Graduation season arrives each year filling students with a myriad of emotions. For some, it’s an exciting step forward to explore life’s next chapter. Continuing education, a new career, travel, or another kind of adventure awaits, promising personal growth and meaning.
For others, it’s a departure from a familiar place that’s provided security, structure, and relationships that are akin to family. Leaving school brings on a sense of fear for what the future holds. Not being properly prepared for the next milestone in life can bring on ambiguity, anxiety, and what is now being called post-grad depression.
Some Schools Just Get It
Fortunately, some schools understand their students’ needs on a deeper level and make it their mission to prepare them to meet their marks beyond their own halls and walls. Schools that use holistic teaching methods and work with the “whole student” are preparing them for immediate success. One of these schools is Advantage Career Institute Medical and Dental School in Eatontown, New Jersey.
On Thursday, March 21, 2019, close to 124 students of ACI Medical and Dental School marched into Monmouth University’s Pollack Theatre toward “a new beginning” as they received accredited credentials to work in the in-demand medical and dental industry and begin their exciting careers.
ACI Medical and Dental School is a post-secondary school accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Graduating students have been trained in one of their 3 in-demand programs in the medical and dental field:
- Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy, EKG and Patient Care Technician
- Dental Assistant with Radiology
- Medical and Dental Administrative Assistant with Electronic Health Records and Medical Billing and Coding
These students received accelerated, hands-on training in fully-equipped clinical labs in a small classroom environment. The school provides challenging educational programs and a comprehensive career development program in a highly nurturing environment.
In conjunction with their curriculum, students worked to improve their interpersonal skills, their ability to problem solve, and their work ethic. Teachers worked closely with the students to instill confidence and teach them how to present themselves as valuable contributors to prospective employers.
In 2018, 92% of the students graduated and were credentialed on National Certification Exams. Their employment rate is an impressive 84% and for those not employed right after graduation, the school’s leadership creates individualized training programs to meet the students where they are in the learning process and modifies their teaching methods to enable success.
Impassioned & Ready for Success
The graduates of ACI Medical and Dental School are facing their future with real-world preparedness. I had the privilege of interviewing several students just prior to and following commencement. One, after another, after another, they talked passionately about their learning experience and their careers ahead.
So many of the students are already working thanks to the strong community connections the school has built to help students gain practical skills in internships and help their graduates transition into employment. They’re finding secure, exciting employment with local medical and dental facilities like Hackensack Meridian Health, CentraState Healthcare System, RWJ Barnabas Health, and Allied Dental.
Where Preparation Meets Opportunity
One medical assistant student spoke candidly about her struggles in school. She was referred to ACI Medical and Dental School by friends, she gave it a try, and she loved it. But she had some troubles with her skills along the way. Her teachers gave her the structure, support, and guidance she needed to graduate. She was excited to announce that she’s already been hired to start her career.
A medical assistant student who’d originally studied business didn’t feel very prepared in his previous career. He was looking for something more fulfilling. His love for anatomy and physiology led him to ACI Medical and Dental School where he decided to turn his passion for knowledge on the human body into a meaningful career. He loves learning about electrocardiograms and the human heart. He interned in what is now his place of employment at a local cardiology center. He said he’ll miss the school and his teachers, but he’s so excited about his career ahead.
Another student was encouraged by one of her family members to pursue the Dental Assistant industry. She described her experience as amazing. She feels knowledgeable and prepared for her work ahead. She now has a radiology license and is excited about taking X-rays.
Dedication in Action
I had an unplanned encounter with another ACI Medical and Dental School graduate that left a great impression on me. She arrived late for graduation and asked me what she should do. She was upset because all the other graduates had already taken the stage.
I walked her back to the dressing room where all the gowns were hanging and suggested she find one her size. I could tell she was upset so I reassured her that she is here now and won’t miss graduation. She said to me, “The patients come first. Even on graduation day.” This is the kind of dedication that ACI Medical and Dental School inspires in their students.
A Tip of the Hat to Our Veterans
As the students were recognized and handed their diplomas, a special moment of acknowledgment and standing ovation was given to Veterans in attendance and in ACI Medical and Dental School’s graduating class. The applause was loud and heartfelt.
The school is a proud participant in the Principles of Excellence program from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and they’re approved for VA benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. This is a federal program that provides educational benefits for people who served in active duty after September 10th, 2001.
One of the previous Veteran graduates of ACI Medical and Dental School said, “After spending the last 33 years in the US Army, my wife and I were both able to take advantage of the post 911 GI Bill while attending a school that is clearly military friendly.” Veterans can view their eligibility here.
From Confused to Confident
At this school, there is no shortage of passion, pride, and preparation among the students, the faculty, staff and leadership. One of the students who spoke during commencement said it best.
“The whole staff at ACI Medical and Dental School is remarkable. Thank you for taking the time to get to know us all individually. You were all so helpful and encouraging and have done more for us during this time than we could have asked for… to know that you will always support even after graduation is something truly wonderful. And to my classmates, thank you all for being you. I can now say that many of you I can call lifelong friends and business associates, thanks to ACI. I’m so grateful to know each and every one of you. I can honestly say, that after just a few short months I went from feeling confused to being genuinely happy and confident with where I am in my life. I have a new job, new friendships, the motivation to continue my education, and a better version of myself.”