CECU: Shortage of Skills: 58,000 Dental Assistants Needed

March 10, 2017 - Washington, DC - This month the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 7.5 million Americans are unemployed, while at the same time 5.5 million jobs remain unfilled in America. This gap in labor exists because employers demand job-ready employees and millions of prospective employees are simply not able to bridge the skills gap without appropriate career education and training. One such career is dental assisting, where career education colleges and universities produced over half of the academic awards in 2015. 

In honor of Dental Assistant Recognition week, CECU’s March SOS release focuses on the need for well-trained dental assistants. With the growing awareness of the importance of good oral health, the dental assistant profession has a much faster than average growth rate of 18% in the next 10 years. There will be a need for 58,600 trained dental assistants by 2024. Just in 2015, private sector career colleges and universities produced 14,944 academic awards in the dental assisting field, 64% of those produced across all sectors of higher education, according to CECU research supported by data from the U.S. Department of Education IPEDS database and BLS. From 2011-2015, a total of 88,492 academic awards in the dental assisting field came from career colleges and universities.

Dental assistants perform important tasks in a dentist’s office, and will increasingly be needed to assist dentists in managing a higher number of patients. From patient care, to cleaning treatment areas and tools, to clerical tasks such as scheduling appointments and working on billing, dental assistants help dentist’s offices function smoothly and allow them to help a higher volume of patients. Their median pay in 2015 was $35,980, right around the median income for all occupations, and higher than the median pay for other healthcare support occupations. This, combined with the high expected growth of the profession, presents a promising outlook for those studying to become dental assistants.

As research linking oral health with overall health expands, BLS expects that the demand for dental services will increase. A fact sheet from the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expands on the connection between oral and general health, saying that diseases such as “diabetes, heart disease, HIV, cancer, and some eating disorders are linked with oral health problems,” and that “regular dental exams” can help patients avoid such health issues.  In addition, pregnant women should take special care of their dental health, as they are at risk for conditions such as pregnancy gingivitis. Research is also under way to determine a link between gum disease and low-birth-weight babies. Men, on the other hand, are at risk of poor dental health simply by neglecting it more often than women, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. The AGD reports that the “average man brushes his teeth only 1.9 times a day and will lose 5.4 teeth by age 73.”

 “Our dental assisting program prepares students for a career in dental assisting through both classroom learning and externships,” said LeeAnn Rohman, president of High Desert Medical College. “Students leave with the skills they need to be successful in the field.”

“As oral health research and awareness expands, providing students with the skills needed to enter the rapidly growing dental assisting field becomes more and more important,” said Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of CECU. “By providing students with well-rounded training and degrees in dental assisting, our institutions make a sustainable career possible for thousands of Americans.”

About Shortage of Skills 
Each month CECU will profile America’s “Shortage of Skills” (SOS) in one key industry. We will examine industries that are critical to America’s economic advancement and explain how a well-educated and well-trained workforce can address these issues. See previous SOS releases here.

About Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU)
Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) is a membership organization of accredited institutions of higher education that provide postsecondary education with a career focus. CECU’s work supports thousands of campuses that education millions of students.  

CECU Press Release: CECU Statement on Delayed Deadline for Gainful Employment Requirements

March 7, 2017 – Washington, DC – In response to the announcement from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office that it will extend the deadlines for schools to submit alternative earnings appeals and disclosures until July 1, Steve Gunderson, president & CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU), said the following: 
“We very much appreciate the Department and the Administration recognizing the problems with this rule. We have asked them to delay the enforcement and to conduct a review of the unintended consequences of this rule as it begins to play out. This is very good news for thousands of students who seek to complete their career education and begin their careers. We are prepared to share with the Department how this rule treats identical programs differently based upon the geography and economy of where the students live. It is time for constructive conversations.”

Direct link to press release: http://www.career.org/news/cecu-statement-on-delayed-deadline-for-gainful-employment-requirements

U.S. News & World Reports: Compare Nonprofit, For-Profit Online Degree Programs

By Jordan Friedman | Editor Feb. 13, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. 

To some students, a for-profit online degree program seems like a risky option.

"I've seen a lot of reports for a lot of years about how for-profit schools have pretty much based their incomes on the ability for students to get federal financial aid," says 30-year-old Matt Warner, a cybersecurity and information assurance master's student at the nonprofit, online Western Governors University.

Though he's personally hesitant about for-profits, he suggests prospective students focus more on factors such as cost and the degrees offered.

For California resident Carlos Ramirez, enrolling in an online doctoral program in health administration at the for-profit University of Phoenix was a no-brainer. Ramirez previously earned his bachelor's and master's at the school and was satisfied with its flexibility and student support.

Experts say in online education, a school's classification as a for-profit versus nonprofit tells prospective online students little about overall quality.

"I think it's less about the sector and more on how attentive the institution is to meeting the needs of students, to understanding best practices, to preparing their faculty for this robust learning experience," says Karen Pedersen, chief knowledge officer for the Online Learning Consortium, an organization aiming to improve online higher education.

For-profit institutions have faced criticism in recent years for questionable recruitment practices, low graduation rates and high student debt. Though employers today are becoming more receptive to accepting candidates with for-profit, online degrees, there's still a stigma around them, experts say.

"It’s a distinction that has gotten a lot of press over the last many years, and I’m not sure that it’s warranted," says Betty Vandenbosch, president of the for-profit Kaplan University, which delivers many degrees online.

When for-profit online degree programs started becoming more prevalent around 1999, they accepted almost anybody who applied, including those who weren't sufficiently prepared for college, says Kathleen Ives, OLC's CEO and executive director, who has served as faculty for both for-profits and nonprofits. That, she says, contributed to low graduation rates and high debt for those who dropped out.

That initial focus primarily on corporate profits "has tainted much of the for-profit sector. And not fairly, because the for-profit institutions are just as diverse as the nonprofit institutions," says David Schejbal, dean of continuing education, outreach and e-learning at the University of Wisconsin—Extension, which coordinates continuing education and online programs across 26 statewide campuses.

Things have begun to change at many for-profits, Pedersen says. Overall, quality of student services ranges in the sector, but many for-profits have started focusing more on student success in addition to attracting applicants.

Many for-profits, Ives says, now require undergraduate applicants to complete assessments to determine whether they are ready for online college. That's how undergraduate admissions works at the for-profit, online American Public University System for non-military students and those entering with few credits, says Karan Powell, the institution's president.

"We, over time, have made the decision that there are some demonstrations of college readiness that need to be evident," says Powell, and retention rates have improved as a result.

Still, in comparison with nonprofit online programs overall, admissions at for-profits are generally less selective, says Mia Ellis, assistant director of admission services at Pennsylvania State University—World Campus, who has also worked at for-profit schools. Still, she acknowledges that admission into many online programs is easier compared with on-campus offerings.

For-profit programs have been more likely than nonprofits to have rolling admissions and academic calendars that don't operate around the standard semester schedule, experts say – though that format is now gaining momentum among nonprofits.

Beyond structure, experts say for-profit online programs are more likely to have national rather than regional accreditation. Regional accreditation, which some major for-profits do have, is preferred among employers and other universities if a student transfers.

And when it comes to tuition and fees, for-profit programs charged full-time students an average of $16,000 for the 2016-2017 school year, according to data from the College Board. That's compared with $3,520 at two-year public colleges for full-time in-state students and $9,650 at four-year public colleges for in-staters, the report found. These data don't distinguish between online and on-ground programs.

Out-of-state tuition at public colleges and tuition at private universities, however, was higher than at for-profit schools in 2016-2017, according to the data.

Ultimately, a prospective online student's decision should involve thorough research about for-profit programs' accreditation, experts say. Students should also compare tuition, faculty and support services, which can all vary in strength.

Tami Smith, an online bachelor's student at Colorado State University—Global Campus, transferred out of a for-profit online bachelor's program mainly because she was dissatisfied with the academic support she received, she says. Her second time around, she read student reviews and found useful information online.

"I read the good reviews and the bad reviews, and just took my time to choose that right school," she says.

Inside Higher Educaiton: Cosmetology Group Sues Education Department

By: Ashley A. Smith

February 13, 2017

The American Association of Cosmetology Schools filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education Friday over its gainful employment rule. The organization, which represents about 750 institutions, is seeking relief from the regulations.

The organization argues that gainful employment undercounts cosmetology graduates' income because many self-employed workers rely on gratuities and are paid in cash. Many cosmetologists simply underreport their incomes, according to the organization.

"A provision that is supposed to protect our students, in fact, hurts them badly," said Adam Nelson, executive director of AACS, in a news release. "We are proud that our graduates, many of whom were the first in their families to attend any kind of post-high school education, are quite often joining the middle class, establishing themselves in new beauty businesses and raising families and supporting themselves at a very good income level over long-lasting careers."

Direct link to article: https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/02/13/cosmetology-group-sues-education-department