a lot of doctors in my area preferred to hire premeds. They said they were eager to learn, and had a genuine interest in their jobs. It didn't matter to them that I had no experience. I think you are in similar boat to the one I was.
     
  14. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    176
    0
    Aug 1, 2001
    Austin, TX
    Beagle, I probably won't drop in on this forum again since I'm not really predent. I feel like I'm trespassing in a way. Plus I don't really have time to. If you want any further input into your job search go ahead and send me a private message and be sure to include your email address in the text. Just make up an email address on Yahoo or something if you don't want to give out your real address to someone you don't know. I might be able to get one of the full time DA instuctors at my school to give you some advice. If I don't hear from you again, good luck with all this.
     

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