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Let Students Reduce the Cost of Professional Services

by Debra Karplus

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The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has raised questions about health insurance benefits and coverage. A recent National Public Radio (NPR) Morning Edition show discussed dental insurance and conveyed that not all states require it as part of this new health care insurance legislation. So how do you receive quality dental care if your insurance does not cover it and you are financially strapped for cash? Students in dental school or dental hygiene training at a technical school or community college can provide these services at a low cost or free as part of their student practicum graduation requirement.

Inexpensive dental service, including preventative work and treatments, performed by students may be available in your hometown.

Do you need a routine dental cleaning and scaling or x-rays, but don't feel like paying the usual $120 or more for these services? Explore what options exist where you live. For example, Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, trains dental hygienists and assistants. To graduate, students must practice on real patients, under the close supervision of their professors in the clinical setting.

According to Parkland's website, an appointment is $10 and free if you are a senior citizen. Parkland suggests that there may be a waiting list and says to allow a long time for the actual appointment. The reason for the long time in the dentist chair is that these practicum students are extremely thorough, and all work is checked by their teacher. Other students training in health professions such as radiology technology or veterinary medicine may offer comparable services in their fields.

You can indulge in a more beautiful you if students do the services.

You thought you'd save money by cutting your own hair, until you looked at the back of your head in the mirror and noticed what a mess you had made. One side was cut way shorter than the other. Consequently, you rushed over to the salon at the mall to "rescue you." Many communities have a beauty school, cosmetology school, or some other training in personal services, such as hair cutting, styling, perms, coloring and more for people of all ages.

Life seems stressful sometimes or maybe your muscles ache from doing so many projects around the house or in the garden. A massage may cost $70 or more for an hour. Massage therapy schools are springing up around the country. Schools that train massage therapists require practical experience to complete certification, so they give massages to people like you. Midwest Technical Institute in Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa's Quad Cities can relax that tired body of yours for $20 an hour, according to their website.

Imagine how much simpler life could be if you were debt free. Now take the first step to getting there.

Other services done by students can save you money.

Are you looking for day care, child care or preschool for your little one? Some of the high schools teach child development classes. Part of the curriculum involves caring for preschoolers for a few hours daily. See if your secondary school offers this program. Community colleges also have similar and more comprehensive programs for their students majoring in child development or a related area of study. Learn days and hours of operation, what services are offered, and how closely interning students are supervised. Make some calls and review your options.

Buying a new car is not an option right now but your brakes are just not working right. People going to technical schools to learn auto mechanics need real customers in the shop, too. Possibly your high school or community college has an auto shop, and they are looking for real cars to work on. Dakota County Technical College in Minnesota, for example, offers such a service. Look online in your area, talk to friends and neighbors, and see what you can find.

Think about other services that you might like to have but don't want to pay the going rate. Possibly you need design ideas for a garden you'd like to plant. Is there a university with a landscape design department that has students who need practice? Students learning trades or occupations very often need a minimum number of hours on the job to complete graduation requirements.

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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