Realizing a childhood dream

Great Careers Start Here

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It was an early visit to the dentist that set Mike Cifuentes on his life path. “When I was a teen I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life. It was not until my dental assistant shared his comeback story with me and encouraged me to choose this career that I knew,” he says. “Fifteen years later, here I am.”

Where he is, is Charter College Canyon Country, where he’s finishing up his dental assistant training. After graduation, he plans to work in the field for about three months and then return to school to continue his dental education.

The certificate he earns from Charter College will prepare him for entry-level employment in dental settings as a Chairside Dental Assistant.

Cifuentes says he’s excited about going into dental assisting because he enjoys working with patients, something he has been able to experience first-hand with his externship at Valencia Dental Group and Orthodontics.

With the aging of America and continuous technological improvements, the demand for skilled dental employees promises to grow.

Cifuentes chose Charter College because it was the closest school to his house, but he says it was an excellent decision. “It has been one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had,” he says. “My instructors are all highly experienced and easy to work with. And I get hands-on learning, so I’ll be even more prepared when it’s time to enter the job force.”

Cifuentes was recently announced as a Fab 5 Award Winner, which is given to five Charter College Canyon Country students every quarter who exemplify commitment, a great attitude, respect, energy, enthusiasm and resourcefulness.

“The award is for students who have exceeded their instructors’ expectations about the overall person you are, inside and outside of the classroom,” he shares. “I’m very humbled for receiving it and I appreciate the respect that goes with it.”

“Mike has been a great leader on campus, encouraging and inspiring fellow students,” said Campus President Juan Tabanera. “I see him becoming not only a great dental assistant but also a mentor to others in his future.”

The single father of two (Victoria, 9 and Malachi, 4) says that his success would not be possible without the support of his dental assisting peers: Eddie, Carlena, Nadia, Roxy and Alex. “And I want to give a special thank you to Ms. Gil and Ms. Lyndsey for all of their guidance and support,” he adds.

For more information on the Charter College Certificate in Dental Assisting program, visit