Alumni Spotlight – Meet Emma Parkerson

Student Emma ParkersonEmma Parkerson earned her Certificate of Achievement in Medical Assisting at our Carrington College Las Vegas campus. She graduated in June of this year and is now enjoying working two jobs in the medical field – one part-time and one full-time!

Emma, aged 21, was awarded the Nevada Millennium Scholarship in high school; so Emma started her college career at CSN to take advantage of the scholarship.

“After high school I did all my core classes at CSN so I could get a feel for the college experience; I also wanted to get a feel for how the scholarship worked. I was looking at becoming an Ultrasound Technician, but it was going to take two years. I knew that I really needed something right now, something that would get me where I needed to be quicker.”

That’s when Emma decided to look into becoming a medical assistant; it didn’t take her long to realize that Medical Assisting would be the right program for her.

“I felt that I needed something stable, a good career, that’s why I kept coming back the medical field. To be honest I was thinking about a million different things…but my mind always came back to something medically related. If I had chosen to become an RN [Registered Nurse] first, not only would have it taken longer and been more expensive, but I didn’t know how I was going to react.

I wanted to make sure that I liked the medical field before I jumped right in to a longer program. So doing a nine month program like Medical Assisting made sense. Not only was it quicker, but it would give me a foot in the door in the medical field – that’s basically why I chose it.”

Having made that decision, the next task was finding a school. That led her to Carrington College – even though she would not be able to utilize her Millennium Scholarship with us.

“I went to a few other schools, and honestly they weren’t doing it for me. But then I went into Carrington and went through the whole orientation process; they really did a great job of introducing me to the school, and I really liked it. As soon as I walked in I felt welcomed and very comfortable.

And at the end of the day, you’ve also got to look at the price tag, and the Carrington price tag was right for me. I started right away, I think I was in class maybe two weeks after I went to the orientation. I was able to just jump straight into it. I’m really happy that I made that decision – definitely.”

The Medical Assisting program was relatively new to the Las Vegas campus in August 2012 when Emma enrolled, but she correctly saw that as a positive, not a negative.

“To be honest the fact that it was a brand new program did make me a little apprehensive, but then it also made me feel like I should give it a shot. I thought that the school was going to be working so hard to try to make this program work, that I’d probably get the best experience possible.”

The biggest thing Emma learned during the nine month program was that she could persevere through challenges; that she could battle through some tough times and come out the other side successfully.

“I’m really proud of myself that I was able to learn and keep at it, instead of quitting and saying this isn’t for me. Because there were times when it was really difficult; I would ask myself if the medical field was really the right decision. But I wouldn’t let myself quit; proving to myself that I could accomplish something like this meant the most to me.

I learned that if I put my mind to something I can do it. The benefits definitely outweigh all the struggles I went through to get to where I wanted to be. I was working five days a week at a restaurant, and was at school four days a week, so it wasn’t easy. I don’t have children, but even without children, it’s difficult to balance it all and get everything completed. But I did it! I have the knowledge and the skills I absorbed through school, and through everything, I still retain all of that six months later.”

The single most important part of Emma’s Carrington experience was our faculty and staff. Emma found her instructors to be very helpful; whenever she had a question they found time for her and she really enjoyed their teaching strategies.

“I am so thankful for my teachers, career advisors, and all the staff at Carrington. I would recommend this school to anyone looking to better their future! I appreciated their willingness to make sure my time at Carrington was very educational, but fun too. The support that I got was just amazing, especially from my main teacher, Mr. Scott. He was so knowledgeable; he had so much experience being a medical assistant it really seemed like he wrote the book on medical assisting.

My Program Director – Miss Martha – worked so hard to make sure everyone had what they needed; she was just great at what she did. I really appreciated the work she did for everybody.”

As graduation approached, Emma started working with the campus Career Services team, in particular the Director of Career Services, Jamelle Thornton.  Emma needed to start preparing for her job hunt.

“I was terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to get a job! But my advisor, Jamelle, was just awesome! She helped me with my interview skills, which weren’t the greatest. She taught me what to say and how to react, and to just think of an interview as a conversation. I really took her advice to heart, and that’s probably why I landed my first job so quickly. She really made a difference.”

With her polished interview skills and a well put-together resume, all with the help of Jamelle, it didn’t take long for Emma’s hard work to pay off in the job market.

“It was only about a month and a half after graduation that I got my first job offer. Jamelle had actually sent my resume in before I graduated, and then they called me back – so that was awesome! That was my first job – part-time – with Novum Pharmaceutical Research.

Of course I kept looking, and then not even a month later, I landed a second job at Well Health Woman’s Specialty Care. I work full-time for a Urogynocologist. My externship experience at an OB/GYN certainly gave me the edge in landing the job. I’m applying the skills that I learned in school, but I’m learning so much more every day. I really enjoy the fact that I have two medically related jobs fresh out of school.”

The accelerated programs at Carrington College definitely require a lot of hard work both in and out of school; but the process is easier if you have some kind of support system as Emma discovered.

“My boyfriend – Hazen – lived with me; without him it would have been extremely hard. My mom is out on the east coast, but she helped a lot too. She knew I was trying to better myself. It’s not like I was out here doing nothing, so she was investing in my future, helping me out with bills every now and then. I’m so grateful to all the people and things that helped me through school, even my old car that got me from A to B every day!”

Now almost six months on from her graduation and enjoying her new career, Emma can start to look to the future. I asked her where she’d like to be in five years.

“My plans have changed! Instead of becoming an Ultrasound Technician, I want to be a Registered Nurse. So I’m now planning on going back to school for my bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Right now it’s a little difficult with two jobs, but once I get stable enough, I definitely plan on doing it. I have to use my scholarship by 2016 so it will be soon.

In five years I hope hope hope to have completed my bachelor’s in Nursing, and have a stable, steady Registered Nursing job that I can grow with – maybe in a hospital setting because I like a fast pace. I hope to be out of Vegas, hopefully closer to my mom on the east coast. Maybe I’ll be married and thinking about having a family, but to be honest I haven’t really thought that far into the future because I need to focus on right now.”

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