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Bitterroot College Jan2018

Bitterroot College has added Dental Assistant and Construction Management programs to its list of workforce offerings. 

Bitterroot College has added Dental Assistant and Construction Management programs to its list of workforce offerings enabling students to select from a wide array of educational opportunities this spring.

Roch Turner, director of Programs Development, said Bitterroot College has increased its healthcare related programming as a response to demand.

“The Department of Labor and Industry and local industry partners have demonstrated a need for folks to be trained to work in healthcare field,” Turner said. “Some of the increased demand is due to an aging workforce – people retiring – and the need for trained employees to enter the workforce.”

The Dental Assisting program is in addition to healthcare workforce programs in Certified Medical Assisting, Phlebotomy, and Certified Nursing Assistant.

The Dental Assisting program helps students get an entry-level position in the dental industry. The course covers all areas of pre-clinical dental assisting and provides the training and professional skills to be an assistant in a dental practice – including administrative and clinical aspects.

“When you’re done taking our program, you’ll be eligible and ready to take the Radiation Health Safety (RHS) exam and the Infection Control Exam (ICE). Successfully completing those prepares you for your chair-side hours that are required before you take the Dental Assisting National Board’s General Chairside (GC) exam,” Turner said. “Then you become a Certified Dental Assistant.”

The chair-side hour requirement is 3,500 hours. Bitterroot College places students with a dentist where students continue their education. The students gain on-the-job training and are paid as an employee of the clinic for the nearly two years of work.

The Bitterroot College Dental Assisting program is ideal for students interested in pursuing a Dental Hygienist program.

The Dental Assisting program runs 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 13 to May 24, and costs $1,650.

“It is very reasonably priced,” Turner said. “Dental Assisting has been identified by both the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and the National Department of Labor as a fast-growing, high-demand field.”

For most of the health care programs, students need to be at least 18 years old.

“There are some exceptions so if someone is under 18 and interested they should call me,” Turner said. “There are funding sources available and if they want to look at those they should go to our website.”

Also new is the Construction Management program with two classes.

The Construction Management Introductory course, started Jan. 2, covers the general history of construction and the relationships among construction participants (contractor, tradesman, client, and attorney) in the building process.

The Construction Materials & Methods course runs 6 to 8 p.m., Feb. 6 to March 1, and costs $225. Students learn the basic knowledge of materials and methods used to design and construct most building, sustainability, ethics, and the ordering and installation of construction materials.

Turner said the classes prepare students to manage a job site.

“You could work as a general contractor, a foreman, or any project management in the construction field – whether you’re working for a big company like Rocky Mountain Homes or you're starting your own company,” Turner said. “These are very usable programs.”

Bookkeeping (level one) and Accounting (level two) certification programs remain in the Bitterroot College Workforce offerings.

“If you are proficient in bookkeeping we have a challenge exam you can take so you can move right into the Accounting program if you pass that,” Turner said.

Bitterroot College offers FabLab classes, Continuing Education courses, personal enrichment classes, and college credit courses for students this spring.

Enrollment is open.

“Workforce programs are filling up quickly, so if people want in they need to hustle,” Turner said. “Once the course listing hits doorsteps, which it did on Friday, people start coming in.”

Bitterroot College is located at 103 So. Ninth Street in Hamilton. For more information, call 375-0100, email or visit the college website at

Turner, as director of programs development, said Bitterroot College will have more new offerings this summer.