Say Cheese!

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tori Schultz
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Airman 1st Class Derek Finster, 6th Dental Squadron dental technician, wanted a clear advantage over his peers when the time came to prepare his Senior Airman Below-the-Zone package. His strategy was to earn his Dental Assisting National Board certification.

"I always had intentions of [earning it] since I want to become a dentist," said Finster.

He was shocked he passed the final test because it was difficult, considering he could not study for the test as much as he would have liked. Most of the information from his Career Development Courses correlated with the information on the test, allowing him to advance in his skills while learning the information he needed to earn his certification.

Finster earned his Dental Assisting National Board certification Nov. 22, 2013 and is the only military member from his squadron that has it at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

The certification is mandatory for non-military members to work as a dental assistant and is not a requirement for military dental technicians. Currently three percent of Air Force dental assistants have received their certification.

"Not a lot of people pursue it because you have to pay out of pocket," explained Finster. "Because I started the certification in tech school and was using the dental assistant fund I was unable to use the certificate bonus."

In the near future, Finster would like to go to school and work his way up to becoming a dentist and already having the certificate under his belt puts him that much closer to his goal.