Student Stories: Vraj Patel

Vraj Patel

Major: Dental Hygiene

Vraj Patel was drawn to a career as a dental hygienist because of his passion for oral health, a desire to help others and the promising prospects in the field.

“The opportunity to directly impact patients’ lives by promoting good oral hygiene practices and preventive care appealed to me,” he said. “The field of dental hygiene also offers job stability and growth prospects, along with flexible work schedules that provide a good work-life balance. The constant advancements in dentistry provide opportunities for continual learning and professional growth.”

Continuing Education at COD

When it came time for his education, Patel did not want to wait to enter the workforce. He decided to enroll in the one-semester Dental Assistant program at College of DuPage and use it as a steppingstone to becoming a hygienist. Offered through the Continuing Education Division, the program combines classroom learning with hands-on activities, including a 120-hour externship.

“Networking during my externship had a significant impact on my career,” he said. “I established valuable connections, gained practical knowledge, received positive recommendations and stayed informed about industry trends. It shaped my professional trajectory.”

Patel found work after completing the program and then began pursuing his Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene at COD.

The supportive learning environment, including tutoring and academic advising, helped me overcome challenges and set academic goals.

Vraj Patel

“Through hands-on experiences in clinical rotations, I gained practical skills and valuable real-world experience,” he said. “The supportive learning environment, including tutoring and academic advising, helped me overcome challenges and set academic goals. Moreover, the College offered opportunities for personal growth and development through extracurricular activities and community involvement.”

Having earned his degree and passed the board exams, Patel now works as a registered dental hygienist at Flex Dental in Bloomingdale. He also reconnected with Continuing Education at COD, this time as an externship partner through Flex Dental.

Patel would like to become more involved in the dental hygiene community and possibly teach students at COD. He believes the College provided the foundation and support he needed to succeed.

“College of DuPage played a vital role in helping me achieve both my educational and personal goals by providing a high-quality education, offering diverse programs and resources tailored to my field of study,” he said. “I would highly recommended both the Dental Assistant and Dental Hygiene programs for a fulfilling career in oral health care. With practical, hands-on experience and diverse job prospects, these accredited programs offer a solid foundation for lifelong learning and professional growth, ensuring a seamless transition into the field. By promoting oral health and preventing dental diseases, graduates make a positive impact on patients’ lives.”

Learn more about the Dental Hygiene program at College of DuPage

Learn more about the Dental Assistant program at College of DuPage