EP29: A Foolproof Strategy to Hiring Great Assistants; Accelerated Dental Assisting Academy

Join Dr. John while he interviews Davis Roux and Patricia Hovis about Accelerated Dental Assisting Academy— a 10-week, accelerated dental assisting program that is customized and built right into dental offices all over the country. Their program has the ability to determine if this is a good fit for your area and practice, then implements their own curriculum, taking the risk and hardship of creating a dental assisting program and allowing you the benefit of the best employees. You don’t want to miss this episode!

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“EP29: A Foolproof Strategy to Hiring Great Assistants; Accelerated Dental Assisting Academy” Transcript:

[music] welcome to the Double Your Production podcast with the Team Training Institute, the one place designed for dentists and their staff who want to grow their practices by following in the footsteps of those that have done it, who are in the trenches, who know exactly what you’re going through. And now your leaders, the stars of the podcast, Dr. John Meis and Wendy Briggs.
Hello, everybody. Welcome to this episode of the Double Your Dental Production podcast. I am Dr. John Meis, and I’m so excited today. I have two guests, David Rue and Patricia Hovis. They are from the Accelerated Dental Assisting Academy which is a really cool company. And so I just want to welcome you guys. And would you tell us a little bit about your company and what you do?
Yeah. Absolutely. Well, first, we’re so excited to be here with you, Dr. Meis, and we’re just looking forward to this whole conversation. And so again, my name is David Rue and I am the president at Accelerated Dental Assisting Academy. And I’m here with Patricia Hovis, and she is our Director of Relations. And so we’ll just kind of take off from here. Basically, we are a 10-week dental assisting school that host these schools within practicing dental offices throughout the country. And so we know that the 10-week school was not– this isn’t the first time this has ever happened. And so what we kind of we believe streamlined and is our niche is that we created this corporate team or this main office that does everything so that when we go and partner with doctors, we kind of take the full reign and implement the school into their practice. And so that’s kind of what we do as a whole.
Yeah. And just to go into a little bit more further detail about why we even became a company, it started by dentists here in Louisiana, and we saw the hardships and the need for a dental assisting school. He was having constant turnover, wasn’t able to hire his best assistants. And so being able to have this dental school or this dental assisting school in his office, he was able to hire his best assistants from it and then not go through all the trouble of having to find and post job openings and that kind of thing. So we kind of want to fill that need for the dentists that need that in their office.
So the 10-week school is a relatively common format, but generally, dentists are purchasing the content for that school and then running them school themselves. What you do is something completely different from that, isn’t it?
Absolutely. Basically, what we’ve done is taken– we’ve built our own curriculum, and we basically built this team that goes and hosts the school within the office. And so we actually have several departments. We have a licensing department, a marketing department, career advisors, career coaches. And what else, Patricia?
So, I mean, it kind of just– what we do is we try to take off all the risk and the hardship of having the school in your office. Those dentists that are purchasing that curriculum which is how our company started with a dentist purchasing the curriculum, you have to run it all up in your office. You have to market it. You have to enroll the students. You have to take care in these students. You have to make sure they’re getting jobs and make sure that what you’re doing is the right thing for your community. And so we kind of take off that pressure for the dentist. And we’re able to go in and research the area, make sure that our school could sustain the dentist assistant jobs open in that area. And then we’re able to get them licensed, kind of take of all the risk of whether this is going to work or not for them. And then we’re able to go in and help the girls in their community and use their assistance in their office to teach the class and help further these girls’ careers and then potentially give them new hires as well. So it’s kind of two different realms when it comes to that. We try to serve the doctor first, but then help the girls in their area that want to become dental assistants but aren’t just sure which route to take, as we’re able to tell them more about it, tell them about dental assisting, and then help them become job-ready as well. So I think that’s what kind of separates us from just buying the curriculum as we kind of take of all that extra work you would have to do if you were just to go in and host it with that.
Yeah. I had a dental assisting school in my office. We bought the curriculum. This has been probably 15 years ago, so it’s been a while. But we had to redo the entire curriculum because it was a little bit out-of-date. And so we had to not only bring it up-to-date but customize it to our office. We had to give to the state because different states have different regulations about this. But all that stuff, you guys already have done, haven’t you?
Correct. And then I mean, we’re ongoing too. So the dentist industry– I mean, the dental industry is changing every single day. And so with that, we try to keep up with the curriculum, and we’re changing that constantly to keep up and just make sure that our curriculum is relevant in today’s world. And then not only with that, but we also have a whole another aspect of the life coaching, which I’ll kind of let David talk about since that is his part right there. He’s life coaching [laughter].
So basically, as we built the curriculum, we have decided that our main objective is not just to produce a quality dental assistant but to do so much more, to produce a quality employee and a very hirable candidate. And so with that, we knew that there are certain nontangible traits that every employer desires. And so we have nine lessons throughout the curriculum that focus on that. And so it really is kind of a– I guess if there is a separation or a branding of the curriculum, that would definitely be it.
So these nine lessons are things like how to create a résumé, how to dress for an interview, that kind of thing? Or are they more talking about just general life things?
It’s actually going to start off– the first lesson is what does an employer want from an employee, and so we have testimonies from doctors and things that they would like. And then the following chapters would be what is a good work ethic, and it goes through character or how do you communicate. And so it goes through some more general things, but then, the post-graduation, where we have our career service program, this is when we dive in and we actually do three things for the graduates. One is to develop a professional résumé. And we actually have templates that we sit down, and we spend time with the students and build that out for them. And the next would be how to set up for the interview process. And we even have mock interview trainings with them. And so we prepare them for the interview. And the third would be we teach them how to go out and apply for jobs with internships and how to hand off their résumé. So that is the difference from the life coaching and the career service.
And then too, with life coaching, I mean, we even did it with our corporate team. We went through each lesson. And I mean, it’s just incredible what it can do, the content in there. We even had a doctor reach out to us– I think it was last week, one of our hosting doctors asking, “Can I use this to train [laughter] my current staff? I love it.” So I’m glad that David has a heart for that and really dove into that.
Yeah. That’s great. And the placement services that you have, that’s super unique. And I know some of the schools have struggled with placing students since, in 10 weeks, you don’t become a master of dental assisting. You know some of the terminology and you know your way around an office a little bit. You know how to remain safe, for instance. But really, there’s so much learning that still needs to happen when they hit the office. So tell me a little bit more about how you’ve done with placement. And what are some of the keys that you’ve figured out that make it so easy for your clients?
And so I know we both have a lot to say about this, but the first thing is– when we started this, we decided we wanted to serve two people mainly. And it was the hosting doctor that actually allows us to come into the practice. And we’ve built basically an internal recruiting and hiring system. And so every doctor that works with us, they hire directly from the student base. And so they basically have a 10-week interview. And so that is the first part is we wanted to make it to where the practices that we’re with, they have the freedom to honestly just select the cream of the crop. And they love this. And so we’ve streamlined to where it’s not only a grey thing. It’s encouraged. And in the next phase is actually what we’re building right now– it’s kind of the second side of the company is what– it is a free recruiting and hiring service. It’s a hiring program for the local dentists in the area. And so we have hundreds of dentists that contact us to hire our graduates. And so we have an internal evaluation program. And we’re able to give the hiring managers and doctors that contact us resumes that have been built, their evaluation scores that are very strategically taken from the students and mainly referrals from the instructors. And so honestly, our two most successful things is connecting with dentists across the country in the local areas of our hosting schools and getting them to basically– we narrow down their candidate base. And so those two referral systems is really what has given us the most success.
Yeah. That’s fantastic. It’s certainly been a challenge. So if I’m interested– I mean, I’m just curious about the mechanics. So I’m a doctor. I like the idea of having basically a 10-week interview. You have the chance if you must– if your team is going to spend the time, you get to know the candidates that are in the class. So you get to pick the very best ones. I love the no hassles part that as a doctor, you’re really not doing anything other than just allowing your office to be used, basically.
And I imagine that you hire– your instructors are hired from the doctor’s office usually. Is that correct?
Yes. Yeah. And I can just kind of go into more detail about that, too, because it’s one of the more important parts of our company. So like you said, it is hassle-free for the doctor. I mean, I can go into an office and set up the school and then maybe never talk to the doctor again if he doesn’t want to talk to me, just as long as I make communication with his instructors, which we try to hire from his staff. So another thing with [inaudible], like I said earlier, it’s a high turnover position. But we’re able to offer this to the employees and to his good dental assistants that are in his office and keep them on his staff. They become an accelerated employee. So we pay them to teach the class– the instructor to teach the class. And then we treat them like an accelerated employee. And we want to help them reach their goals and dreams, whether it is moving up in their career or helping their family go on a vacation. It is our goal to make sure that our instructors are happy, not only because they’re our employees, but because that’s a direct reflection on those students receiving that education. So we do our best to invest in every instructor and doctor, as much as they want us to and are willing to let us to do that.
So in a very simple version, basically, the doctors that would like to host, their responsibility is to allow to use their facility, typically on Saturdays, during nonoperational hours. And we go and [plant?] the school in their facility. We use their staff, and they typically give us their best teammates that would like to have extra income. And we train them to be our instructors. And so the doctor’s role is to be in partnership and allow us to use the facility, and the staff’s role is to serve as the instructor.
Yeah. Fantastic. So you have some particular things that you look for that you know will help the offices be successful. So what kind of offices are you looking for?
Typically, we’re not necessarily picky, I would say, but something with a bigger patient base. The bigger your practice, the more successful it’ll be, but even if just your office being able to hold 15 students. So if that’s in your waiting room or break room, then we could do it there. And then an office with more than four operatories, just so you can split the students up within those operatories to be able to do the hands-on training. But other than that, as long as you have an instructor who’s interested, and you think that your city’s able [to stand?] having the 15 students every semester, then we would be able to have a school there.
Dr. [inaudible] this answer, very, very strategic. It used to be, “Hey, we need four ops. We need multiple doctors,” those type of things. But what we found is that we’ve been around the country. We have some offices that we work with that have 15 office locations and 35 dentists, and then we have others that have four ops and one doctor. And they’re both extremely successful. And so what we found is that it’s just people that have a hunger for craft. People that want to partner and impact people’s lives and have a recruiting and hiring services serve themselves. And so it really is just a kind of a general term. So we kind of narrowed out the measurables.
Sure. Very good. So if I’m interested, tell me about the process of getting this whole thing started.
So basically, you would just call me. I can give you my number, which would be in the information on this podcast. And then, also, you can visit our website, which is freedentalnetwork.com, and you basically let us know that you’re interested. And from there, I look to make sure that your office can have the school, which is seeing that your city has the opportunities for the students to get jobs. And then we come in. I present it to your team and the dentist team to see if this is something they’d be interested in if they have instructors that want to teach. And then from there, we start the licensing, to get your license within the state. And then we just start working from you there. We try to make this, like I said, as simple as possible and let us do all the hard work on that. But it’s simple as just reaching out to us, letting us know you’re interested.
Yeah. I mean, Dr. [inaudible], the reason I have Patricia here with me mainly is because I want everyone that listens to this to know that we are a relationship-based company. If they want to host a school or even want to recruit from our graduates, it’s as simple as just typing in their information on our website and we have Patricia call them or we give you Patricia’s cell phone number and you can speak directly. So we’re very open about that. And so and there’s something that we didn’t mention and this is the numbers base and that we’re– if a doctor would like to host a school we do pay the doctor up to $6,000 per semester that they host. And we like to host three courses per year, February, June, and September. And so that would be a total of $18,000 per year. And then the instructor, typically a dental assistant, sometimes hygienist, we pay them $300 per day minimum to instruct that class on that Saturday. It’s an eight-hour class day.
Okay. Wow. So really that’s an awesome deal. A dentist can take home a nice check and really hasn’t done any work and the team members have a way to supplement their income. I think that’s fantastic.
[crosstalk] we’ve heard from you that it’s not a good deal unless it’s a win/win on both parties. And so that’s what we try to make it.
Well, it’s really true. Yeah. And it’s got to be really good for the students so that they get enough information that they can begin a career. Because you don’t want to have people going to the school that then can’t get a job because that doesn’t reflect well on your company and the school. And so you want to make sure that you have that and I love that you help people get positions. I think that’s a extra-special thing that you guys do. And so you also want it to be good for the team and then for the team to be able to earn extra money. I just love that. Most of dental assistants love stuff like this. A lot of them have some kind of second gig that they’re doing and this they could have a second gig that’s in their own profession and get paid really well for that. That’s terrific. So the people who really do well at this. What are kind of the secrets of the school that you’ve seen that when it’s done in this way it works, when it’s done in this way it doesn’t work? So what are some of the secrets that you can share?
I would say a big secret is communication. As long as they’re communicating with us their concerns or their doubts [within?] and we’re able to ease their mind and let them know we can do this, we can do that. We’re open to making this work for their practice. And so the ones that communicate with us and say, “Hey, you know what? My daughter’s birthday is next Saturday. Can we move the class?” We’re able to make that call because we’re able to reach out to those students and not have that instructor reach out to them and tell them, “Hey, something came up. We’re going to move the class back.” So just having that communication and being open with us so we can have– it’s a relationship and a friendship amongst our employees and the people that work in these offices.
Yeah. I’m going to say the two things that I’ve noticed as a whole is the times it works really well is when the doctor or the owner of the practice has a vision to be in his community and be a presence there and desires to add that dimension. Like a growth mentality. So the people that have, “Hey, I want to get better mentality,” they always are open for these types of things and typically they allow us to come in and make our home there. And then the second is the instructor. No matter what, the doctor can want this but if they don’t have an instructor that buys in then it doesn’t work. And so really why the doctors love it is because they have someone who does everything for them and the instructors end up [stealing?] valuable, “Hey, I’m an instructor.” They can put it on their resume. It’s in the community. It’s them. So it’s something that to make it successful the doctor has to have the growth mentality and the instructor needs to be [bought?] in and feel value in it.
And the attraction of students, is that a challenge and how do you structure the tuition so that it’s financially feasible for people wanting to enter into dentistry?
And so this was a huge topic. Basically, when we go into an area the first thing that we look at is not even the population. It is actually how many dentists are in the area. If we graduate 45 people per year, can we service the community and can the student be successful? And that’s the first thing. And so then what we look into there is how many other schools are servicing this area? And what we found is that there are other 10-week dental assisting schools in the area, if we can actually go there. Typically they’re around $3,400 to $4,000. Our program we’ve kind of committed to keeping on the lower end and it’s $2,599 for tuition. And then what we’ve actually done in ours is we’ve actually had in-house funding. And so we have student loans that we do ourself. And so we have payment plans for the students. Some of them are up to 10 months. And so we do basically– some of them have $70 a week payments. And so we work really well with the students because, obviously, they’re doing this because they don’t have the money. And so we have in-house financing for them.
Well, you’ve got it all going, don’t you [laughter]? I think that’s fantastic. So make it easy and affordable for the students. So, yeah, this is fantastic. So if you’re a dentist and you want to be able to hire the cream of the crop from the school, you want to have no hassles, you want to earn a little extra money for yourself, you have the opportunity to earn more and make it really simple for someone who’s interested in dentistry to get into the profession. This is a very nice way to go. So how would interested people get in touch with you guys? Visit your website and–
[crosstalk]. Yeah. And then [inaudible] cell phone number. It’s my direct cell phone so you can call or text whenever they’re interested in talking to [inaudible]. There’s going to be questions from every dentist. And so that is 225-276-6728. And then again, you can always fill out information on the website freedentalnetwork.com. And then we would be able to– I can reach out to you from there, as well.
And, Patricia, that phone is answered 24/7, 365 I imagine since it’s your personal cell phone number [laughter].
That is correct. I’m available at their beck and call. And I like it that way because I know people are busy during the day especially dentists.
Yeah. All right. Well, David and Patricia, I want to thank you so much for being on our podcast today. I think this is a really neat opportunity. A way to help practices with one of the things that’s really super hard is to find the people that have the right culture, the right work ethic for your practice. And it’s one of the biggest hassles that every dentist has and this is a wonderful solution. It worked well in my office but I had to do all the work to set everything up. You’ve got it all set up and people can just walk right into it. I think that’s fantastic. Thank you so much for being on the podcast today.
Thank you so much for having us. We’re honored to be able to speak with you guys [laughter].
Yeah. Thank you so much Dr. Meis.
You’re sure welcome


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