By Kiana E.
Medical Assistant Graduate and Health and Medical Administrative Services Student
After I completed high school, I took a year off because I had a kid then started working at a clothing store. Some of my friends attended The College of Health Care Professions and they were telling me to go so I decided to look into the medical field and this college. As one of the only healthcare colleges in Austin, I decided to enroll to become a phlebotomist and learn about collecting blood samples to be able to better take care of my son’s health.
My son has sickle cell anemia, a disorder that affects the shape of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of the body. The cells die early, leaving a shortage of healthy red blood cells and can block blood flow causing infections, pain, and fatigue. My son needs medications and blood transfusions, and as the primary caretaker, I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn more.
I wanted a solid career and decided to join CHCP’s Medical Assistant (MA) Certificate Program in January of 2020. My favorite part of the Medical Assistant Program was when we got to practice skills on each other and the hands-on labs. It was all generally fun, and the people and teachers were awesome. I learned what a normal blood pressure is supposed to be and how to draw blood. They also taught me about HIPAA, which protects individual’s medical records and other personal health information and OSHA, a policy that ensures safe and healthy working conditions.
A little over a year later, in February of 2021, I was a college graduate. The program flew by fast and before I knew it, I had a certification. It really didn’t take that much time with classes just two days a week in-person from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and everything else was online.
I have a good support team and they helped me finish the MA Program. My mom is very supportive and she is always available to take care of my son so I can do what I need to do. CHCP Career Services also helped me by finding affordable childcare in my area. They are there for students to use and provide resources like food banks and other valuable information.
When my Medical Assistant classes were almost done, my teacher told me about the Health and Medical Administrative Services (HMAS) Associate Degree Program. She shared that it was a good opportunity available to me since I completed the MA Program. My completed credits could apply for this degree program. I was like, “Why not?” It made sense. With HMAS, you can get an associate degree in less than a year and qualify for healthcare administration roles.
I went straight into the Health and Medical Administrative Services Program. In the HMAS Program, I am only going to class in-person eight weeks, one day a week, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and the rest is online. These evening classes allow me to watch my son during the day and provide me the flexibility to go ahead and start working while finishing up my degree. This program is slightly more challenging but definitely worth it. Where else are you going to go and be done in nine months?
My goal is to finish my associate degree this year to help me and further my education. At times, it can feel like a lot of work to meet deadlines and turn in assignments. I have to remind myself to just keep going. It is doable and an easy program. I try not to stress about it because my teachers are amazing and I can ask for help at any time. I’ve also found support from my fellow classmates. We have a group chat and we text each other with questions and plan virtual study groups.
Currently, I am pursuing a job in healthcare that utilizes my education. Right now, I’m looking for medical assistant jobs until I finish school. After I complete my HMAS degree, I want to further my career and specialize in blood. I just know what I want to do but not where. Career Services helped me update my resume to update all my skills and I am working with them to find a good job that is a good fit for me.
For anyone looking into healthcare or school, my advice to you is - just do it! The faster you hop on and do it the faster you will have that education and enter the field.