Dental Assistant Instructor Keeps Learning

Sheila, DA instructor

About a dozen years ago, Sheila Schaeffer was your typical single mother of three young boys, working hard as a dental assistant to make ends meet for her family. She'd been in the field as a DA for 16 years when she decided it was time to take a step that would change her life.

"I hadn't had time to get an education as a single mom," she said. "But when my boys started getting old enough to take care of themselves, I decided it was time to do something for me."

A change of course

Schaeffer enrolled herself at a local career college in her hometown of Memphis and began seeking her diploma as a dental assistant. However, that path would soon be altered as well. While pursuing her diploma, she met a classmate who worked at Concorde Career College - Memphis. And that classmate told Schaeffer about a position opening for a DA instructor.

Schaeffer applied for the job and has been an instructor at Concorde coming up on 12 years.

"I love working here," she said. "I graduated college while working at Concorde. I'm a natural-born helper, a people person and Concorde is so family-oriented. It had a good support system ... for me and for all the students."

Continual pursuit of education

While teaching at Concorde, Schaeffer hasn't stopped in her pursuit of more education. She recently completed a bachelor of science degree in business management, graduating with a 3.75 grade-point average. She said she hopes to earn her master's in business administration within the next year.

"Hopefully, down the road, it will lead to a promotion here, because I love this company," Schaeffer said of Concorde. "I just want to be in a position where I can continue to help young people. Concorde is 100 percent about the students and their success. That's always been No. 1."

Schaeffer's love for education rubbed off on her children, as all three boys are now in successful careers of their own. Her oldest son is a surgical technologist at Methodist Hospital in Memphis and is studying for his exams to become a registered nurse. Her middle child is a policeman and her youngest works as a computer tech.

Schaeffer said she thinks back on all those nights where she was up until 2 a.m. studying or writing papers after taking care of her family and knows all the hard work was well worth it.

"I'm a very proud momma," she said

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“Without the support of certain instructors … I would not have pushed myself to grasp the concepts and pass my boards on the first attempt. Once I passed my boards, it was less than one month after that I landed my first Respiratory Therapist job where I am currently working with so much joy every day.”

Marcus Streator
Respiratory Therapy graduate
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“What I liked about Concorde was that there was nothing flashy. They were very up front, very simple, answered all my questions. They were more concerned with my education than tuition.”

James Harkins
Vocational Nursing Graduate