Jose Garcia had never been a good student, but he always knew he was a people person, and he also knew he needed an education to get where he wanted to go.
“When I was younger, I dropped out of high school and during quarantine I was super bored,” he said. “I’m a work person. I thought if I worked in the dental field or anywhere that requires a degree, I could still be working and interacting with people. I was bored at home, tired of sitting at home and looking at my four walls. I would rather be out in the field working. So, I decided to go back to high school and then continue my education.”
Jose had always had an interest in the dental field. After earning his high school diploma, he signed up for classes through a community college, but found it was not the right fit. He didn’t like that there were so many general courses that needed to be completed before learning anything about dental and he was eager to get some hands-on experience. Further searching led him to UEI College in Sacramento.
“They took me on a tour, and I was really impressed with the building and the teachers I interacted with when I was on the tour,” he said.
That connection with the staff at the school was valuable as Jose began his Dental Assistant program. Any time he struggled, he found an instructor ready and willing to help him understand. Very quickly, he was excelling in his courses and his instructor invited him to become an ambassador.
“I worked really hard to achieve the grades I had and when they offered to be to be an ambassador, I thought it sounded great,” he said. “I never did really great at school until I went to UEI, and I was excelling at it. It made me really happy to be there.”
“As a student, Jose was always helping his classmates,” said April Morris, Jose’s instructor. “He was just really committed to his schooling. He made sure he was in class when he was supposed to be in class. He was one of my really good, good students.”
Jose even began working at the campus through a work study program. Near the end of his program, he overheard a counselor at the school mention an opening at Western Dental. Jose had not finished his externship yet, but he submitted his information for the position. A week later he was hired.
The position gives him the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of people and help them achieve a happy, healthy smile.
“The dentist does their job, and our job is to make sure the patient is calm and collected, they know what is going to go on before we start a procedure,” Jose said. “I’m veryt talkative so my coworkers let me do all the talking because I could talk up a storm.”
“He is very attentive to details. He is very social. Everybody loves him and he has good chairside skills,” said Ms. Morris. “He makes patients feel comfortable, so I know he is going to do great. It makes me feel good to have a student that I know has exceeded. I’m not successful unless they are successful, and Jose really made me feel like I did my job as an instructor.”
Jose was able to graduate the program with honors, all while working two jobs.
“I’m very motivated but I feel like going through this program made me more motivated to get good grades and succeed in my career,” he said. “If you have any questions, talk to someone at the school. Their job is to help us out. UEI is the way to go because they want us to succeed just like you want to succeed.”