July 11, 2016
I attended UMA because I really wanted to get into the clerical side of healthcare. For a few years while I attended local colleges off and on, I worked as a nursing aide with the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill patients, and even children with brain injuries. It was rewarding work, but it was hard work. At the end of the day though, I felt like I had helped people. And even though my pay was low, I enjoyed working with all the people. I have met some amazing people on my journey! I was fascinated by the medical office workers. I wanted to know how to do what they did. So I attended UMA and graduated with an associate degree in Medical Billing and Coding in 2015. That was only part of my journey. Then I had to find somewhere to put my new skills to work. I went through so many interviews. I was always called, but my lack of actual medical office “experience” hurt me. I decided to force my way in by working my way in a position. I worked in a mental hospital in housekeeping for two months trying to put six months in to change departments and hopefully get in medical office. I did not even make enough to pay my bills. It was horrible! But I was at the end of my two months and I was tired all the time, and frustrated. I had even started to think that I had wasted my time going back to school. Then a major insurance company called me. I had previously interviewed with them while I was attending UMA. They wanted to know where I was with my degree and my training. I had then completed everything. I was not asked to interview again. I was offered a position as a benefits specialist and offered six dollars more than I was getting at the asylum. This has changed my family’s comfort level drastically. I am so happy and I feel so blessed to have my new position. It is because of the wonderful training and support that I received at UMA that I got the tools to work with to achieve my goal. I am a big advocate for UMA. I tell people all the time that are interested in healthcare and are looking for a good school that it is one of the best. I loved every minute of my classes there and now I have a job I can be proud of. I went from dragging trash bags out that were bigger than me in the hot sun, to sitting in a beautiful office setting in a huge building. I am from a small town originally, but I moved to a bigger area when I graduated. The whole thing is still a little surreal to me. Thank you UMA! You are changing lives!