Megan Beckle, aged 34, is a mom, a wife, and a medical assistant. She started the Medical Assisting program at our San Jose campus on November 6th 2012, and graduated July 27th this year. This is an inspiring story of a long-time stay-at-home mom who knew it was time to go back to school.
Megan’s journey to Carrington College California may be familiar to many of you. After high school she went to college, but then life took her in a different direction…until she made the decision to go back to school a number of years later.
“I went away to college after high school, but then I met my husband, got married, had two kids and became a stay-at-home mom. I don’t agree with childcare outside the home. I studied Biological Science at Utah Valley State, but I didn’t finish. I got married and had babies instead.
When I was younger I didn’t take school seriously obviously, or I would have finished. I just wanted to be a mom and take care of the kids, so I didn’t really care about school and I never really tried.”
Last year Megan felt that the time was right to go back to college. Her kids were in school and at an age where they weren’t so dependent on mom being there 24/7.
“The kids are almost 12 and 10 now, that was the number one reason I decided to go back. I really take being a mom seriously, but they’re in school all day and my program was from 8.00am to 12.30pm, which meant I could easily be back in time to pick them up. So why wouldn’t I?”
Megan knew she wanted a career in health care, so once she had made the decision to go back to school, she first had to start investigating her career options.
“I knew that I wanted to work in the medical field; initially I was actually more interested in professions like radiology or ultrasound. But those programs weren’t offered locally, so I chose Medical Assisting instead. Plus it was a good length program – I wanted to be able to get done quickly.
Medical assisting is a great career. There is a need for medical assistants and an even bigger need for RNs in the next 10 years, when older RNs in the profession start to retire. Within the next 10 years more than 40% of the RN workforce will be older than 50.”*
She knew the school that she would choose had to tick a number of boxes; Carrington fit the bill for her.
“I did my research online, I chose Carrington because the school was accredited, the reviews were good, it had the program I wanted, and it was nearby. I didn’t visit any other schools actually.”
Aside from the technical skills she learned, the most valuable thing that Megan discovered about herself was her capacity for success.
“I’d been out of school for a very long time; I knew in my heart I could do it, but I didn’t know I had the capacity to get the grades I did. I learned that I don’t have to settle, I can be whatever I want to be. If I want to be an RN, I can go be an RN [Registered Nurse]. That was pretty awesome to realize.”
Megan attributes a lot of her new found self-belief and her success at Carrington to her instructor, Carlos Sanchez, the Medical Assisting Program Director at our San Jose campus.
“I have to say that Carlos was the most amazing instructor that I’ve ever had, and I’ve been to three colleges over the years besides Carrington. He was very inspiring. I didn’t take school seriously the first time around, but this time I was really very pleasantly surprised.
My family kept telling me I was going to do great, that I was going to get ‘A’ grades. But when I actually did start to get those grades, it was very reassuring and confidence building.”
Megan had to put in a lot of hard work to enjoy the success that did, because nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.
“My good friend and I met in class, and we were both very committed to the program. We did our homework, we read what we were supposed to read, we studied when we were supposed to study. We both got great grades, enjoyed great externships and got hired.”
Managing a family that’s used to having mom around 24/7 and adding in a challenging school schedule naturally required support and understanding at home.
“My husband Chad was very supportive, because this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I couldn’t have done this without him. He got the kids up every morning and got them to school before he went to work. With the homework and all of that study time, I was definitely more absent than normal. All three of them were extremely supportive. The kids are pretty self-sufficient anyway, they’re not little kids, so I don’t think it was too much of an imposition.”
So now that we’re just a few months after graduation, we asked Megan about her job search.
“I was hired on by my externship, an urgent care facility in Los Gatos, which was pretty awesome! I started the externship on June 15th and I’ve been working there ever since. The only thing that’s changed is that I get paid now! It’s a full-time job, between 35 and 45 hours a week, but between my husband and I we’re doing a pretty good job of juggling things around at home.
Urgent care is hard-core stuff, so the things I get to see everyday are pretty amazing – and it’s always something different. It’s a great experience builder. I knew going in that if I worked hard, and did well, it could result in an offer of employment. I just had to prove myself. I have to say that they never treated me as an extern. So although I say I “officially graduated” on July 27th, I really feel that I graduated on June 15th because I’ve been treated like an employee since the day I started.”
Megan finds urgent care a very stimulating place to work, but it was undoubtedly daunting at first.
“My teacher really wanted me to go into urgent care; it teaches you to be very well-rounded. You see everything and you have to be prepared for anything. There are definitely some crazy hours; you have to put your time in, but I knew that going in.”
It’s less than a year since Megan started classes at Carrington, and she has truly found her feet in a new career, so I wanted to know what’s next? What’s her three year plan from here?
“I’m going to pay off a lot of my student debt and then move on to an RN [Registered Nursing] program. In three years I hope to still be working at my current location, but with more responsibility, and be enrolled in a nursing school. They’re very supportive of continuing education here, so I hope to be able to still work, go to RN school, and take care of my family.”
Megan has come a long way in a short period of time, so I wanted to know what advice she’d give to students who may be just starting out on their own adventure at Carrington?
“I would say if you’re going to do it, then do it. Take it seriously and you’ll get out what you put in. It’s all about your attitude. If you go into thinking this is what I’m going to do, and I’m going to do the best job that I can, then you’re going to come out of it well, and become a better person.
But if you’re not prepared to put in the hard work and do your best, then you’re not going to get anything out of it. So that’s why I say “if you’re going to do it, then do it.”
If you’re reading this blog and wondering if you have what it takes to be a medical assistant, Megan also has some great advice for you.
“You need to be able to think on your feet, to multi-task, and stay calm in stressful situations. You also have to be confident in yourself. You’re giving people injections, you’re taking peoples’ blood, you have to project confidence that you can do it, and do it well, to give them confidence. It also helps if you don’t mind dealing with the human body, if you know what I’m saying – it is what it is.”
*Source: JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION Volume: 283 Issue: 22
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